This time it is called Wii Sports Resort, a collection of sports oriented mini games on the Wii. And it is selling something like a million units a week, in the dog days of summer. It will go on to become one of the best selling games of the year. How do they do this?
- Universal appeal. I would not be ashamed to be seen playing this. But it would be a lot of fun for an 8 year old too.
- Surprise and delight features. It takes imagination to come up with these, but they really add to the player experience. We need more of these in every game.
- Polish, polish and polish. Why can’t other game developers and publishers do this? It doesn’t cost a lot of money, it just costs time. This really sets Nintendo first party apart.
- Easy to get into. All great games are simple to start with. Chess, card games, scrabble and all the great classics do this. It is no good ramping the difficulty curve too steep too soon, you put off too many people. Think pick up and play accessibility, Nintendo do.
- Difficult and rewarding in the higher levels. So it is worth putting time and effort into it. Just like chess etc etc.
- Huge potential user base. There are about as many Wiis out there as there are Microsoft Xbox 360s and Sony Playstation PS3s put together. A lot of people who want good games to entertain them.
- Release any time of year. Going with the Q4 crowd is idiotic when there are times you can have the market pretty much to yourself. People have money to spend all year round.
- Build a brand, own your own IP. This is the obvious sequel to Wii Sports, itself a massive seller. Nintendo can milk this franchise forever. And they will.
- Bundle with hardware that genuinely adds to the gaming experience. Wii MotionPlus takes Wii play to a higher level.
All the above is not rocket science, yet how come so many publishers still get it so wrong so often?