While GTA’s record breaking sales will lead to the entertainment industry re-evaluating the value of console brands and sales, it is the slow steady and continuous domination of Nintendo, the Wii and more specifically the recent introduction of Wii Fit that will widen the appeal of console gaming as a lifestyle addition.
A couple of the things that let GTA IV down were its 18 rating, and darker style and violent nature which naturally steers its sales towards the existing gamer population, – by using a multi platform console release Rockstar North guaranteed it would reach the widest possible gamer base, able to reach next generation users desperate for the violent, sandbox style of play that they’ve come to know and love, and then they expanded on that with brilliant execution of the game world.
I’m going to come back to GTA IV in future post – as it’s created ripples through the entertainment industry that are going to be felt for years to come.
It is the limited appeal of GTA to the non gamer population that has led to a massive drop-off in sales subsequent weeks. With regards to the Wii, and Wii Fit It’s been word of mouth, restricted supply – family appeal, and game-style that’s the catalyst.
In the Uk we’ve had Wii Fit for some time now. Wii Fit hits the player on so many different levels, you have the appeal of the balance board – it looks a lot like the step from ‘step aerobics’, it actively encourages you to work out as a family, to take it in turns and track your fitness with each other. On the more entertaining side there is skiing, football, and balancing games (you can bet there will be an awesome skateboard game out soon) – you’ve got the younger audience, and party games appeal.
Wii Fit a winning combination of health and technology, the users don’t feel they’re being geeky, because they’re safe in the knowledge that they’re actually gaining something out of using the device other than the intrinsic goals set by the game itself. Users don’t have to feel embarrassed playing a toy because it’s not a toy – they see it as part of their fitness regime. Just in case they don’t want to work out, or play games – there’s always Yoga included for peace of mind. Clever.
Months after GTA IV has been resigned to the bargain basement bin, and GTA V is on the horizon, Wii fit will still be selling strong.