There is no argument that the Wii is winning the console
hardware race. Even with its relatively unremarkable technology, aside from its
controller technology, the Wii has won the hearts of the general public with
its hardware innovation. The games available on the system, however, seem to
paint a different picture.
Using aggregate game scores from GameRankings, Next-Generation compared the average
rating of all reviews across the current consoles. The overall average rating
across all Xbox 360 games was almost 70 percent, with the PlayStation 3 up
slightly with 73 percent. Wii games collectively average a significantly lower
While some may argue that a six to nine point difference
between the current platforms is unappreciable, the Wii’s apparent lack of
quality software shows even when plotted against game consoles from the
previous generation. GameCube, Xbox and PS2 all share lifetime review scores
around the 70 percent mark, still well above the Wii’s current average.
There may be several explanations for why Wii games are
performing poorly in reviews. For one, the instant success of the Wii has
encouraged developers to rush out either basic, shallow software – most of
which are mini-game-based – or shoehorn Wii motion controls into a title
originally designed for the PS2.
On the reception side, game reviewers all of which are
hardcore gamers, have been accustomed to traditional control schemes, consistently
advancing presentation (graphics, sound) quality – things that the Xbox 360 and
PS3 have, but the Wii does not.
Review scores for the Wii don’t seem to correlate strongly
with sales. Wii Play earned an
average of 61 percent, yet sold almost
as well as Halo 3 (of course,
coming with a Wii Remote probably helped at least half of those sales).
Mario Galaxy with its 97.2 percent average sold quite well throughout
the holiday season, but it had instant street cred being a Mario title. (Sadly, it didn’t sell as well in Japan.)
Right now, it seems the Wii is two different things. Casual
or new gamers see the Wii as a Wii Sports party machine, while hardcore gamers
see it as a Nintendo player – strictly for playing first-party titles. The
latter are currently salivating at the release of Super Smash Bros. Brawl.
Lost in the shuffle are great games such as Capcom’s Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros’
Treasure, which sold dismally to Wii owners, yet earned nearly an 86
percent average. Sadly, the gutsy No More
Heroes may suffer the same fate, despite its 83 percent average.