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Will Wii Sports Club encourage families to buy a Wii U?

The original turned people onto Wii. Tom asks if the HD version can do the same for Wii U

Today's announcement that Wii Sports Club will be released for Wii U reminds me of the great early days of Wii. When every lunchtime at ONM towers would involve playing a game of tennis. When everyone who came to my house wanted to play a round of golf. When pretty much everyone I knew was playing on Nintendo's new home console.

I'm not talking about gamers here, either. I remember playing Wii Sports Tennis at a friend of my girlfriend's (now my wife). They'd never had a games console before but bought a Wii after playing Wii Sports. Sadly, the next game they bought was Carnival Games and while they enjoyed the initial buzz of Wii, it wasn't to last. Having exhausted all the activities on Wii Sports, they stopped playing on their new console, missing out on amazing experiences like Super Mario Galaxy 2, Xenoblade Chronicles and Zelda: Skyward Sword.

Nintendo will be hoping that Wii Sports Club will entice families to buy Wii U just as they purchased Wii all those years ago. Maybe the choice of the five sports (now in HD) will even bring back memories of the brilliance of the original for the same people who have given up on gaming. Will it work? Not on its own it won't. But combined with family-friendly games such as Super Mario 3D World, Wii Fit U, Wii Party U and Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, it might just stand a chance.

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Nintendo has been targetting at the family audience this year. Of course, Nintendo's first-party games have always been family friendly but last year, before Wii U launched, the talk was of a console which could play all the big games that were being enjoyed on Xbox 360 and PS3. Assassin's Creed, Batman and Mass Effect. One of its big two launch games was an 18-rated survival horror game.

While fans of these games are still being catered for on Wii U (Batman: Arkham Origins, Assassin's Creed IV and Watch Dogs are all being released this year, plus Bayonetta 2 is on the way in 2014), Nintendo is actively aiming its console at families. People often say that they never see Nintendo adverts on TV. I say: "You don't want children's TV."

Not that I'd expect anyone without young children to watch Harry And His Bucketful Of Dinosaurs on the Tiny Pop channel but Animal Crossing: New Leaf appeared on every ad break between my son's favourite programme this summer.

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Pokemon X and Y will be the next big game for Nintendo and its being released alongside 2DS, a console which Nintendo admit is aimed at children.

Is there anything wrong with this? For me, Nintendo is just playing to its strengths and, as people are arguing over torture sequences in GTA V, why not do something a bit different? The children's market is massive after all.

Of course, I'm not saying that Nintendo is only for children. Many of you reading this will be Pokemon fans who loved bumping into cute little Pikachu when you were children but now enjoy the competitive battling scene in your 20s. At the age of 36, I'm still a massive Mario fan and am looking forward to introducing my son to Super Mario 3D World later on this year.

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Bringing it back to Wii Sports Club, even if it doesn't convince families to buy a Wii U this Christmas, I think Nintendo are releasing it in the right way. Those day passes are perfect for those who just want to play all the Wii Sports when their friends are over while it's great to be able to buy the sports individually rather than paying out full price for all of them. To be honest, I only ever played tennis so I'd probably only download that for £8.99 and maybe get a day pass if I wanted to play with friends. It's a great idea and if you are getting a Wii U for Christmas, you'd have great fun on Christmas Day if you downloaded Wii Sports Club and a Day Pass.

As already mentioned, Wii Sports Club isn't going to be s system seller but then I'm not sure there is such a thing as a system seller any more. Would you really spend nearly £300 for one game, even if it was Super Mario Galaxy? It's the breadth of games that convince and this Christmas, Wii U is looking like a great console for families.

Comments

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  1. olrodlegacy Wednesday 18th Sep 2013 at 15:26

    Desperately hope it will. Then maybe GAME might allocate more than one shelf to the Wii U for a change.

  2. carnivine chaos Wednesday 18th Sep 2013 at 15:26

    Well this just sums up Nintendo right now, doesn't it? How pathetic. We're failing miserably because we're not putting out enough games that people want. Let's make another that gamers don't want and target toward scrubby families with a remake, using the same tricks we used with the Wii. It's over Nintendo, just stop. Either change direction and start trying to save the Wii U with actually new and interesting games, or just give up. Please, it's embarrassing to watch.

  3. tomonm Wednesday 18th Sep 2013 at 15:49

    I have to ask: What sort of games do you want? Nintendo released a new and interesting game last month in The Wonderful 101 and not that many people bought it. Recently we've had Pikmin 3 and Rayman Legends while Super Mario 3D World, Zelda: Wind Waker HD and Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze are on the way before Christmas.

    If it's adult action games you want, Call Of Duty, Assassin's Creed, Batman and Watch Dogs are on the way before Christmas.

    It is difficult because, judging by sales at least, Nintendo fans like familiar faces on their consoles.

  4. KaptainKrauser Wednesday 18th Sep 2013 at 15:54

    This is just so, so disappointing.

  5. carnivine chaos Wednesday 18th Sep 2013 at 16:11

    I have to ask: What sort of games do you want? Nintendo released a new and interesting game last month in The Wonderful 101 and not that many people bought it. Recently we've had Pikmin 3 and Rayman Legends while Super Mario 3D World, Zelda: Wind Waker HD and Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze are on the way before Christmas.

    If it's adult action games you want, Call Of Duty, Assassin's Creed, Batman and Watch Dogs are on the way before Christmas.

    It is difficult because, judging by sales at least, Nintendo fans like familiar faces on their consoles.


    Sorry, I wasn't clear, I should have mentioned I meant exclusives since that's what Nintendo needs to sell the Wii U. So that already crosses off all those "adult action games" and the reason it does is because the majority already have and are satisfied with their PS3/360. Also Rayman Legends (while the Wii U version is clearly the most superior, again, people already have a PS3/360).

    The Wonderful 101 is something new and interesting, sure, and it was good, but not, ahem, 'Wonderful', receiving mixed reviews. Mario doesn't count, while I am looking forward to it, let's be honest, it's ultimately just going to be the same as always. Zelda doesn't count as it's a remake, and I suppose DKCountry just passes the line, but if it's anything like Returns, it looks very similar to the endless Mario games and it doesn't help it's a platformer too, however much better it is.

    The only real game that genuinely passes through is Pikmin 3 and, while brilliant, for the majority, one game doesn't cut it for buying a new console. There's almost nothing going for the Wii U right now. A new Mario (again) might bring more sales, but ultimately there needs to be more exclusives, new IPs, actually using the gamepad in clever ways (like Rayman Legends), etc. I know it can't happen overnight, but the very slight few in the works to be released next year just won't cut it. I'm not saying all this to bash Nintendo's currently failing Wii U, I'm saying it as a disappointed fan who wants to see Nintendo survive and thrive in the market again as a genuine competitor.

    So, to answer your question: All I want are good games. Good games exclusive to Wii U that actually make it worth having.

  6. tomonm Wednesday 18th Sep 2013 at 16:21

    Did you actually buy The Wonderful 101?

  7. carnivine chaos Wednesday 18th Sep 2013 at 16:26

    No, but I've played it and I liked it quite a lot of the little I played, I was surprised by the slightly mixed feedback it received, but I'm not the sole buyer of Wii U games.

    I find it amusing that that's the only thing you focus on.

  8. jaco_p Wednesday 18th Sep 2013 at 16:29

    I agree WiiU is a great Console for families. I'm always browsing internet on the gamepad and checking out miiverse when im not playing games, and my 5 year old daughter loves it too. Nintendo just needs to market this properly, yeah great Tom i have seen all the Luigi's Mansion and Animal crossing ads on childrens tv as well and their sales reflect their coverage. But the only ads i have seen for WiiU are Disney Infinity, which is selling lots more for Wii.

    Not that excited about many games on the Horizon for WiiU, DKCR was excellent but really, another 2D platformer so soon?? Especially after the great reviews for Rayman everyone has to hit that benchmark. Super mario 3D world looks good but it doesn't look to be anywhere near the genius of galaxy, another remake in wind waker and so on. Nintendo need to branch out with some original ideas, be brave, new IPs and market it properly otherwise the 3DS will be propping up the business for some time yet

  9. tomonm Wednesday 18th Sep 2013 at 16:36

    No, I was just asking because that is the one all-new and interesting game that Nintendo has released recently and you didn't buy it. I'm not saying you should. Games are a lot of money and I understand if the mixed reviews put you off. What I would say is that we loved it but admitted that it was a little baffling at times. That put some people off but if you can get past it, it's a brilliant game. The sort of all-new IP that it would be great if people could get behind.

    But it is a big issue. When Nintendo are releasing new and interesting games, they're not selling in great numbers and if fans like yourself aren't buying it, it makes things tricky. So it's no surprise that they stick with the tried and tested. For example, New Super Mario Bros Wii sold nearly 30 million so it's not surprising that they went with NSMB U as a launch game rather than a Galaxy-style game.

    Talking of new IP, of course everyone would like something all-new to get excited about. Look how excited people are about Watch Dogs because it is something new. But Wii Sports, Wii Fit aside, Nintendo hasn't released many new games for a very long time. Think about it, on GameCube, were there any all-new first party games apart from Pikmin? Nintendo has relied on Mario and Zelda for a long time.

    It is a shame if you're not excited about what Wii U has to offer at the moment. I hope 3DS is doing it for you...

  10. carnivine chaos Wednesday 18th Sep 2013 at 16:45

    No, I was just asking because that is the one all-new and interesting game that Nintendo has released recently and you didn't buy it. I'm not saying you should. Games are a lot of money and I understand if the mixed reviews put you off. What I would say is that we loved it but admitted that it was a little baffling at times. That put some people off but if you can get past it, it's a brilliant game. The sort of all-new IP that it would be great if people could get behind.

    But it is a big issue. When Nintendo are releasing new and interesting games, they're not selling in great numbers and if fans like yourself aren't buying it, it makes things tricky. So it's no surprise that they stick with the tried and tested. For example, New Super Mario Bros Wii sold nearly 30 million so it's not surprising that they went with NSMB U as a launch game rather than a Galaxy-style game.

    Talking of new IP, of course everyone would like something all-new to get excited about. Look how excited people are about Watch Dogs because it is something new. But Wii Sports, Wii Fit aside, Nintendo hasn't released many new games for a very long time. Think about it, on GameCube, were there any all-new first party games apart from Pikmin? Nintendo has relied on Mario and Zelda for a long time.

    It is a shame if you're not excited about what Wii U has to offer at the moment. I hope 3DS is doing it for you...


    I never once said the mixed reviews put me off, I never let reviews make an opinion for me. Like I said, I really enjoyed the little I played of it at Eurogamer last year and was pretty excited for it, I just never got round to getting it.

    The difference between the Gamecube days and the Wii U is that they have been re-inventing franchises and actually trying to move them forward what with Metroid Prime, and every new Zelda always has a fresh shine to it (as I said, a remake doesn't count, if a new Zelda came out for the Wii U and was brilliant as always then that's be something worth getting), etc. Mario Sunshine was an interesting spin, and the Mario Galaxies for Wii were even better. New super Mario Bros. was a nice restart at the time but there's too many now with barely anything new between them. For Wii U, Pikmin 3 was the highest anticipated game and there's only been 2 before so it's excusable and was expanded on a lot.

  11. IRNBRU64 Wednesday 18th Sep 2013 at 21:16

    Encorouge... definetely. Persuade? We'll see.

  12. MartinIsAwesome Wednesday 18th Sep 2013 at 22:24

    I must say that you have a very good point on that last sentiment, Tom. A true video game probably wouldn't buy a console for one game, but for a library of games, as well as any other additional features.
    Unfortunately, there are still a lot of casual gamers that don't see a console as an investment. I've heard plenty of stories from people in the past who have bought a console for one game, but then sold it immediately after. I knew someone who actually bought a PS3 early on in it's life just to play Metal Gear Solid 4, and then sold it to buy a Wii (which I believe he also sold after a few years) which proves that it's not the games that people play that make them "casuals", but their attitudes towards games.

    Getting in that mind-set, if you bought a Wii for the initial thrills of Wii Sports and then stopped playing games on the console all together, I don't think that a new version of that same game is anywhere near enough to convince you to do it all over again, especially if it's download only. The low cost of the Wii with the game bundled in for free made it a great impulse purchase, and unless the Wii U can match that then it won't ever enjoy the same success.

    But as you said, where it can do well is with families who will be buying the big hitters like Mario, Sonic and Pokemon for their kids who we all hope grow up to be Nintendo die-hards too. I just don't think that a seemingly throwaway game like Wii Sports Club will be a noticably big part of that.

    (as I said, a remake doesn't count, if a new Zelda came out for the Wii U and was brilliant as always then that's be something worth getting


    I see where your coming from, but don't forget that for many this is new. It's been ten years since it first came out, and thanks to the new wave of fans after the success of the Wii and DS there's even more new Zelda fans who will have never played it, even if they were old enough to play it the first time. And don't forget, it was originally quite a controversial game thanks to its art style, so there are also those that refused to play it because it wasn't the realistic Zelda game they originally wanted. There are plenty of people that will be playing it for the first tiem, so it has the potential to do as well (or possibly even better) than it did 10 years ago.

  13. Capt_Anders Thursday 19th Sep 2013 at 14:10

    I think that Wii sports club seems a bit to familiar to Wii Sports and many families will question whether they will need this one, also most families tend to prefer hard copies of games rather than going online and downloading through the E shop. It may persuade some people to buy a Wii U as a new game always will, however I don't think we will see any real rise in Wii U sales.

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