I just compared the specs of the wii and original xbox for the first time. Now, I'm not a tech expert, but it seems to me like the specs for both systems are virtually identical. Meaning, essentially, that the wii's max potential (in terms of graphics and size) is the same as the max potential for the original xbox (and about 1.5x the potential of the gamecube). Now, this isn't really new news. It's been well documented that the wii will never have games with the size and scope of the xbox 360 or ps3. I bring this up really for one reason.... price.
Compared to the launch price points of the xbox 360 and ps3, the $250 wii seemed like a steal. Now, the original xbox launched for $300 back in 2001. By march 29, 2004, that price was reduced (for the final time) to $150. Now, it can be argued that this was an aggressive tactic by microsoft and the system was a reasonable bargain back in 2004. However, if microsoft pointed to that price point a year or 2 down the line, it suddenly wouldn't seem as appetizing.
Fast forward to nov 2006. Here comes the wii, shinny and new, with all the strength of 2001's xbox (albeit with some nifty new motion control features). It comes with a new wii mote ($40), a nunchuck ($20), and wii sports (essentially a $20 extended demo). Those come packaged with a system that probably costs about $100 to produce with those same motion control features that have yet to live up to their potential (at this point, it's hard to tell if that's the fault of nintendo and their technology or the developers). And then there are the games. Are we really being charged $50 for games that probably cost a fraction of the price to develop on the wii as they do on the xbox 360 or ps3? Things get even uglier if you're looking for quality games for your wii.
On gamerankings.com, here's how it breaks down (as of today):
out of the top 200 xbox 360 games (with at least 5 reviews), 128 average a score of 75% or higher, 78 average a score of 80% or higher.
out of the 101 listed ps3 games (with at least 5 reviews), 53 average a score of 75% or higher, 35 average a score of 80% or higher
out of the 141 listed wii games (with at least 5 reviews), 27 average a score of 75% or higher, 13 average a score of 80% or higher.
Some people might see these numbers as not meaning much. After all, even if a game averages below a 75, there will still be those who feel it deserves better.... that's why it's an average. However, on the whole, let's just say that all the averages hold up to be accurate representations of each games quality. The wii has 14 games that, on the whole, have been deemed pretty solid games. Then there are another 13 games that could be touted as highly recommended. However, this really doesn't leave much to choose from for gamers who like to stock an ample supply of software.
out of those top 13 games:
1 (trauma center) is a "wii make"
1 (resident evil 4) is a port of a 2.5 year old gamecube game
1 (geometry wars: galaxies) is more or less an expansion of a xbox live arcade game that comes equipped with a $40 price tag
2 (zelda and super paper mario) don't take advantage of the wii because they were originally in development for the gamecube
4 (mlb power pros, madden 07, guitar hero III, and lego star wars) are all either straight or relatively straight ports of ps2 games (the ps2, it should be noted, being noticeably less powerful then the wii).
And there you have it, left with only 4 truly quality games that actually make use of what the wii has to offer. That's down right ugly for a system that continues to sell for $50 more then it should with games that should never break the $40 price point.
Too be fair, the wii is still only 14 months old and it's been selling like crazy since day one. Who knows, maybe the sales figures will convince developers to take their time and craft even more quality games for the wii.... Maybe games that are more then just ports of recent and past ps2 games.... Maybe games that are more then just lame spin offs to popular franchises and jumbled "party game" disasters.... then again, maybe not.
At least there's super smash bros. brawl....