Friday, September 5, 2008

Microsoft games on Wii: Why it very well could happen

Early start!

In the last few years, quite a few Microsoft brands have made appearances on the DS. MechAssault and Zoo Tycoon are two such games, and there are many more I'm sure to be forgetting. Also, Rare (A Microsoft-owned company) has even developed a few titles for Nintendo's little handheld, such as Viva Piñata: Pocket Paradise and Diddy Kong Racing DS. Microsoft does this because the DS is no threat to them. They have no portable platform to compete with it, so making games for the DS is nothing but beneficial to their profits.

Recently, members of the Viva Piñata: Pocket Paradise crew were interviewed by SPOnG. There were a few interesting tidbits in this review, the most notable being the following:

SPOnG: So, we’ll never be seeing Viva Piñata on the Wii then?

Gary Richards: (Grins). I’m not saying.

While this is interesting, it doesn't mean that much on its own. After all, both the Wii and XBox 360 are in the same general market, so Microsoft would never consider developing for Nintendo's console... Right?

Wrong. Remember, business is all about the money. Rivalry means nothing if there's cash to be made. Let's look at where Microsoft is in the console war right now. They're losing big-time to the Wii, and the Playstation 3 is starting to creep up on them. So, they dropped the price on all 360 SKUs. When this happened, Microsoft had the following to say:

I’m not at a point where I can say we’re going to beat Nintendo. We will sell more consoles this generation than Sony.

Basically, this is admitting that Microsoft will never catch up to the Wii. Really, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure this out. It's also fairly simple to figure this out: The Wii is far ahead of the 360. The install base for Nintendo's console is already past at 30 million. A large install base means a large audience, and thus a large market. Also, Viva Piñata is a family-friendly, open-ended game starring cute characters. Sounds like a perfect fit for the Wii to me! It's games like Viva Piñata that tend to really sell well on the Wii, and I'm sure Microsoft has realized this.

Now, Microsoft is surely not shy about expanding the title to new platforms. It's already hit the PC and the DS. Have these changes affected the 360's market share? As far as I can tell, moving the game to these platforms hasn't even made a dent in the 360's sales numbers. What difference would it make taking the series over on to the Wii? Look at the Wii's target audience, and compare it to that of the 360. They're completely different, with Viva Piñata actually seeming like a better fit for Nintendo's platform than its original console.

Like I said, it all comes down to one thing: Money. Making a Viva Piñata game for the Wii would only make sense. Of course, that's not to say it absolutely will happen. There's no way I can say such a thing as this with 100% certainty. The possibility is there, though. And if Viva Piñata does make the jump, what's stopping other Microsoft properties from doing the same? I'm seeing Microsoft and Nintendo being quite close in the future, and both of them are sure to benefit.

I'm ready for some piñata-farming fun on the Wii. How about you?

Discuss This Article On The Forums


Anonymous said...

I'm not ready.

Now Microsoft is losing people to this friendly gamer Bullshit...

-_- Gaming is dead. It's got a malignant tumor, as well as AIDS. She's taking heavy blows to some of the biggest contributors to gaming..

Unknown said...

Microsoft has made it perfectly clear that they will not allow their devs to work on a competitor's console, so no, I do not see that happening. Would like to be wrong though.

@ wingedyoshi

more like jadedyoshi, bitteryoshi, shouldquitgamingthenyoshi

PsychoDuck said...

@ superphillip:

Don't hold anything against that wingedyoshi fellow. He's impersonating some other guy named WingedYoshi, and he's actually pretty cool. The real one has a profile here, so that's how you'll be able to tell them apart.

The Duck Has Spoken.