Nintendo has moms and Mario/Zelda fans locked up.
But, since the Wii launched in 2006, the company has had a hard time attracting the hardcore gamers who enjoy things like "Halo," "BioShock" or "Call of Duty."
Nintendo itself, former publisher of "GoldenEye," hasn't even made a game for that crowd since, arguably, the summer of 2007 when "Metroid Prime 3: Corruption" was released.
Is Nintendo not seeking that "Halo"-loving customer?
Nintendo executive vice president of sales and marketing Cammie Dunaway told me last week that the company can get those gamers and has software coming in 2009 that will do the trick:
The following is an excerpt from interview conducted in person last week at the Grand Hyatt hotel in New York city.
Multiplayer: Your company has the Nintendo faithful locked up, as much as they might complain about a given E3 presentation [Dunaway laughs]. They're going to be around for the next "Mario" and the next "Zelda." You guys have done a magnificent job in reaching the more expanded audience.
But those people who are invigorated by the most hardcore games like the graphically rich "Call of Duty" -- to draw a distinction since I know you also have "Call of Duty" support -- or a "BioShock" or a "Halo" or a full-fledged console "Grand Theft Auto" ... it seems that Nintendo hasn't found a way to address those fans specifically in a long time. And it doesn't feel like they're being addressed by Nintendo that much this year.
Is that a market that you see Nintendo, with the power level that the Wii has, being able to reach more effectively in 2009?
Cammie Dunaway, executive v.p. of sales and marketing, Nintendo of America: Well, certainly, I feel there are titles that should make that group stand up and pay attention next year. If you look at something like [Sega-published first-person shooter] "The Conduit," that's really pushing the edge of graphic capabilities on the Wii and doing things that people didn't think were possible. And I think, one, that makes other developers stand up and take notice. And two, that makes consumers say, "Huh. Maybe there's something to this." Or if you look at [Sega-published brawler] "Mad World" [you can see] just the sheer creativity of that graphic style and the impact of the black and the white and the red.
"Next year you're going to see the tide turn a little bit, in terms of people realizing that the Wii can have something of interest for everybody."
I think that next year you're going to see the tide turn a little bit, in terms of people realizing that the Wii can have something of interest for everybody.
Multiplayer: You mentioned two third-party titles. But maybe not since "Metroid," which was last August or September, has Nintendo internal created a title that we would probably agree is squarely targeted at that audience I spoke of. Does that need to happen more with first-party development?
Dunaway: You tell me… I would assume that a title like [Nintendo-published 3D shoot-em-up] "Sin & Punishment" -- and bringing that [intellectual property] to the U.S. for the first time -- would start to get at that action-seeking, thrill-seeking need that that audience has. "Punch-Out," while it may be more of a Nintendo fanboy [kind of game], still, I think, gets at that need for action.
Multiplayer: Right. It has a bit of aggression to it.
Dunaway: So, yeah, I think next year is going to be a pretty good year in terms of the breadth of offerings that are going to be out there for a bunch of folks.
If you're a hardcore gamer that Nintendo hasn't successfully wooed yet, let us know if Dunaway's plans make you stand up and notice.