Anyone who has browsed the Nintendo Wii section of their favourite video game retail outlet lately has to agree with 2K Games global president Christoph Hartmann - the Wii market is flooded with crap.
There are a ton of games out for the Nintendo Wii to be sure, but for the uninformed consumer, finding a good one these days is like wading into a septic tank. I myself used to enjoy picking up the odd crap game now and then, but now there are so many it isn't even funny anymore. Hartmann explains where things have gone wrong.
"Where people go wrong in the casual market is that, while the development costs are exploding on the casual side, they're treating the Wii like the old PC market - making cheap, accessible games. They think if they make ten titles and two are hits, they will finance the other eight. "But they forget these eight crappy titles will flood the market and will lead to problems in terms of production - and upset retailers. Also, the consumer will be pissed off because they'll be confused."
He's pretty much defined "Shovelware" for us here. Cheap little titles thrown out into the market in order to make a quick buck in between more interesting and involving products. The difference here is that while PC shovelware is generally content to rot away on websites, Wii shovelware rots away on store shelves, pissing off retailers and confusing customers.
It's almost painful to watch uninformed parents purchasing Wii games at retail stores these days. The mainstream media has made a must-have consumer product out of the Wii, so folks go out and pock up games for it thinking they can do no wrong, only to discover after the 20th collection of mini-games that perhaps they'd better start reading gaming websites and checking ratings before buying. I often find myself helping customers at game stores when they are about to make horrible, horrible mistakes.
Hell, the flood of shit hurts too, along with any other gaming site that seeks to keep up with reviews. We just can't. For every big game we reviewed this past holiday season, at least 5 crappy Wii titles hit shelves that we didn't touch. There's just not enough time, which means when consumers look online for a review, they don't find anything.
What worries me the most is that this is exactly what happened back in the days of the Atari 2600. Everyone had one, the market was flooded with crap titles, and the console died. Is there any way to stop it? Only Nintendo has that power, and judging from the list of upcoming Wii titles, they aren't planning on exercising it any time soon.