This blog is dedicated to understanding the communication technology of the Nintendo Wii. The Nintendo Wii is an electronic game console that was created by the Nintendo company in 2006. The arrival of the Wii was during the time the console race only had two dogs in the fight-Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Sony’s Playstation. However, Nintendo knew they had a product that was quite different than the Xbox and the Playstation. The other 2 are more costly to make, and use higher graphics so Nintendo took this and went a different route. The Wii is a much lower costing console that prioritizes more about the content like the games, which helped broaden the scope of who can actually play these games. Nintendo stressed that with this console you don’t have to be a hardcore gamer but rather a casual whose just looking for entertainment especially in a group setting. By going about it in this manner, Nintendo was able to get consumers from all backgrounds of different race, age, and gender.
The Wii’s console is very simple and easy to operate, one of the biggest aspects of the console are it’s controllers. The Wii controller is a wireless handheld remote that attaches to a joystick. The keys on the controller are in a wireless sensor that is connected to the console so the game detects everything off motion. The wireless aspect was certainly a huge change from different console users, as in the past they’ve had to sit right up close to the television as their controllers had to wire to the actual console to operate. A big game that strived because of the innovation of the handheld wireless controller were Wii Sports. This game was a collection of five sporting simulations, that was all through the use of motion sensory from the Wii remote. Sports included were tennis, baseball, bowling, golf, and boxing. Players used the remote to mimic the actions of the characters given in the athletic event. It made the person playing feel just like they were playing the sport themselves.
The best part about the game is the simplicity of it, making it more accessible to all sorts of people who just want the experience. This game also included training and practice modes that allowed you to track your progress for each sport. So if anybody ever felt self-conscious they could properly get training in before playing with friends. Another perk of the Wii was the built in WiFi that allowed consumers to connect to the internet. Once connected, players have a wide range of activities they can choose to use on the server. There were features to display news and weather updates, an online library of other featured Nintendo games, apps like Youtube and Netflix, and plain old internet browsers. In this era of game consoles it was unique because it was a lot more than just playing video games due to how much more it had to offer. You could be in a rush for work and just turn on your Wii to see the weather forecast for the day or if you just wanted to be able to track your exercise workouts the Wii can do that. The ease and simplicity, added on with the new features, topped off that the cost to buy it was way less than the Xbox and Playstation made the Nintendo Wii a big hit.
Product Adoption and Diffusion
Since its creation the Nintendo Wii has been beating out their competitors all around the world. The Wii had more sold units in the United States than the Xbox 360 and the Playstation 3 in the first half of 2007. (NPD Group, 2007). The proof of how widespread this product had become was the fact that the Wii was even bigger in the Japanese market, where still this day has more total sales than the Xbox and Playstation. It didn’t stop just there because in Australia the Wii broke Xbox’s record and was the fastest selling game in its country’s history.
From the jump the Nintendo Wii surpassed expectations way ahead of schedule as you can see in the graph above that illustrates the total sales of units in millions at the end of the fiscal year of 2008. (Gigazine). So even to Nintendo they were surprised about how good of a start they got off to. In 2009, The Gadget Helpline, a phone service that consumers having problems with their broken electrical equipment can call for help, put out a poll asking consumers “what gadget makes you the happiest?” The survey was put out to observe what is gaining popularity in the market and the gadget that topped the polls was none other than the Nintendo Wii. (Wallop, 2009). This survey illustrates just how fast the Wii came on to the scene as well as the impact it had on its consumers. It’s crazy to think that a console that just came out a year prior was already satisfying consumers more than big name brands like the Microsoft Xbox, the Apple Ipod, and the Sony Playstation. We can argue that the success of the Wii is because of its brand not just attracting tech fans, but rather the children playing or even the older people starting to play. Like I alluded to earlier, they broadened their target market and just made it accessible for all people.
If you want to see an impactful chart just look at the one above. Here is a graph detailing Nintendo’s total sales from 1991-2008 in billions. (Next Gen Biz). Look at how impactful one product turned out to be for a company. Sales went from 3 billion all the way up to 18 billion in just the first two years of its creation.
This console has also been used for a variety of ways rather than just for entertainment. A big one that many people have seen is simply for the use of research. (Kahlbugh, 2011) looked at the effects of playing the Wii on the well being of the elderly. Effects that were being studied were physical activity, loneliness, and mood. 35 elderly people were randomly assigned to either play the Wii or watching tv with a partner for ten weeks. The results showed no effects of difference in life satisfaction or physical activity, but the loneliness predicted positive mood, and positive mood predicted physical activity. This research showed the positives of the Wii for the well being, social interaction, and just overall enjoyment. It shows that the Wii is used for a lot more than just the belief that its only for gaming.
Product Success/ Failure based on the Comm. Tech Ecosystem
Like most things in this world we usually measure success based off what’s around us. What came before the Wii in the industry and how did the Wii make it self stand out? A limiting factor in the gaming world for along time has been the target audience. Other consoles always made it typically for the male, 13-25 demographic but Nintendo said enough of that and finally expanded the gaming horizons. They made the Wii more family friendly allowing all types of ages to play the content. By not making a specific demographic it allowed them the ability to acquire more consumers from a wide variety of ages. This lead the Wii to ultimately being the hottest commodities for Christmas shopping for a couple years in a row. Thus creating the motivating factor to buy a Wii at the social level because every kid was buying it back in 2009. I know from a personal level I had to have it because suddenly everyone starting to acquire them in their homes and I felt left out. I couldn’t be the only kid that showed up to school without a Wii, so of course shortly after that’s when I got one. Social crazes are a big part of the American society nowadays because when one thing becomes “trendy” our culture is supposed to act fast and get it right away to say that they have it.
An area that the Wii could have improved on their product is allowing players to be able to play online with friends who also have the Wii. I can see an inhibiting factor for many is that you can’t play online with friends, which is why you see the success of Xbox and Playstation because you can do these things. That’s a negative while on the other end of the spectrum there positive has been the simplicity. Simplicity is huge because now that the demographics are a wide range, you have a lot of adults buying the consoles. It’s an enabling factor for these people to buy the product because many have full-time jobs and it’s not that pricey so it wouldn’t be a purchase that’d set them back. A big part of the Wii is that they play into a lot of nostalgia by making games like Super Mario Kart, because they know how wildly successful the Super Mario Bros. brand has been. From an organizational level it’s such a motivating factor to make sequel games like Super Mario Kart because they know in the past that brand has worked out so why not tweak it just a little bit and see what people think. They know they have the consumer loyalty so it motivated them to include their previous biggest hit in their new biggest hit (the Wii).
I think the Nintendo Wii was a huge success because they came in during the right time. Consoles were popular but they became stagnant because the consoles were kind of similar to each other. Nintendo jumped all over this and made a console that no one had seen before. The interaction largely due to the motion sensed games created an atmosphere to the player that no one has felt before. There was no longer a cliche gamer who locked himself in his room for hours, the Wii killed stereotypes for the gaming world and allowed it to become a lot more diverse. That is why I think the Nintendo Wii saw the success that it did.