Iwata Discusses Third-Party Resurgence on Wii




“Third-party games don’t sell on Wii.”


It’s a heated debate that is brought up all too often. Whether or not this theory holds any merit in the Western markets is up for debate.


However, one would be hard-pressed to present any evidence pointing to the contrary while monitoring the overall market situation in Japan. (If you haven’t been keeping up with with Japanese game market trends, I’d highly recommend NeoGAF’s excellent weekly Media Create threads.) Third-party sales on Wii in general are underwater and the recent release of the Monster Hunter G port can’t really be used as an accurate yardstick by which one could measure how well third-party games perform either.


It’s a disturbing situation to say the least and one that Nintendo president Satoru Iwata committed to addressing. From Nintendo’s financial results presentation for fiscal ’09:


When we look at the situation of Wii in Japan, we cannot say that the mechanism which worked on DS is working on Wii. Two years after its launch in Japan, in the latter half of the previous fiscal year, we were not able to largely increase the ratio of third party publishers sales in Japan.


However in Japan, the much-anticipated Monster Hunter Tri will be launched in the coming summer. Several new strong Wii titles are expected to follow. We recognize that this is an important, challenging time for us. We will challenge to increase the presence of third party titles on Wii.


Interesting remark. “Several new strong Wii titles are expected to follow.” Is Iwata saying that the release of Monster Hunter 3 will influence other Japanese publishers to release more games for the system in the same way the “Dragon Quest IX for DS” announcement triggered a flood of DS RPGs? Keep in mind that DQX is going to be on Wii, too.


Or is he simply referring to the release of games that were shown off at last year’s October conference? Regardless, it’ll be interesting to see how Nintendo address the situation.

Ishaan Sahdev
Ishaan specializes in game design/sales analysis. He's the former managing editor of Siliconera and wrote the book "The Legend of Zelda - A Complete Development History". He also used to moonlight as a professional manga editor. These days, his day job has nothing to do with games, but the two inform each other nonetheless.