Wii Are The Pickards

… and …

Wii Are Getting A Nintendo

I had been thinking of getting some kind of console this Christmas. I’d been after an Xbox 360 for the best part of a year, not having managed to scrape enough money/Santa Good Points â„¢ together last year for one of these beasts. They’re slick, they’re fast, they’ve got more processing power that you can shake a stick at and the graphics are superb, with realistic shadows, water movement etc and racing games that are virtually lifelike.

I did have one nagging doubt though. I’m not that fussed about graphics. I’m not that fussed about things being able to happen fast: my favourite games have always been along the lines of Football Management simulators (leading Newcastle United to glory, obviously) or Sword & Sorcery quest and puzzle solving jobbies — from the Eye of The Beholder series through to The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.

Car racing has never really been my thing, although I do have a soft spot for the old FPS which dates back to Doom and Doom II in my college days all those years ago.

But this year, I had a few more Santa Good Pointsâ„¢ saved up, and it looked like I might just about manage to get an XBox 360 for Christmas after all. And as soon as it looked as though I could, I found myself wanting one less and less…

After all, the PS3 was being launched in Europe in early 2007, and the Nintendo Wii was coming out in December 2006 — although I’ve never really been a Nintendo fan — so I thought I’d have a proper look at the consoles and weigh them up carefully.

XBox 360

Around £320 to get the “enhanced” model with a couple of games, so it’s expensive. Very powerful. Wide selection of games. I had an XBox (original) and liked it.

Playstation 3

Difficult to be exact on price, but from the dollar prices I’ve seen quoted, I think we’re looking at around £450 to get a PS3 with a couple of games, so it’s extremely bloody expensive. Obviously, like the XBox 360, it’s being pitched as a Home Entertainment Centre, but what I actually want is a games console — I already have DVD players, televisions, MP3 players, the ability to surf the internet and so on.

There’ll be a wide variety of games, and while I went XBox rather than PS2, I did have the original Playstation, and had a lot of fun with Lara Croft (in a non-pervy kind of way honest), in particular with Tomb Raider II which looking back is still one of my favourite games.

Nintendo Wii

Go on then, I might as well consider it, even thought I’ve never really been a Nintendo fan. £180 with one game thrown in, making it around £220 for two games to start off with. It’s not exactly cheap, but it’s a lot more reasonable than the other two.

The Legendary Dan Championâ„¢ is getting a Wii, and although I consider him more of an accessible web design expert (oh all right then, and friend) than a games console reviewer, he did recommend Unreal Tournament to me, which is a fun game — graphics a bit dated but gameplay is superb.

Dan’s also located the top ten Wii complaints, which seems to boil down to:

  • don’t throw your controller across the room
  • get some rechargeable batteries for the controller
  • and if you want to go online, go wireless

Hmm. If these are the most significant complaints people can come up with, I guess I can live with that…

And what do I actually want from a console? I want something fun to play with. I’m not after a home entertainment centre. I know the graphics and the processing power won’t be a patch on the other two, but that doesn’t really bother me.

And once you’ve seen people using a Wii, you’ll think it looks like fun too. Basically, instead of twiddling knobs, keypads and triggers on the controller, you wave it around as well for sword-fighting and stuff. Now you want to have a go too, don’t you? So a Wii it is, then.

I ask Santa’s Elf to place my order and discover that I’ve not got in early enough to get one of the consoles from the first batch that arrives in the shop— sorry, from Santa’s workshop. Not to worry, that’s the one I want and it’s no great concern if Santa has to wait even until the New Year to deliver it.

But Santa’s Elf finds out on Saturday that there is one available (presumably they either received more units than they expected or someone cancelled). Great. I know it comes with Wii Sports, which looks like fun, but now I need to decide on one more game to go with it.

Extensive market research (watching the videos of people playing various games, asking Dan and reading some online reviews) points me in the direction of The Legend Of Zelda: Twilight Princess rather than the “Red Steel” samurai swords and shooting one and off we go. Santa just needs to wrap it up.

Of course, the drawback is now that I’ve got to wait another two weeks for it — and be a good boy as well, obviously.


And then I came across an interesting article on The Register today — Nintendo Wii Launch breaks UK record — with a few interesting facts and figures about the various consoles.

Now, I’d been saying to some work colleagues that I felt Microsoft and Sony were in danger of pricing themselves out of the market with the inflated prices for the XBox 360 and the Playstation 3, because apart from a small segment of the target audience — young adults with high disposable income and no kids — people are buying these sorts of things because they want to play games on them, rather than use them as a “home entertainment centre”.

And the figures seemed to be backing me up:

The average daily sales of the Wii in the US in November (since it went on sale on November 19th) were around 43,000. The average daily sales of the Playstation 3 (since that went on sale on November 17th) were around 15,000. The XBox daily sales for the month were around 17,000.

Given that the Wii and PS3 were launched that month, they are likely to be showing a sales peak based on pre-orders — we can expect these figures to drop somewhat. In contrast, as the XBox 360 has been out for bloody ages that’s likely to be a fair reflection of ongoing sales.

So that’s the cheapest console vastly outselling the most expensive console then?

Obviously in the UK, the Playstation 3 is not yet available, so the Wii is only competing against the XBox 360 at present, but when 105,000 Wiis were sold over the launch weekend in the UK alone — that’s around 35,000 on each of the first three days — then that’s bloody impressive. It’s also a new record, more than 50% up in terms of units shifted on the previous best held by the XBox 360 launch.

And of course, the better it does, the better and wider will be the choice of games for it, so I’d like to suggest that the rest of you go out and get one as well.

8 Responses to “Wii Are The Pickards”

  1. Rich Pedley responds:

    I assume you have seen this already then…
    wii have a problem


  2. Steve responds:

    I still believe in Father Christmas too. So fingers crossed…

  3. Gareth Rushgrove responds:

    I’ve been in the same camp for a while (should I, shouldn’t I?) and have been leaning towards a Wii too.

    From what I’ve heard the PS3 is going to be even more expensive that you mention (anywhere up to £600!)

    All those classic titles available for download just sounds amusing, Opera on TV sounds useful and Zelda, Mario, et al have got to be worth the cheaper price of games too.

  4. Dan responds:

    Good choice! I got my Wii on Friday, and love it. Even the wife’s been playing (and beating me), which is a miracle. Wii Sports is a lot of fun, most fun multi-player (save up for another Wiimote) but even single-player there’s a bit of durability there. Shame it’s not online, that would have made it a killer app.

    Zelda is also a lot of fun, and huge by all accounts. I’m only a couple of hours in, and with my ration of about 30 minutes a day I’ll be playing it for weeks.

    But IMHO the best is yet to come for the Wii. There is such huge scope for imaginative use of the controllers that I’m sure we’ll see some fantastic games over the next couple of years.

  5. Mike responds:


    Say no more.

  6. Karl responds:

    Well, the lad got his 360 for Christmas this year and isn’t too fussed with the PS3. Whilst I appreciate the graphics and all I’m an online PC gamer first and foremost. As for the Wii? Surprisingly, it’s Jane that wants to get one but we’ll wait until the new year and adequate stocks before getting one. I think Nintendo have got it right this time - innovation and social gaming.

  7. Karl responds:

    meh. we got the 360 last year!

  8. Mike Cherim responds:

    If I was going to get back into gaming (I don’t have time unfortunately) I’d get a 360. I really enjoyed my Xbox Live times and the system rocks. The Wii sounds neat though. Sounds like a good time to be had in its own right. Wiiiiiiii! :)

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