Sega says Wii is "in a strange place"

After becoming disenchanted with its push to get an older crowd to turn to the Wii, Sega is now facing the music and looking at the Nintendo console without a lot of optimism.

"The Wii as a platform is in a strange place ... It's hard for retailers, and consumers are buying fewer products," said Sega marketing VP Alan Pritchard in an interview with Game Informer magazine.

Above: The very curious Madworld. It received rave reviews but sales were lackluster at best.

Sega took a "huge risk," said Pritchard, when it decided to release games like Madworld, House of the Dead, and Conduit on the Wii. These games werea dark contrast to the vast collection of cutesy mini-game compilations and platformers that dominate the Wii library.

"Nintendo was supportive of the strategy. There was an intent to take the Wii console a little older, and make a more core machine," he commented.

House of the Dead sold well, because it's a very strong and well-known franchise. But Madworld, a very unique but very gory action game, sold miserably. Had it been released on the PS3 or Xbox 360, it might have been a different story.

"Things are different now," said Pritchard. The Wii is no longer the sales juggernaut it used to be. Going by previous console generations, it is past the point of maturity. Four years on the market used to be a very long time. But the PS3 and 360 are "future-proof" devices with upgradeable firmware and technologically superior processors. The Wii, however, can't function the same way, so Nintendo sort of finds itself in a pickle.

The 3DS will give it a boost on the handheld front next year, but what will 2011 bring for the Wii market? We'll have to see, but Sega, a strong supporter of the system, doesn't seem to have very high hopes.

Dec 15, 2010