Wii drought: The facts

Last October, during an interview with Newsweek's N'Gai Croal, Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime declared that Wii wouldn't suffer the same, infamous,new game drought that had afflicted previous Nintendo consoles. His reasoning was that three giant gaming brands - Zelda, Metroid and Mario - would "continue driving momentum through 2007," and give Wii the support it needed to keep gamers interested.

Back to the present, however, and two of those vital titles are lacking concrete launch dates. Both Metroid Prime 3 and Mario Galaxy - probably the biggest and most anticipated game yet to be released on Wii - look unlikely to appear until Christmas. So with the big hitters out of the action, how exactly does the number of games currently available for Wii compare with the early-doors experience of N64 and GameCube buyers?

Above is a lovely big graph, showing the number of games available for each console during the first four months of its launch. The white line is Wii - and you'll see that although it's faring better than N64, GameCube actually boasted more titles during its first two months.

Fortunately, Wii is beginning to pick up now, enjoying a more fruitful third month than either previous consoles. Plusa healthy line-up of 17 titles, including SSX Blur, Mario Party 8 and Tiger Woods, is predicted to burst into the shops in March, should each game hit its release date.

But, crucially, only a handful of the games are purpose-built for Wii, employing the console's exciting features - and only a few of those are worth blowing your cash on. Meanwhile April is looking excruciatingly lean, and there's little hope of a killer game exploding out of nowhere in the coming months.

Wii might not be suffering a severe shortage by Nintendo's previous poor standards, but without the thrills of Mario Galaxy or Metroid Prime 3 to keep that momentum going, a summer videogame drought for Wii is almost certainly on the cards.

February 21, 2007