One of the main knocks on the Wii among videogame fans is that its popularity among children has caused the market to become flooded with “shovelware” aka undesirable software. It turns out that the CEO of Lightning Fish Games, Simon Prytherch, shares this gripe. He says that the shovelware is making it impossible for consumers to trust any third party games.
Prytherch explains, “Consumers have been damaged by a lot of sub-standard software, so now they only trust big Nintendo brands.” That makes sense when you consider how first party titles so consistently dominate the Wii’s best sellers list. Of course, Prytherch’s argument only makes sense if there actually are quality third party titles out there getting the shaft because of the junk surrounding them. A survey of the best Wii games shows that the really good third party Wii games are popular franchises that aren’t Wii exclusives. Besides the incomparable World of Goo, you have to go down the list to Zach and Wiki to find a solid thrid party Wii exclusive.
What does this mean? Prytherch is right that there are a lot of bad Wii games out there, but he is wrong in telling us why consumers prefer the first party games. Nintendo’s in-house games have been the best on Wii and third party exclusives have been significantly worse. Zack and Wiki is a point and click adventure that came out quite a while ago and really it has not been topped by anyone but Nintendo. The problem is not the good third party games being hidden behind piles of shovelware; the problem is the lack of good third party games to begin with. Perhaps Prytherch is just upset that his company’s NewU Fitness First Personal Trainer (pictured) didn’t fare so well in Wii Fit’s shadow?