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Phil Harrison not that concerned about Wii

Phil Harrison sat down for an interview with GameSpot prior to the Kaz Hirai keynote and, in addition to dodging some questions we've got answers to, he talked about all the media comparisons of the Nintendo Wii against the PlayStation 3. It's not flamebait, really, just his thoughts on the whole ordeal of overcoming bad press from an awkward angle.
  • When asked if Phil was concerned over the "Wii outsells competition 3:1 or 5:1" comments, he said, "I'm not worried about it, no. Obviously I would like it to be the other way round, but it's not really fair to compare two products that serve different markets and are at different price points." He agreed that it was unfair to compare the two systems, but refused to mar the statement with an unreasonable analogy.
  • Phil talked about Sony's plan to innovate and widen the market as the Wii had done, also. He cited the new EyeToy, SingStar, and Buzz! as examples of more light-hearted games moving onto the PS3.
  • He doesn't think focusing just on the hardcore market is a good idea. Looking at the trends, "your initial audience is very different to the audience you have buying into the console seven, eight, or nine years later. So, we try to make software which is slightly ahead of that trend, software that enables younger users or new users to come in."
We are glad that Sony is in the process of moving some of the less-hardcore titles from the PS2 onto the PS3. While the price may keep the less-hardcore at bay for a while longer, it is true that a few years from now, different types of consumers will be adopting the machine. It's just how the world works. About not making an analogy, though, we'll leave that up to you guys. You can be unreasonable if you like, just don't be too profane. Like, "it's sort of like comparing selling more Micro Machines than actual Porches" or something. It's all in good fun, Wii fanboys, so you can make your own counter-analogy also.

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Reader Comments

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1. My bro bought a Wii for himself and his kids about 6 months ago. Today, they are still only playing WiiSports, everyday, thats all they want to play.. they also have Spiderman 3, but, that too complicated for them and they get frustrated.

Posted at 10:40AM on Sep 20th 2007 by phattie

2. It's sort of like comparing selling more Micro Machines than actual Porsches.

Posted at 10:46AM on Sep 20th 2007 by Popfrogs

3. Harrison has a point.... if Wii were same price with ps3 or even 360's pirce then I bet the sales would reduce drastically because then people are buying a low end system around high end cost with gimmicky or innovative (depending on game) controls.

Posted at 10:52AM on Sep 20th 2007 by shase

4. how can you not compare 2 gaming consoles? phil you fail. talk about a lame excuse for lack of sales

Posted at 11:04AM on Sep 20th 2007 by vinny

5. For the same reason you can't compare a 2000 dollar high tech gaming rig with a 500 dollar desktop for doing schoolwork, webbrowsing and occasionaly burning a DVD. Yes they both play games but the difference is obvious.

Posted at 11:09AM on Sep 20th 2007 by Egster

6. Wow. Not only reasonable, but honest, answers. Thanks Phil, I wish more people could talk like that more of the time.

You could compare the systems to tv/dvd/movie theater or to restaurants, and those have been done, but when you get down to it, the Wii is for people that don't play video games and the 360/PS3 are for people that do.

Nintendo said they didn't want to compete with Sony and Microsoft, they made a system that's for a totally different market (which doesn't mean someone can't have both, but they're not trying to sell wiis to "gamers" ) and Phil has agreed with them.

Posted at 11:25AM on Sep 20th 2007 by Trev

7. Well I would call the Xbox 360 direct competition to the PS3, but not the Wii. They really are very different. Not only are they in completely seperate price categories, they seem to have seperate target audiences. Though I must admit, I like them both.

Posted at 11:28AM on Sep 20th 2007 by AlanS17

8. He is not concerned because the Wii is basically fighting against the PS2. Same technology. The Wii has a nice start going but can it keep up? Hardware sales matter, but so do software. People just aren't buying 3rd party Wii games. Its the gamecube syndrome all over again. I guess Phil would be a little worried when the Wii reaches 120 million. But by that time, PS3 will be well established. I wouldn't worry about it so much. Right now, the real competition for PS3 is the 360.

Posted at 11:28AM on Sep 20th 2007 by Xiru

9. @8: I think you're 100% right. If you wanna compare consoles, put the Wii next to the PS2. Same tech, same price range, same crippled online, etc.

Posted at 11:43AM on Sep 20th 2007 by Popfrogs

10. Um yeah you can compare them.

They're still way behind the 360, I'm sure he'd say they can't be compared either because 360 doesn't have Blu-ray or something.

Posted at 11:51AM on Sep 20th 2007 by Ghaleon

11. you cant compare wii to ps2.... diff. price and diff. support etc. PS2 is declining in support while Wii is getting more support. Plus, Wii's making more profit than the PS2 in terms of games and systems.

Posted at 11:55AM on Sep 20th 2007 by shase

12. 11 - Please cite that one. The PS2 has sold so many units and games that I have trouble believing its not making more than the Wii. As far as support, I wouldn't call shutting down your forums and ignoring calls for an online experience people enjoy as support.

Posted at 12:13PM on Sep 20th 2007 by NATO_Duke

13. LOL....

The denial continues...

Posted at 12:17PM on Sep 20th 2007 by NeoAngelicPrince

14. Comparing the Wii to PS3 is like comparing $1,000 to 100 million dollars, which do you think will bring you more fun 2 years from now

Posted at 12:21PM on Sep 20th 2007 by Thoas

15. @9 The PS2's online capabilities weren't "crippled" they were just primitive. There was still lobbies, chatting, voice chatting. The Wii's online... yeah, that's crippled.

Posted at 12:30PM on Sep 20th 2007 by Sean

16. I'm always amused by the mass media covering the "dominance" of the Wii and yet they seem to avoid all the reasons WHY the Wii is selling so well.

Why is it so hard to imagine that a console that's half the price of its competitors, made from cheap (but durable) plastic, and lacking any "real" media playback features is beyond me. Nintendo SHOULD be outselling everyone else. It's a toy. A great toy but a toy nonetheless. It's also less menacing looking with it's glossy white exterior and teeny-tiny controller.

As for Phil's comments, what do you think he's going to say. No one wants to admit defeat or show a hint of weakness. I agree with others that while Nintendo is "winning" the war in terms of sales the bigger question is can sustain itself as THE place for all gamers. I think most, even Wii owners, would roar a resounding "NO" to that right now.

Posted at 12:49PM on Sep 20th 2007 by MRBlue

17. Call me silly, but this is why I'm upset with the Wii's success. I see MS & Sony stumbling over themselves to shelve the hard core gamers, and go pander off to the "casual crowd".

It's hard to deny facts, and the Wii has the sales numbers to back it up, it's just not the direction I wish to see my future video gaming take.

Posted at 1:06PM on Sep 20th 2007 by Knight Marquise

18. @17: Yeah, the Wii moves hardware. That's a fact nobody can deny. But the 3rd party support is drying up *already*. Why? Because people don't buy Wii games. The attach rate for Wii games is shameful compared to the PS3/X360. 3rd parties don't like this prospect.

It's just another Gamecube with waggle controls. That's it, end of story. The same thing will happen with it, no 3rd party titles, nothing but Nintendo rehashes, and people losing interest by the day. Nintendo makes hardware to sell its own games, and pretty much always has. If other devs want to try a crack at it, they're more than welcome, but they won't make much money regardless of the install base, because it's the hardcore gamers, not people content to play Wii Sports for the rest of their lives, that drives game sales.

Sony and MS sell consoles at a loss and make up the difference in software sales. Nintendo is exactly the opposite.

Before anyone heats up the flamethrower, keep in mind I'm not dissing the Wii, just pointing out what I see is the future of the Wii. I have played it once or twice and it's good times.

Posted at 1:22PM on Sep 20th 2007 by Popfrogs

19. I agree with Popfrogs...

I bought the Wii and about a month later I was DONE! I didn't enjoy *any* games other than Wii Sports and Wii Play. So now it's lying at my sisters and I'm focused solely on my 360. The fad is dying down and the new sales numbers are evidence...

Posted at 1:41PM on Sep 20th 2007 by marklar

20. Not being concerned about your competitors, especially when they are outselling you, is the surest way to secure your failure.

Posted at 4:43PM on Sep 20th 2007 by poprocker

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