Smart Home

Has Nintendo changed the definition of 'gamer'?

Nintendo has enjoyed success once again in the video game space. But as Don Reisinger considers sales figures for last month, he's come to the conclusion that Nintendo has changed the face of gaming and he's no longer the typical gamer.

Sunday, NPD released its January video game sales figures, and once again, Nintendo dominated.

According to the research firm, Nintendo sold 680,000 Wii units and 510,000 DS units. Microsoft was able to sell 309,000 consoles in January, and Sony once again trailed the pack with 203,000 units sold.

On the software side, Nintendo's Wii Fit, Wii Play, and Mario Kart Wii took the top three spots, while Left 4 Dead and Call of Duty: World at War rounded out the top five.

Grand Theft Auto IV
This ain't your grandfather's gaming industry. Rockstar Games

At this point, after well over a year of leading the video game industry, it shouldn't be a surprise that Nintendo dominated the charts for yet another month. After all, the company has found a way to provide consumers with a fun and unique experience at a price that's more affordable than its competition. And in this economy, that's a necessity.

But as the months have worn on and more Wiis enter homes around the world, I'm left wondering if I'm an "old school" gamer who has been left behind. Sure, I own the Wii and I've played all the games listed here, but if we are to believe that sales figures can adequately determine the preferences of gamers, I don't think it's out of the question to say that I'm no longer the typical gamer. And it's Nintendo's fault.

There was a time when I was the typical gamer. I played all the major franchises like Metal Gear Solid and Final Fantasy and loved to play the obscure titles like Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete. More often than not, I was enjoying the games that topped the charts each month and all the consoles that sold best were usually the systems I was playing most often.

Then something strange happened: for the first time in years, Nintendo reclaimed the top spot in the video game industry. Maybe we can chalk the Wii's success up to its features or maybe even its price.

But as more people join the ranks of gamers through the Wii, it's becoming clear I'm not part of that movement. I own the Wii and I'll play games on it every now and then, but I've found that many of the games don't appeal to me.

Sure, Wii Play was fun for a day or two, but after a while, I lost all interest in it and only popped it into the Wii at parties. I've spent my time playing shooters, adventure titles, and other games on my Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. But judging by the sales figures of both hardware and software, I'm not in the majority anymore.

More people are buying the Wii and its games than picking up an Xbox 360 and playing Fable 2. It's as simple as that. There is a massive influx of new gamers entering the market and in the process, they're changing the way games are played. After all, if the Wii wasn't a hot-selling console, Nintendo would have ditched the idea by now and third parties would be running from the Wii. Instead, Nintendo's execs are laughing all the way to the bank as third-party developers like EA make it a point to tell the gaming community that more games will be coming to the company's console.

I'm not happy about it. Based on my testing, the only fun Wii games come from Nintendo. Third parties simply haven't been able to develop titles that can match the first-party games. Worse, I don't really enjoy the Wii's control style and more often than not, I find myself frustrated, wishing I could enjoy the game the "old-fashioned way."

I know I'm in the minority. I realize that as I keep plugging away in GTA IV or Halo 3, more people will be finding reasons to buy a Wii and games that are developed by Nintendo. I think NPD sales numbers have proven that.

Maybe I'm just another victim of age, or perhaps I'm unwilling to change. Whatever the reason, I'm just not convinced the average person who is playing games is like me anymore. Today's new gamer doesn't want to waste their time playing through an epic adventure; they want to jump on a plastic board that's connected to the Wii.

That's just not me. Is it you?

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