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Wii sales mean nothing if you don't play it

Famitsu publisher says 67 percent of people don't play their Wiis. Based on his findings, Don Reisinger thinks the Wii is in trouble and could actually become the novelty device so many are calling it.

Nintendo Wii
Wii want more, I wish you could deliver CNET

Citing a study, Famitsu publisher, Hirokazu Hamamura, explained in an interview that 67 percent of Wii owners simply don't use their Wiis. And as a Wii owner who played it constantly for about a month, then proceeded to allow it to collect dust, I can relate to the study.

But besides my own preferences, I can't help but think that the Wii is in trouble. Sure, some go out and tell us about the Wii sales figures, but there are no figures showing us that people actually play Wii games. Worse, Wii video game sales barely scratch the top ten when matched with titles from Microsoft or Sony -- another dust competitor.

Could it be that the Wii is nothing more than a novelty? That, regardless of impending Mario game releases, the Wii will enter the boring bin before you know it? Do video game consumers really want to wave their hands around to control something on the screen?

At this point, it may be time for Nintendo to get its head out of the sky and realize its previously infallible device is in danger.

The Wii, once so strong and easily the most dominant console in the industry, is in trouble for the first time. With few captivating games besides the release titles, the Wii has been exposed as a fun device that has yet to fulfill its promise of revolutionizing gaming.

I've often heard of the idea that the Wii is perfect for parties. And while I can somewhat understand the justification for such a statement -- it's a great multiplayer platform -- I've yet to see one played.

Now, before Nintendo zealots rise up and attempt to pick apart my argument that the Wii is in trouble, hear me out: with a study saying 67 percent of people don't play the Wii, how important are sales? To Nintendo, hardware sales mean almost everything -- the more people buy, the higher its revenue rises, the better it looks to shareholders.

But what some don't realize is Nintendo is reliant upon software developers too. With licensing fees on the rise, Nintendo stands to make quite a bit of money if it can coax developers to make games for the console. But when just 33 percent actually use the console, what's the impetus for developers to spend the limited amount of capital on the Wii?

For the first time, I truly believe that the Wii is best suited as a novelty device that only plays first-party full-length games and third-party mini-games. Generally speaking, most of the games on the console fit into that category anyway, and judging by those vaunted hardware sales, it seems it's working for Nintendo.

Now, obviously I would like to see the Wii become a console capable of making me want to play full-featured titles, but I simply don't see how it could do that. With development costs on the rise and game exclusivity becoming a rarity, most developers realize that graphics and epic titles are still the main selling points for gamers and the Wii has yet to deliver on either of those attributes.

Simply put, the Wii may be too late. If it had come out last generation, it would have easily dominated. But in an environment where games costs millions to produce, "fun" is quickly giving way to an "immersing experience" that third-party developers are willing to create on the Wii.

Sad as it is, the Wii isn't even a contender in the console wars. With 67 percent of people using it to catch dust, the Wii has become a $250 novelty.