It has been fascinating reading comments on the pathetic sales of Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars for DS and MadWorld for Wii. Some of the comments were truly interesting, while others have been...not so smart. A lot of people are blaming Nintendo for being too enamored with the mainstream audience and forgetting about enthusiast gamers. Some people are blaming third-party publishers for introducing titles like these so late into the respective lifespans of the two systems. There's probably a smidgen of truth to both, but I really think the blame should go to another group: enthusiast gamers. Before I tell you why, let's backtrack a bit and revisit the numbers.
While the DS and Wii are certainly aimed at broader audiences than the PlayStation Portable and Xbox 360, certainly there are a percentage of "core" gamers that own each system. Let's low-ball each installed base and say that the "hardcore" segment of each is around 10 percent. That would leave use with around 3.4-million DS owners and 2.2-million Wii owners in America. You're telling me that with this fractional subsection of these respective installed bases, only 89,000 units of Chinatown Wars and 66,000 units of MadWorld were sold? Really?!?
Like I said earlier, I really think the blame should go to gamers -- specifically those that bitch and moan about these consoles, but did nothing to support either game. Every week I see hundreds of comments bashing Nintendo -- saying that the company has forgotten about "real" gamers, complaining that there aren't any "gamer" games for the DS and Wii, whining that Nintendo systems are only for kids, etc. Well here are two games that are certainly targeted towards "real" gamers and are most definitely not for kids. If all the people that whined about the shortcomings of the DS and Wii software libraries bought Chinatown Wars and/or MadWorld then the issue would be getting resolved. Instead, it's (likely) going to get worse and loudmouthed enthusiast gamers should blame themselves.
Now you might be thinking, "But but but Raymond, I don't like either of these games." For most people, that's reason enough not to purchase, but if you were among those making a ton of anti-Nintendo noise then you should have picked up both these titles. If you really wanted the DS and Wii to get more "core" games then you would have supported these two games, regardless of your personal preferences. If you truly cared about more third-party titles aimed at enthusiast gamers hitting these systems then you would bought Chinatown Wars and MadWorld. The poor sales results are likely to lead to even lower third-party support and enthusiast gamers should be blamed for talking instead of acting. (I will accept the lack of funds as an excuse because, let's face it, the economy sucks.)
Let's remember Chinatown Wars and MadWorld next time somebody says that there aren't any third-party M-rated enthusiast-titles for DS or Wii. When their libraries are cluttered with the like of Stitching Sister, Fitness Chick's Mad Workout, Simplistic Olympic Games, and more, enthusiast gamers have no right to whine about it. They had a big chance to make a stand and demand that enthusiasts games be made and published for the DS and Wii, but when the moment arrived, they didn't act. Bluster is like that sometimes.