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Analysis: Where Now For M-Rated Wii Games?

Analysis: Where Now For M-Rated Wii Games? Exclusive

September 14, 2009 | By Matt Matthews

September 14, 2009 | By Matt Matthews
More: Console/PC, Exclusive

What's the current state of the mature game market for Nintendo's Wii console? As part of Gamasutra's NPD U.S. console retail analysis for August 2009, we're looking at one particular upcoming M-rated Wii title.

As interest builds for Activision's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, the publisher is keeping an eye on the Wii market and experimenting with better, albeit dated, support. In early August a port of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare for the Wii was announced, due simultaneously with its sequel on other platforms.

We think this will be an interesting title to watch. It carries a strong brand name, has been given the support of a prolific developer (Treyarch), and will likely benefit from all the market publicity surrounding the launch of the sequel. It is also a title rated M (for Mature) by the ESRB, putting it in a category of Wii software for which the sales environment has been considered difficult.

For example, Sega's Madworld launched with sales of only 66,000 units in March of this year. At the time some felt that sales might pick up over time. As of August 2009, total sales of Madworld have climbed to 123,000 or an average of around 11,000 units for each month after launch, NPD tells Gamasutra.

Another Sega game with a violence/action theme, The Conduit, also posted sales of only 72,000 units when it was released in June 2009. It should be noted that The Conduit is only rated T (for Teen) by the ESRB.

However, there is ample evidence that M-rated action games can sell well on the Wii, and we need only look at last year's Call of Duty: World at War for the proof. According to exclusive NPD Group data provided to Gamasutra, sales of World at War on the Wii have finally reached over 750,000.

This is clearly not in the same class as some of Nintendo's own first-party game (none of which are M-rated), nor is it in the same class as sales of the Xbox 360 for PlayStation 3 versions. Still, it is a very successful M-rated game on a system whose audience some consider ambivalent or even hostile to such content.

That bodes well for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare on the Wii, and should prove an interesting case to follow at the end of 2009.

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