The Truth Behind Hardcore Wii Software Sales


A lot has been said, written, and typed about hardcore third-party sales figures on the Nintendo Wii. While numbers for such titles may not rival that of the cutting-edge systems, we may not be seeing the complete picture. It is no secret that development costs on what is basically a last-gen console “retread” are exceptionally less expensive than the current-day process. Also, it seems that today, software sold is NOT considered successful until it reaches the 500,000 unit mark. Could these facts be causing a misinterpretation on the part of gaming and enthusiast press?


According to VGChartz.com, House of the Dead: Overkill sold almost 235,000 copies in 10 weeks(keep in mind that the site does not track past that point). The game reached it’s sales pinnacle in week two with over 44,000 units moved worldwide. This suggests that, even with a Metacritic score of 78, gamers were paying attention to the reviews of major sites and publications. The score is actually decieving as well, for ratings on the lower end are from less reputable sources, possibly searching out controversy.


Example number two is MadWorld. Released on March 10th 2009, the game pushed roughly 260,000 through retail to the consumer in two and a half months. Gamers definitely had their eye on the title, as it’s week one sales were in the neighborhood of 65,000 copies. An old-school “beat ’em up” with an artistic flair, MadWorld was extremely popular with the mainstream gaming press. It did break the Metacritic 80 percent barrier(by one point), but again, how many of the lower reviews are credible?


Maybe the largest hardcore Wii experiment to date, The Conduit, blasted onto the gaming scene  June 23rd 2009 selling 83,000 copies here and abroad in it’s first week. There was no question that High Voltage Software, the game’s developer, had the spotlight aimed their direction. The Conduit had boasted lofty lighting and particle systems, along with the most-intuitive first-person-shooter controls since Metroid Prime 3: Corruption. The title has slowly fizzled out to a measly 8,000 units moved in it’s sixth week at retail, culminating at a total of 200,000. With a Metacritic score of 69(eek), it seems that most trustworthy reviews are in the 80’s and 70’s.

So, what does the bulk of this information mean exactly? These signs point to the fact that there IS still some segment of a core gaming audience on Nintendo’s tiny white console. SEGA, who published each of the games above, must believe that this is case. But as far as SEGA, Headstrong, Platinum Games, and High Voltage are concerned, do these sales figues warrant sequels? There is still much that we do not know. How many of the units moved at retail were at a reduced price point? Regardless, gamers’ support is crucial. Do you think that the Wii needs more hardcore software? If yes, then ask yourself this: how many of these titles have YOU purchased? Voting begins with YOUR gaming dollar. Do not let that vote go unheard.

14 comments on “The Truth Behind Hardcore Wii Software Sales

  1. The only one of these listed that I didn’t buy was Madworld. The others are a lot of fun and great for gaming. Madworld didn’t get any of my interest because I’m not into playing a black & white game just like I don’t watch Sin City because I just can’t enjoy that art style. Conduit was completely awesome. Online sucks because of the hackers but with friends it is completely awesome. Each cost me $50 at retail. Worth every dollar in my opinion. I’ll think of trying Madworld when it costs $15. I vote with my dollars and I’m happy with what I’m playing.

  2. I purchased The Conduit the day it came out at Gamestop. I try to buy only multiplayer games, as that ensures replayability. I didn’t buy HotD because it’s just another on-rails (already have HotD 2&3). I didn’t buy Madworld because I find brawlers to be repetitive along with it being black & white (I don’t care if the developers meant it to be an artistic statement).

    I have standards when it comes to buying a game. Even though I could have waited for reviews and videos of The Conduit, I chose to buy it on principle. The principle of supporting “hardcore” games. Sure, I was ultimately disappointed by the gameplay (Counter-Strike still remains my favorite shooter), but it is the best shooter on the Wii right now.

    The Wii needs innovative hardcore titles.

    • I hate to keep coming back to MW2, but I do hope that we can get good principle response when the opposite is true of a game, too. I haven’t played too much of The Conduit so far, but I picked it up day one because I feel that strongly about the cause. Great comment.

  3. Wii is utter trash, there is absolutely no reason to own it. I’ll get my Mario on DS, thx.

  4. I bought Conduit and Madworld. Conduit was a day one buy at full price. I like that it was made for the Wii and didnt cut any corners. HVS gave the best tech effort in showing that the Wii has hardcore potential when devs take the development serious. MadWorld I bought on sale, mainly because I’m not into brawlers unless they have co-op online play now days. I will be purchasing HOD Overkill, but I have been spending my money on other games at the moment, (Conduit, GS Tennis, Excitebots, Overturn and some other WiiWare games) but I really only buy Sports, Racers, and FPS games. As am adult gamer I wish more companies would develope hardcore titles for Wii in the same regard as PS3/360 titles. The Wii after all does have the best gameplay of the Three.

    • kidcntlose- do you own any other consoles? As an adult gamer myself, the Wii was my first console this gen. Then, about 1 1/2 years later I purchased a Metal Gear Solid 4 bundle PS3. I found that after that point, as we discussed on the cast this week, I didn’t play my Wii as much- well, except when wifey wants to. I believe that SOME developers do take Wii development seriously, just not all of them. I just can’t undersatnd why most games don’t even deserve to grace a PS2.

  5. There’s seems like a conspiracy when it comes to 3rd party core games on Wii. There are alot of great titles being overlooked and Nintendo are being accused of being a casual focused company. I think as a core machine the Wii can and does deliver and even though its core games don’t sell multi millions you have to remember the PS3/360 spend millions in marketing to get those sales and they also put them in bundles to get more sales. So when it comes to the amount of money made off a game they about the same: HD costs and marketing for PS3/360 = Low cost dev and no marketing on Wii.

  6. If you have to use VGChartz numbers to make a point, don’t bother making your point, because it instantly renders your argument moot. You might as well be turning to your co-worker and asking how many copies the games in question sold.

  7. @pikeir- One would think that with lower development costs, more cash would be readily available to be sunk into marketing. I can’t believe that the software in reference sold as well as it did.

    @PossibleMisnomer- I can see where you’re coming from. Although VG can be a bit suspect, that clearly wasn’t the point of the article. I’m sure while they may not be entirely accurate, they may not be bad numbers as a starting point.

  8. I bought all of these games at full price early (and I got two of the HOTD Handcannons) as well as No More Heros which should be on this list, too – because I read trustworthy reviews and to make a statement. I enjoyed all of them, even though I didn’t finish MadWorld and NMH yet, but I come back to these from time to time. You could criticize each for something but I love each for some things.

  9. I bought and have owned all three titles listed above. I thought every game was good, but every game had some serious flaws. HOD Overkill was fun as all hell and my favorite of the three, but way too short to warrant the $50. I spent on it. Also, the games replay value was lost because the game became WAY too easy with the upgraded weapons. (shot gun anyone?) Madworld was a fun solid brawler. Once again too short and didn’t offer enough depth. The Conduit which I just picked up is probably the funnest fps shooter I have played to date, BUT hvs inexperience with fps shows greatly in the linear level design, AI, art choices, story, etc.
    I hope this post doesn’t come off as too negative becuase I have a great time playing all sorts of games on my Wii. But, the truth of the matter is none of the “hardcore” games to come out for the Wii have truly been that great. I think the sales of the title’s are pretty accurate to their quality to be honest.
    Harcore games will continue to sell better when developers put better games out for the system. With that being said, I have very high hopes for Red Steel 2.

  10. Great information and excellent design you got here! I would like to thank you for sharing your ideas and time into the stuff you post!! Thumbs up

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: