In the annals of history, we as gamers have used console sales as a measure of success. Oftentimes, we use that as the primary factor in terms of who “won”. These home console winners include the Atari 2600, the Nintendo Entertainment System, the Super Nintendo, the PlayStation, the PlayStation 2 and the Nintendo Wii. Gamers always use sales as the primary measuring stick for why the NES or the PlayStation 2 won their respective generations.
Yet when gamers talk about the Wii/Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 era, the fact that the Wii outsold its competitors by a wide margin no longer matters. All you have to do is scour through one of many online threads about the matter to find all sorts of creative ways that people will spin the situation in Sony and Microsoft’s favour. The ways in which people always move the goal posts in this argument sickens me.
I get the gamer perspective just as much as anyone else. The Wii was not a video game machine made with traditional gamers in mind. Featuring motion controls and PS2-era hardware, the system became irrelevant to many of us who wanted to follow the same path that we always have. I also get how gamers don’t even want to put it in the same ballpark as the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 because of how it became perceived as a console for children, soccer moms and senior citizens.
Even as a lifelong Nintendo fanboy and longtime loyalist, can totally relate. I was greatly disappointed in the Wii for the same reasons many other gamers were, which drove me to buy an Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 for my gaming fix. Quite frankly, I think Sony and Microsoft’s systems destroyed the Wii in terms of what I personally wanted out of a console.
Everyone is free to have their opinions about which they thought were the best or their favourites and back it up with whatever they like. However, if you want to have an intelligent discussion with others about console success, don’t discredit the Wii’s sales figures just because you hate motion controls, its casual focus or because it puts a dent in why the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 may not be the best. The Wii was a home console, just like the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, that came out within the same generational period. The numbers may not tell the whole story, but as of writing, they still show that the Wii outsold its peers. Like it or lump it, you can’t simply sweep 100 million consoles under the rug.
The part that infuriates me about this whole thing is that if the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 had sold the most, gamers would be using that as the bullet point for why that system won. I know this because gamers use it to explain why every best-selling system from the Atari 2600 to the PlayStation 2 won. Now that Nintendo’s Wii U is floundering on store shelves, gamers are quick to use that same metric to prove why that system will ultimately lose against the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
If you’re going to use sales as supporting evidence for your argument, you better be prepared for when that same data is used against you. Redefining success isn’t a fair plan B when you’d totally use it as plan A if the shoe were on the other foot.