Capcom France: gamers have deserted Wii

The company's future is on PS3 and 360.

In a frank interview (in French) with Gamekult (via Spong), Antoine Seux, director general of Capcom France, has deplored the poor sales of hardcore games on Wii, saying gamers have turned their backs on the platform. Capcom's future, Seux says, is firmly on Xbox 360 and PS3.

Seux's comments were triggered by a discussion of the low sales of the recent Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles on Wii, compared to healthy sales of Resident Evil 4 and Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles in previous years.

"In absolute terms the figures aren't that bad, but we're not going to lie to ourselves, they're lower than we hoped," Seux said. "After three weeks, we're at a total of 16,000 copies sold. There's clearly a problem with this style of game on the Wii; gamers have obviously moved on to other things. And yet two years ago, Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles was a great success on Wii. You can see that customers on this console have turned to much more mass-market stuff. It's disappointing."

Hardcore game sales are collapsing on the Nintendo machine, Seux said, while it takes a huge marketing budget for even mass-market games to make a big impression. "We've noticed that so-called 'gamers' games' sell fewer and fewer copies on the Nintendo console, whether it's MadWord, Dead Rising: Chop Till You Drop, The House of the Dead: Overkill... the scores weren't anything special. It's a long way from the 140,000 copies Resident Evil 4 Wii sold at the time. It's obviously a worry.

"What works massively well, and I'm relying on GfK figures here, are very, very mass-market games like Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games, New Super Mario Bros. Wii and, to a lesser extent, Just Dance and the Rabbids. These titles are very strongly supported, above all, by huge advertising campaigns."

Capcom still has one big bet on Wii left - Monster Hunter Tri, which "is, moreover, a title that could easily cross over from the gaming world to the mass market" - although once again Seux said that its success would depend very much on how much could be spent on advertising. But gamers, Seux reckoned, have all but deserted the Wii for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, and the handheld market is also failing. Capcom's traditional strength in hardcore action games for home consoles leads it squarely into the arms of Sony and Microsoft, he said.

"Two years ago, there were still gamers on the Wii, Nintendo loyalists who - a priori - have turned their backs on this console in favour of the next generation," he said. "[2009 was] the year of the emergence of the so-called next-generation machines. We feel that Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 took a firm foothold in the market. This isn't necessarily reflected in the sales figures, because the Wii still represents a major portion of sales, but the growth is on those two platforms.

"The DS is in decline for various reasons like market saturation and piracy. The PSP is dying for the same reasons. The Wii is very much a family console with relatively low attach rates. So for us at Capcom, the future is on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360."

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