The Wii has recieved mixed reviews. The system was well received after its exhibition at E3 2006. At the event, Nintendo's console won the Game Critics Awards for Best of Show and Best Hardware. In the December 2006 issue of Popular Science, the console was named a Grand Award Winner in home entertainment. Spike TV's Video Games Award cited the Wii's breakthrough technology. GameSpot chose the console as having the best hardware in its "Best and Worst 2006" awards. The system was also chosen as one of PC World magazine's 20 Most Innovative Products of the Year. The console received a Golden Joystick for Innovation of the Year 2007 at the Golden Joystick Awards. In the category of Engineering & Technology for Creation and Implementation of Video Games and Platforms, Nintendo was awarded an Emmy Award for Game Controller Innovation by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. In 2009, IGN named the Wii the 10th greatest console of all time (out of 25).
The Wii's success caught third-party developers by surprise, leading to apologies for the quality of their early games. In an interview with German news magazine Der Spiegel, Ubisoft's Yves Guillemot and Alain Corre admitted that they made a mistake in rushing out their launch titles, promising to take future projects more seriously. Take-Two Interactive, which released few games for the Nintendo GameCube, changed its stance towards Nintendo by placing a higher priority on the Wii.
At the same time, criticism of the Wii Remote and Wii hardware specifications has surfaced. Former GameSpot editor and Giantbomb.com founder Jeff Gerstmann stated that the controller's speaker produces low-quality sound, while Factor 5 President Julian Eggebrecht criticized the hardware audio as substandard for a console of its generation. UK-based developer Free Radical Design stated that the Wii hardware lacks the power necessary to run the software it scheduled for release on other seventh-generation consoles. Online connectivity of the Wii was also criticized; Matt Casamassina of IGN compared it to the "entirely unintuitive" service provided for the Nintendo DS.
Game designer and The Sims creator Will Wright shared his thoughts on the Wii in the context of the current console generation: "The only next gen system I've seen is the Wii – the PS3 and the Xbox 360 feel like better versions of the last, but pretty much the same game with incremental improvement. But the Wii feels like a major jump – not that the graphics are more powerful, but that it hits a completely different demographic."
The Wii is seen as more physically demanding than other game consoles. Some Wii players have experienced a form of tennis elbow, known as "Wiiitis". A study published in the British Medical Journal stated that Wii players use more energy than they do playing sedentary computer games. While this energy increase may be beneficial to weight management, it was not an adequate replacement for regular exercise. A case study published in the American Physical Therapy Association's journal, Physical Therapy, focused on use of the Wii for rehabilitation in a teenager with cerebral palsy. It is believed to be the first published research demonstrating physical-therapy benefits from use of the gaming system. Researchers say the system complements traditional techniques. In May 2010 the American Heart Association (AHA) endorsed the Wii to encourage sedentary people to take the first step toward fitness. The AHA heart icon covers the console and two of its more-active games, Wii Fit Plus and Wii Sports Resort.
By 2008, several years after the Wii's release, Nintendo acknowledged several limitations and challenges with the system (such as the perception that the system catered primarily to a "casual" audience and was unpopular among "core" gamers. Game designer Shigeru Miyamoto admitted that the lack of HD (high-definition) and limited network infrastructure for the Wii also contributed to the system being regarded separately from its competitors' systems, the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.
An executive for Frontline Studios stated that major publishers are wary of releasing exclusive titles for the Wii, due to the perception that third-party companies are not strongly supported by consumers. In his blog, 1UP.com editor Jeremy Parish stated that Nintendo was the biggest disappointment for him in 2007. Commenting on the lack of quality third-party support, he stated that "the Wii landscape is bleak. Worse than it was on N64. Worse than on GameCube...the resulting third-party content is overwhelmingly bargain-bin trash." The Globe and Mail and Forbes noted that the Wii had few successful third-party titles compared to its rivals (due, in part, to its weaker hardware). Third-party developers often skipped the Wii instead of making games for all three consoles simultaneously ("blockbusters like the Call of Duty franchise either never arrive on Nintendo hardware or show up in neutered form"). Forbes observed that of the most successful games of 2011 (The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Mass Effect 3, Portal 2, L.A. Noire, Battlefield 3, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3), although all were released for PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3 only Modern Warfare 3 received a Wii port; the Wii version was also the most negatively-received version of the game. The lack of third-party games may be exacerbated in the future, as Nintendo faces the "dilemma of having fallen out of sync with its rivals in the console cycle"; Microsoft and Sony would design their consoles to be more powerful than the Wii U. Strong third-party titles are seen as a key sign of a gaming console's health.
The Globe and Mail, in suggesting why Nintendo posted a record loss of $926 million for the initial six months of its 2011–2012 fiscal year, blamed the Wii's design for being "short-sighted". The Wii initially enjoyed phenomenal success because it was inexpensive (due to its being less sophisticated than its competitors) and introduced a "gaming gimmick". However, this approach meant that the Wii's hardware soon became outdated and could not keep up long-term (in contrast to more-advanced rivals such as Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, which are expected to continue doing well in 2012–2013) "as both user desires and surrounding technologies evolved" later in the generation. Furthermore, price cuts and the introduction of motion-sensor controllers for the Xbox 360 and PS3 nullified advantages once held by the Wii. The Globe suggested that there were other reasons for Nintendo's poor financial performance, including a strong yen and a tepid reception to the Nintendo 3DS handheld as mobile gaming becomes popular on smartphones and tablets (such as the iPad).
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