Speaking to Gamesindustry.biz, Brian Dryer of Frontline Studios states that the lack of strong third-party support for Nintendo consoles can be attributed to the popularity of Nintendo's own titles. In essence, publishers are wary of competing against Nintendo games and often perceive first-party titles to be much more successful than any of their offerings. While there seems to be some truth to that -- after all, you buy a Nintendo console to play Nintendo games -- the Wii's unique controller seems to be the real stumbling block.
As Dreyer says, many publishers are adopting a "wait-and-see attitude," eyeing the console's success and formulating ways of incorporating the motion sensitive controller into their games. The Wii is often viewed as the console that is the cheapest to develop for, but an invisible cost comes in the form of platform pseudo-exclusivity. A mini-game fest like Rayman: Raving Rabbids proves to be great fun on the Wii, but the Playstation 2 version, for instance, is essentially worthless. When it's the other way around, awkward controls might get stapled on to justify a Wii version. Last we checked, Ubisoft was running amok with a gas-powered staple gun.
Developing for the Wii may be a cheap(er) endeavor, but it's difficult to estimate the cost of missing out on a PS3 and Xbox 360 release. The Wii's unique interface may have bumped it out of the new-gen multiplatform category, but Dryer insists that it's the main reason his studio is working with Digital Amigos and Nibris on the upcoming Sadness. "Gamers are yawning at these supposedly great-looking games on other systems," he says. "With the Wii, we're back to the fundamentals, the nuts and bolts of any videogames experience, which simply means it has to be fun."
Right, because having HD graphics completely obviates the need to be fun.