Nintendo’s new Wii console has the gaming community buzzing in anticipation of its release, but for many people the issue of third-party support remains an ongoing concern. Will there be a broad spectrum of support from other companies for the platform, especially given how different it is from the other consoles? Those worries should be lessened somewhat after an announcement today that Disney is founding a game studio specifically focused on developing games for the Wii platform.
The announcement came from Disney’s Buena Vista Game unit, responsible for titles such as Cars, based on the popular Pixar movie. The new studio will be called Fall Line Studio, and will be based in Salt Lake City.
Disney CEO Robert Iger said last September that the company can earn more by developing its own games rather than licensing characters and content to other developers. The company wants to make 80 percent of its games internally, and have 80 percent of these titles based on Disney movies, TV shows, or other content. The company has been buying out other game development studios, such as Avalanche Studios and Propaganda Games, as well as starting its own game companies.
So why pay special effort to support the Wii? The new head of Fall Line Studio, Scott Novis, explained that younger children often find PlayStation and Xbox games technically challenging, with a multitude of buttons to master. The Wii’s simpler control scheme and lower price could make it a more appealing platform for Disney games. “It seems like with our brand, the Nintendo platform is a really good place to put our development effort and focus,” Novis said.
Will other companies follow Disney’s lead and create special teams to develop Wii games? Instead of merely porting titles from other systems, it’s possible that the Wii may end up having more unique styles of games written for it. Rather than simply taking existing games and adding support for the motion controller, companies may approach the platform like the handheld Nintendo DS, which has done well with “quirky” types of games like Brain Age and Nintendogs.