There are millions upon millions of gamers that never left the Wii.
This isn't news to most MCV readers. The disappointing sales of Wii U is testament to this. And these gamers have never bought another console. Many are playing tablets, smartphones and PCs.
It's a notion backed up by Nintendo. Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto told Edge last month: Because of the spread of smart devices, people take games for granted now. We do not have to worry about making games relevant to general people's daily lives”.
So where does that leave the big casual titles that found a lucrative home on Wii? Is it just about managing the decline?
Just Dance is one such IP having to face life after the Wii. So Ubisoft has been eyeing new platforms.
We've been looking at mobile,” says brand manager Jason Altman.There has been a decline since the old gen, and an explosion in the casual market on mobile.”
We've been looking at mobile.
There has been a decline since
the old gen, and an explosion
in the casual market on mobile.”
Jason Altman - Brand Manager, Just Dance
Just Dance Now is that mobile title, a free app that can be downloaded for iPhone or Anrdoid. It effectively turns your smartphone into a Wii Remote, and by visiting Justdancenow.com, gamers can play Just Dance using their smartphone. The firm says the game is ‘latency-free', irrespective of your connection.
And it allows for up to 20,000 gamers to play together. The site can of course be accessed via tablets, laptops and smart TVs.
The opportunity to have massive parties, lots of people dancing is something that can bring it from being a game IP to being an entertainment brand,” says Altman.We also don't have to just release a tracklist once a year. It's live so we can update it at any time. We can be much more agile and, if things go well, bring new content.”
Creating mobile versions of hit games has been something other major casual and family titles have been doing. Activision has just brought a full Skylanders game to tablets this year, while shortly Sony is releasing a new SingStar that uses a phone as the microphone.
But in many ways Just Dance goes even further. Fans will need nothing more than products that they almost certainly already own, namely a smartphone and a screen with internet access.
But won't this hurt the upcoming console game Just Dance 2015?
Just Dance Now is the greatest hits of Just Dance,” says Altman. If you're someone who wants all the features and the new track list, then console is right for you.Mobile really is for people who don't own consoles and markets where consoles aren't that big. In Brazil there are around 10m consoles, and 130m smartphones. Our audiences goes from being small to something massive.”
Just Dance 2015's new features include Community Remix. which lets gamers record themselves with the camera and share it. The community can vote for their favourites and the dev team will create playable remixed gameplay.
Yet the console sector for Just Dance does face challenges. Particularly following the decision by Microsoft to remove Kinect as an automatic pack-in with Xbox One.
But Altman is confident.
Dancing is universal,” he says. One of our core values is to be on the pulse of tech and popular culture and music. If we can have a great songs, choreography and costumes every year it keeps us alive. There's not a point in the future where we think it will fail.”