What We Talk About When We Talk About Wii

Wiistore OK, mostly this is an excuse to be the first to write this headline (and, as of the morning of Jan. 31, according to Google, I am). But I have been impressed with the growing, and lasting, popularity of Nintendo's Wii. As the New York Times notes today, the Wii appears to be outstripping the Playstation3 in terms of sales and buzz, a contest the Nintendo machine wasn't supposed to be in. The big question: Is the Wii taking Playstation's users, or is it expanding the market to include a whole new class of gamer?

My guess is that Wii is bringing new people to the market: The people who used to play video games, but dropped out around the time of Super Mario 3 (this, actually, pretty much includes me; I played SM3 all the time, but balked at Mortal Kombat, and Doom was pretty much a disaster—I could never stay alive for more than a few minutes).

N’Gai Crol, Newsweek’s very smart tech/games columnist, has been following the Wii story with several good pieces, both for the print edition and on his Level Up gaming blog; some good reading on the Wii there. But the best indication of the Wii’s buzz, and one that would have kept me up at night if I were a Sony exec, is that it was the McGuffin of a two-part South Park episode:

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