I am one of those people and I’ll be happy to explain how it happened:
. I got in into the second generation of consoles a little late because I wasn’t sure which one I wanted to tie my wagon to. Once Microsoft got XboxLive up and running, I decided to go with that system. The graphics were good, the online play was great and many of the games seemed great... till I realized that most of the ones with better play all shared a common theme - first person shooter. I have nothing against them exactly but as I’ve gotten a little older, priorities for me have shifted and I no longer consider adding yet another joypad or stick and a half dozen more buttons to my controller (along with an even thicker manual for the game) to be an improvement in gaming for me. I understand that deep games need a learning curve but I don’t want to make a life commitment to Halo. These days, I’d rather spend a little bit of the time that I’m not using to “master” a complex game finding a woman to make that kind of commitment with.
I got back into Nintendo because a few coworkers would play Mario Kart on the DS at break. I remembered it from when I was really, really young back in the SNES days. I got hooked in with it and when the Wii came out, I stood in line on the first day to get it with those same co-workers. At the time, I didn’t plan to do much with it but with the promise of online play with Nintendo (yes, it took a lot longer than I expected) and shortages sure to last through that holiday season, I opted to get my console early to be in with that crowd so I’d have it when those games we’d play together online came out. In hindsight, nothing has gone according to that original plan at all.
Fast-forward nearly two years and I sometimes think about getting a 360. The recent price drop almost got me to act but then I thought, “What’s the hurry?” That one’s going away and their online media stuff where I’ll want more storage is ramping up... I may eventually decide to get one when the next price drop comes around if Microsoft still has the clear dominance over online that it does today but I’ll probably use it as more of an entertainment system than for the games.
The thing with Nintendo is that the games they make are fun (I know the “fanboys” like to say that but isn’t that why we play?). They aren’t another world to escape from life in. To the contrary, I’ve had a lot more fun playing them with friends in the room with me than I’ve had alone with them which is a first for any console I’ve owned. Instead if sitting online playing in my underwear, we have parties and play together - even now with Mario Kart on the Wii, we still play together more than online - split screen and all. The graphics aren’t great - I know, but they’re more than adequate to carry the game play I”m interested in these days.
There’s a lot of 3rd party shovel-ware out there (like there always is for the top selling console) but there are more than enough good games coming out at the pace I’m buying them.(average of about 1 a month)
In the end, I don’t want a bigger, more powerful system that hogs more electricity and more of my time. The Wii is smaller, simpler, uses less power and the vast majority of it’s games have a much lower barrier to entry than nearly all of what I’ve seen on the other two consoles (or what the Xbox originally had) and to me, that is truly “next-gen”. Superior graphics? Wasn’t that the battle last gen?.. And didn’t the least powerful of the three systems still win that one?
BTW, my current girlfriend waited in line to buy a Wii the day the balance board came out. She’s one of those new, expanded market customers we hear about. She’s now serious competition in Mario Kart and I’d much rather play that at her house in my underwear than a FPS on the 360 in my underwear at home against a trash talking 13 year old.
How much does any of that have to do with the hardware? Almost none of it. I think Nintendo got lucky with their little console while the other two were focused on an arms race and world domination with their consoles and figured out quickly how to capitalize on that luck by focusing on what the other companies seemed to forget - good for them. I don’t really care. I’m just happy I got my Wii early.