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Iwata Addresses Wii U Questions, Hints At Online Service

At an extensive analyst Q&A during last week's E3 event, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata addressed concerns ranging from attracting core gamers to the Wii U to the system's online capabilities.

Kyle Orland, Blogger

June 15, 2011

6 Min Read

At an extensive analyst Q&A during last week's E3 event, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata addressed concerns ranging from attracting core gamers to the Wii U to the system's online capabilities. Iwata used the question and answer session to reiterate and strengthen many points from the Wii U's unveiling last Tuesday, including the company's desire for more support from third-party developers on the Wii U. While the wide-ranging briefing focused on Nintendo's newly announced system, it also touched on the slow sales of the recently launched 3DS and slowing sales for current Wii hardware. Here are some key takeaways from a transcript of Iwata's remarks provided by Nintendo. On Wii U's Online Capabilities "What I have come to feel lately is that the idea of saying, 'we are going to create this style of online structure and that we would like you, the developers, to fit into the online structure that we are creating' is perhaps already out-of-date. I think that Nintendo's past console business has often included this idea of a set and fixed online structure. So, I think that, going forward, the question is really to what degree Nintendo can create a more flexible system for its consoles." "And, what we found at this point is that, as we discuss the online structure with different publishers, the things that the different publishers want to do are in fact seemingly rather different. Our current direction is how we can take the desires of the third parties and create a system that's flexible enough to enable them to do the types of things that they might want to do." On Attracting Both Casual And Core Players To The Wii U "We believe novice players, who started playing games as casual players (since there is no one who is inherently a core gamer), come to have a budding interest in games and spend a greater amount of time with gameplay so that they mature into core gamers. What we have tried to do with the Wii U console is to create an environment where we can break down the barrier that exists between those two groups and provide, on a single console, an experience that will satisfy both types of users. Through that process we continue to expand the gaming population." On Transitioning The Market From Wii To Wii U "Because the majority of the people who will purchase the Wii U system initially already own the Wii system, I don't think that the information about the Wii U system launch taking place next year will affect the sales of the Wii system. Of course, the ideal scenario for Nintendo would be that if people are considering purchasing another HD video game console, then knowing that they will have opportunity to purchase Wii U when it is released next year, they perhaps might delay their purchase of a console." On Attracting Third Party Titles To The System "Within the current environment, there are a number of the companies that are spending a significant amount to create these first-person shooters but, with the graphics capabilities of the Wii hardware, we have not been able to get them to create Wii versions of key franchises, and they have developed few games of that genre with Wii as the primary gaming console." "So, some of the hardware limitations that have been a hurdle for those developers to create their games on our console, are going to melt away when we move to Wii U because it is an HD system." On How Nintendo Will Cooperate With Third Party Developers "There are some [situations] where we can offer [third-party developers] support or where we can divide up some responsibilities and cooperate in that sense. There is also the ability to cooperate from the marketing standpoint." On Relative Sales Expectations For Wii U "Of course, I understand that it will not be easy for the new console to surpass Wii in sales. But we do believe that this is a challenge that we can take head-on, and if we didn't believe that, then we wouldn't be proposing this style of new system." On Deciding Not To Include DVD Playback Capabilities In The Wii U "Wii U does not have DVD or Blu-ray playback capabilities. The reason for that is that we feel that enough people already have devices that are capable of playing DVDs and Blu-ray, such that it didn't warrant the cost involved to build that functionality into the Wii U console because of the patents related to those technologies." On Connecting To Outside Social Networks "After examining the penetration and adoption rate of social networking services like Facebook, etc., we've come to the conclusion that we are no longer in a period where we cannot have any connection at all with social networking services." "Rather, I think we've come to an era where it's important to consider how the social graph of the social networking services can work in conjunction with something like a video game platform." On Turning Around The Slow Initial Sales For The 3DS "What we have analyzed up to this point is that the initial move by the early adopters has not translated into broader movement by the broader market in the ways that we had expected." "The current situation resulted from the fact that the delay of developing Nintendo 3DS software and launching online services, like Nintendo eShop, 3D video services and so forth, occurred simultaneously, so we could not meet people's high expectations that they had before its launch, and we did not see momentum after the launch." "I think that we'll be able to show you that as Nintendo eShop and 3D video services come online, and a number of key software titles become available, we'll be able to regain momentum for this hardware." On Competition From Mobile And Social Games "Personally, I don't feel that there is competition or threat from mobile games for our video game business from the sense that, even before mobile games appeared, it's always been the nature of our job to continue to offer new experiences that players can't have on other devices, and that, as long as we can continue to do that, the consumer will want to play our games, but what we are sensitive to is the notion of the sense of value and what consumers are willing to pay for games." On The Possibility Of Using Two Touchscreen Wii U Controllers At Once "Regardless of the technical question as to whether or not we could do that (use two of the new controllers), for the time being, we will focus on what we can do with a single new controller with the system." "In the future, we may look at what other opportunities there are for gameplay and, how having two of those controllers might create fun or interesting new styles of play, but of course in doing that, it would require a consumer to purchase an additional controller. Therefore, we would need to carefully consider how we could create such an experience and, potentially, how we could ensure that there would be enough value within that experience for the consumer to accept that cost and make that purchase."

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About the Author(s)

Kyle Orland


Kyle Orland is a games journalist. His work blog is located at http://kyleorland.blogsome.com/

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