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Iwata: Nintendo Won't Abandon Buttons, Has Not Been Hurt Directly By Social, Mobile

Nintendo president Satoru Iwata used an investor briefing Q&A to clarify the company's stance on touch screen tablets and social/mobile games, also providing an update on the Wii Vitality Sensor's development.

Kyle Orland

May 2, 2011

2 Min Read

In a press Q&A accompanying a recent Nintendo investor briefing, company president Satoru Iwata said he doesn't see the company abandoning traditional control pads and buttons in its hardware, as some mobile tablet makers have. Saying that tactile buttons "are advantageous when creating highly reactive games," Iwata said he was primarily interested in using touch screens "in line with the trend created by Nintendo DS" in future hardware. Nintendo's recently confirmed successor to the Wii is widely rumored to include an interactive touchscreen on a controller that also sports traditional buttons. The Nintendo chief also used the opportunity to clarify remarks he made at March's GDC keynote about the market effect of cheap and free social and mobile games, saying he does not believe the rise of such games has led directly to recent sales declines for Nintendo. "As I emphasize again and again, if there was a causal relationship, there would be a significant difference between Nintendo DS users who play social games and Nintendo DS users who do not play social games," Iwata said, adding that the company's research shows this is not the case. "I cannot say that no one said, 'I recently stopped playing Nintendo DS because I am now playing games on my smartphone,' but statistically, there was no significant difference," he said. Iwata also clarified that he did not intend for his remarks to imply that large digital game marketplaces would necessarily be dominated solely by low-quality games, or that all traditional games were high quality. "The only message that I had hoped to convey at GDC was, since my keynote speech was dedicated to the game developers, that, without carefully trying to preserve the value of the games we develop, the digital distribution revolution could very easily depreciate their value, which might make all of us have a hard time," he said. In the Q&A, Iwata also addressed a question on the Wii Vitality Sensor, a bio-feedback controller addition which was announced at E3 2009 and rarely mentioned since. Iwata chalked up the device's slow development to "large individual differences in the biological information of humans," saying the company is "aiming for a level of quality in which 99 percent of consumers feel comfortable" before releasing the product to market.

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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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