The extended Q&A session with President of Nintendo Satoru Iwatata, from the recent financial briefing, has been officially translated, and with it comes a selection of new details concerning the Wii U and what we should expect at E3.
Speaking of E3, Nintendo has also confirmed their presentation time slot: Nintendo will be presenting, live from E3, on June 5th at 9 AM PST (one month from today!).
First of all, Nintendo hopes to achieve a better balance between casual gamers and hard-core gamers with the 3DS and Wii U, something they admit they were not successful with in regards to the Wii. With their new hardware they would like to promote both gaming experiences:
For example, the Wii was able to reach a large number of new consumers who had never played games before by bringing hands-on experiences with its “Wii Sports” and “Wii Fit.” However, we could not adequately create the situation that such new consumers played games frequently or for long, consistent periods. As a result, we could not sustain a good level of profit. Moreover, regrettably, what we prioritized in order to reach out to the new audience was a bit too far from what we prioritized for those who play games as their hobby. Consequently, we presume some people felt that the Wii was not a game system for them or they were not willing to play with the Wii even though some compelling games had been released. In comparison with what we did with the Nintendo DS and the Wii, with respect to your view this time that the introduction of the software that contributes to expanding the user base for the Nintendo 3DS platform is delayed, we are doing along the lines of what we intended to do to a certain extent. Once consumers have a notion that “this system is not for us,” we have learned that it is extremely difficult to change their perceptions later. Therefore, in promoting the Nintendo 3DS and the Wii U, we have announced that we would like “width” and “depth” to coexist. With the Nintendo DS and the Wii, the approach of “width” was well accepted by many people; however, what we did in terms of “depth” was not satisfactory for some consumers. This time, we would like consumers to be satisfied in both aspects. In order to do so, we started to work on the “depth” aspect first, and the current and existing software you can see for the Nintendo 3DS is based on that idea. In the future, the approach will evolve. By exploring the development both from width and depth standpoints, it is our intention to satisfy a wider audience with one gaming platform. Our approach for the Wii U is basically the same. By doing so continuously, we are expecting that the number of game users per household will increase and as the gaming population increases, we believe we can create a sustainable video game market. We would like to materialize what I have said for both the Nintendo 3DS and the Wii U in the future.
In addition to achieving this with their first-party software, Nintendo hopes to offer a wider range of selection through third-party titles. There is a big concern that third-party developers will lose interest with Nintendo’s newest hardware, like they did with the Wii. Iwata responded to these concerns by stating that third-parties are preparing to show software for both the 3DS and Wii U at E3:
As for your opinion that the software publishers are devoting comparatively less software development resources to the so-called consumer games than before, I share that idea with you. Because Nintendo has been devoting all of its resources to the software creations of the so-called consumer game systems, and as we have even expanded the software development efforts in that arena more than before, our ability has increased in comparison to that of five years ago. When we take into consideration these changes, it may be true that software publishers are devoting relatively fewer internal resources to the development of consumer games than before. Having said that, however, as a matter of course, not all the internal developers (of the publishers) have lost their passion to create consumer game software. It is imperative for Nintendo that our new hardware offers new proposals and potentially new play experiences so that developers will be interested in this hardware and be motivated to make attractive software. At the E3 show this June, you will be able to experience not only Nintendo’s Wii U software but also the titles being prepared by the third-party publishers. As a result, I think you will be able to notice that a number of developers are creating software (for the Wii U) even today. As for the Nintendo 3DS, there may appear to be fewer commitments from the U.S. and the European software publishers than those of their Japanese counterparts. This is due to the different timing (between Japan and overseas) when they noticed that the Nintendo 3DS would surely expand widely into their markets and, thus, the different timing when they started the actual development of the Nintendo 3DS software. You will also notice a change in this situation when a richer Nintendo 3DS software lineup in the overseas markets is announced around the time of the E3 show. In Japan, we have this solid feeling that the Japanese publishers will continuously support the Nintendo 3DS. Accordingly, I have no pessimistic view on the Nintendo 3DS software lineup.
Iwata further reassured critics that both the 3DS and Wii U have been designed to be more than just improved versions of their predecessors, but truly revolutionary systems that will be capable of doing what was previously impossible:
When it comes to the question of what is going to be revolutionary about each title, on the contrary, it is always hard for our consumers to understand until the time we can finally provide them with the actual and concrete proposals. We have designed and developed the Nintendo 3DS and the Wii U so that each of them is able to realize what has been impossible with the existing systems, and we believe that these systems will be able to offer consumers unprecedented experiences, in addition to providing them with improvements from the Nintendo DS and the Wii.
Please understand that Nintendo cannot elaborate on what we are working on until the time we are ready to make the official announcement because doing so would negatively affect the real impact of our products when they are released into the market. In the end, we have to prove ourselves with results, namely, we have to make it so that you will see the results and agree in the future that the Nintendo 3DS is not only an improved version of the Nintendo DS but also is a brand new offer from the company. Having said that, however, we have not designed them (the Nintendo 3DS and the Wii U) to be mere improved versions of their predecessors. We have designed them so that they can realize what has been impossible
Source: Nintendo of Japan