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Wii

Iwata, Miyamoto Talk Nintendo

by Steven Rodriguez - June 22, 2006, 7:52 pm PDT
Total comments: 11 Source: NCL Management Briefing

The Nintendo brass is questioned on Wii, DS, the gaming industry and a whole lot more in a Q&A session with investors.

Earlier this month, Nintendo Co. Ltd. (that's Nintendo Japan) held a management briefing for investors to lay down the company's plans for the the future. A video of the presentation is available, but we've already reported on the intersting stuff from that part of the meeting.

Recently, Nintendo translated the post-meeting Q&A session and made it available to the public. There are some interesting comments and nuggets of information contained within, but it's a lengthy read. Luckily, PGC has read it for you; here are some of the choice bits of info and quotes from the Q&A.

- Nintendo is looking to offer Wii development kits to developers "at an inexpensive price, say, at little more than 200,000 yen." That translates to around $1,800.

- Nintendo President Satoru Iwata on publishers releasing games at a high price and then lowering it soon after: "...if the suggested retail price of any and all software is marked down in 6 months or 9 months, the customers will learn the cycle and wait for the discounting, which will simply aggravate the decreasing sales of new software."

- Nintendo has previously said the Wii will be a failure if it can't outsell the GameCube. Iwata goes one step beyond that: "...we shouldn't continue this business if our only target is to outsell GameCube. Naturally, we are making efforts so that Wii will show a far greater result than GameCube."

- Mr. Iwata again, this time on the company's E3 showing: "When the brasses at major publishers visited the Nintendo booth, they used to see games by crossing their arms at the tail end of the crowds. This year, the majority of these top executives were the first people to hold and swing the Wii Remote to play. I was really impressed."

- Worldwide, Nintendo is aiming to ship out 6 million Wii hardware and 17 million Wii games by the end of their fiscal year in April.

- Nintendo wants more simple games in the vein of WiiSports to be available at or shortly after launch. Also, the firm is considering offering the games as pack-ins or even downloadable over the Virtual Console service.

- Shigeru Miyamoto was asked about the Wii's apparent lack of processing power compared to the competition. His response? "What we are trying to do is to create brand new freestyle entertainment that can be enjoyed by all the family members as well as by a single player. In making such entertainment, I have never felt stress about the power of Wii. Honestly, I have not been able to use 100% of GameCube's power yet, so I am very happy with Wii's far superior functionality."

The Q&A has a few more interesting comments in there, with topics covering the DS Lite and a possible Microsoft handheld. If what we've covered here isn't enough to satisfy your curiosity, then hit the link to the Q&A at the top of the page and read if for yourself.

Talkback

ruby_onixJune 22, 2006

Quote

Originally posted by: Iwata
Let me now talk about your question on whether or not we will sell Wii hardware below cost. Some take it for granted nowadays that video game hardware is sold below cost, at least initially, but I don't think it should be regarded as common sense. Of course, if manufacturing costs are expected to be reduced so small red ink in the beginning will be soon offset as a whole hardware-software business, it is one idea. However, some people somehow think that hardware always loses money. Nintendo is taking some distance away from that approach.

The Wii is too small for facial hair to be present. Iwata has no use for razor blades.

Quote

We are also intending to provide them with a dev kit at an inexpensive price, say, at little more than 200,000 yen.

AKA: The price of a PS3, it's replacement (after a few Disc Read Errors), and a few games. Or if you really must have those, it's the price of the TV Sony wants you to buy as a PS3 accessory.

Quote

So, what I really meant was, we should be in a position to choose the most appropriate price for each software depending on its mission, volume or development costs. Once the suggested retail price is announced, we should stick to it.

Iwata doesn't care about the otherwise-unreachable people who sometimes bite at games in the clearance bin, so long as the people he has under his thumb can never escape his grip. Some King of Non-Gamers.

Quote

Originally posted by: Miyamoto
Yes, I've been developing games "slowly" (laugh), thank you very much. When we started working on Nintendo DS, it was going to be the third important product for Nintendo in addition to the existing two home console and portable platforms, so I felt that we would have issues with our ability to produce a sufficient amount of software for all three platforms. The addition of Wii makes it four that we need to make software for.

Four?

Quote

Originally posted by: Iwata
I am one of the people who have decided this final product name. Of course, I am not the only person to make this decision, but I have never thought that it was a mistake to name it, "Wii." I understand that a great many people have already accepted this product name. When someone has some hesitation today, we'd like to make efforts so that they will come to like this name in the end.

#@&*%!@^$ Iwata!

Quote

If we would take different strategies in each territory, we could not go ahead with the unified path and development resources would be dispersed. So, we are globally sharing one strategy. "Expanding the gaming population" is our globally common strategy. Even though our attitude can be taken as heretical in today's game industry, doing something different from the others means that we have the chance to offer commodities which will not have any immediate competitions, so we would like to take this strategy globally. NOA is the organization which has a splendid track record in marketing existing types of video games.

Reggie has been working for Nintendo for three years. We wanted him to be the face of NOA who speaks English as mother tongue. We also wanted him to dispatch and explain Nintendo's global strategy to people who are working at NOA. We believe that the appointment of Reggie as NOA president will accelerate the understanding of Nintendo's strategy inside the Nintendo group.

Iwata seems to have a pretty low opinion of NOA. So much for President Reggie. He's Iwata's (not so) new puppet.

Quote

The sales of Micro did not meet our expectations. Micro showed different sales in and outside Japan. In Japan, initial sales of Micro were rather good and it did become a rather hot topic. So, there was the possibility for this product to grow in Japan. However, toward the end of 2005, Nintendo had to focus almost all of our energies on the marketing of DS, which must have deprived the Micro of its momentum. This is why Micro couldn't meet our expectations in Japan. Overseas, we were unable to dispatch the real attractive nature of this product in the first place.

What "attractive nature"? The GBA SP beats it in almost every way (once they switched to backlighting). The GBA is selling stronger in America than in Japan. That should've been their opening right there. But it wasn't the next GBA. It was just a Japanese fashion accessory. And whose bright idea was it to remove the word "Advance" from it's name?

Quote

Originally posted by: Miyamoto
I have made demo software for E3 and I have been making Wii titles now, but I have never felt that Wii needs more processing power.

You liked the GBA's sound chip. And carts in the N64.


I think I'm done.

wanderingJune 22, 2006

Quote

Iwata doesn't care about the otherwise-unreachable people who sometimes bite at games in the clearance bin, so long as the people he has under his thumb can never escape his grip. Some King of Non-Gamers.

Brain Age. $20.

The current game pricing scheme is insane. Charge people $60 at first to recoup costs, drop it down to $10 within a year. Iwata wants to charge what the games are worth from the very beginning ($20-$50, depending on the game), and just leave it at that. I don't see the problem with this at all.

WuTangTurtleJune 22, 2006

I always get pissed off when i get suckered into buying a game at release or slightly after release only to find that it drops down to like $19.99. For example I think RE4 dropped to $19.99 extremely fast, and yet other games that i would wish will drop in price soon won't like Mario Strikers or Chibi Robo.

Bill AurionJune 23, 2006

"I think I'm done."

Being annoyingly nitpicky? I doubt it...

RennyJune 23, 2006

If they want more stable games prices, they need to drop the industry 'standard' of $50, even for blockbusters. It could be done if Nintendo makes good on their promise of expanding the market.

Ian SaneJune 23, 2006

I don't have a problem with not dropping the price so soon. That's quite annoying and it rips people off. But prices should lower eventually. I don't want to pay $50 for a game several years after it was released. One thing that Sony clearly has Nintendo beat at is the Greatest Hits program. Nintendo's Player's Choice program is all over the place with some games like SSBM selling at $30 instead of $20 like, you know, the competition which smoked Nintendo's ass last gen.

"The addition of Wii makes it four that we need to make software for."

No it makes two. Quit this third pillar nonsense. All it has done is screw up DS sales in North America. They would be creaming the PSP here if they didn't have their own product as competition. You figure with the GB Micro flopping (one of the only times I'm happy to see a Nintendo product bomb) Nintendo would catch on.

KDR_11kJune 23, 2006

The current game pricing scheme is insane. Charge people $60 at first to recoup costs, drop it down to $10 within a year. Iwata wants to charge what the games are worth from the very beginning ($20-$50, depending on the game), and just leave it at that. I don't see the problem with this at all.

He should look over to NoE, they're already doing that: Sell for 60€ at first and wait until people stop buying at the price, then forget about the game and let retailers sit on the unsold copies untill they decide to cut their losses by selling the games at 15€ (and you wonder why they are reluctant to stock Gamecube games?). But honestly, I've never seen a console game drop to 10€ within a year, if they go that low they've been released for 30€ two years ago and got 0/10 ratings from the press. PC games drop that fast but with console games they usually remain at the same price until they disappear from shelves. I'm still seeing a retailer keeping three copies of Herdy Gerdy for 60€ each. The only pricedrops I've seen for DS games were for games noone wanted, the rest remained at 40€ until the end as well.

Vrgin X1June 23, 2006

I rather have a system where the best games for each console are shown prominently in stores, while all the crap is in a bargain bin selling at 1/5 the normal price.

Still, I'm sick of going into big box stores, and seeing maybe 5-10 games I've bought on GCN, GBA, and DS over a two year period and shitloads of 'kid/dy'-licenced shovelware, only because 'that's what the average Nintendo system owner wants'.face-icon-small-mad.gif

31 FlavasJune 23, 2006

Quote

Originally posted by: Ian Sane

"The addition of Wii makes it four that we need to make software for."

No it makes two. Quit this third pillar nonsense. All it has done is screw up DS sales in North America. They would be creaming the PSP here if they didn't have their own product as competition. You figure with the GB Micro flopping (one of the only times I'm happy to see a Nintendo product bomb) Nintendo would catch on.
Oh comon Ian, Pokemon is probably still their top selling GBA game here in America. Which would then make it no wonder why GBA hardware is still selling so well. If you want to trade Pokemon you have to have a GBA. You can't trade Pokemon with a DS.

So when Nintendo releases Diamond/Perl for the DS which lets you import your GBA Pokemon... Geez... What customers are you going to have waiting tooth and nail.... No, you'd rather trade them in for some numbers. You really shouldn't want to be so hostile towords your potental customers.

The DS does offer a great value more and can play GBA games too, but the GBA SP is also $50 cheaper. Which to a lot of kids and parents is a large difference in price, regardless of the functionality gained. I mean, right of the bat it gets you system and a game (or 2).

KDR_11kJune 23, 2006

So when Nintendo releases Diamond/Perl for the DS

I can assure you that quite a few geeks would buy a DS if it offered Perl.

31 FlavasJune 23, 2006

ha, yea. I bet they would.

Perl / Pearl

awesome

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