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Harrison Talks Wii

by Steven Rodriguez - May 29, 2007, 2:47 pm EDT
Total comments: 11 Source: Wired Game|Life

Nintendo thinks Wii "could get over 50%" of the North American console market.

As part of the Nintendo Media Summit festivities, Wired's Chris Kohler talked with George Harrison, NOA's veep of marketing and corporate communications. If you're inclined to see everything the two chatted about, you can do so here. If you're lazy (and we bet you are!) you can simply check out some of the highlights below.

Harrison was asked about where he sees the Wii in five years. After talking about how the PS2 still seems to be selling well despite the presence of the PlayStation 3 and how Nintendo expects the Wii's lifecycle to last more than five years, here's what he said:

"We also have a belief that we can be, of this lifecycle, 40-45% of the hardware that's being sold. And that would be a phenomenal increase for us over the GameCube era. But on the other hand, we could get over 50%. And a lot of that depends on what our competitors do. If they only focus on the Grand Theft Autos and the Halos and things of that nature, they're focusing on a very tiny part of the market. The overall market is growing so dramatically that they're going to miss out on the opportunities that we're seeing in the expanded audience."

That's a pretty lofty goal, even with the current success of the Wii. Much of that success is due to free pack-in Wii game, Wii Sports. Harrison said that the game will continued to be included with North American Wii systems through at least this holiday period, because for Nintendo "it's kind of the Trojan horse" that gets people to use other parts of the console, like the Wii Channels or other Wii games.

The situation with Wii system shortages was also addressed. Much like Nintendo has been saying all along, it is still amazed by the demand and is trying to keep up with it as much as possible. There's also the problem of "being successful not just in one territory but in every territory," so Nintendo has been trying to keep things balanced across the three major markets and other regions.

Finally, Harrison touched base on third parties seeing the light with Wii and DS development. Much how like third parties have been porting over games to Wii without much thought, Harrison said that a lot of developers "were kind of just bringing their Game Boy games and mentality" to the DS development front. It took games like Nintendogs and Brain Age for everyone to realize that there other opportunities out there. Now that the Wii is showing similar success, Harrison says, developers are "actually trying to do original things. And that's very important to us, because we needed the Wii to stand apart based on the originality of the games, not just the fact that we have a similar game available on the competitors' system."


ShyGuyMay 29, 2007

I'd be happy with Nintendo having 50% of the console market. Any more than 70% and I would be afraid of the bad old days of the NES. Locking publishers into their exclusive contracts, trying to shutdown the rental market, etc.

Ian SaneMay 29, 2007

"I'd be happy with Nintendo having 50% of the console market. Any more than 70% and I would be afraid of the bad old days of the NES. Locking publishers into their exclusive contracts, trying to shutdown the rental market, etc."

I don't want them to get cocky. Cockiness leads to N64s and PS3s. They still need to feel threatened so I would want them to have around 40% of the market. I want Sony or MS to be a strong competitor. I don't think it's a coincedence that the best post-crash console generation was the only one with serious neck-and-neck competition. We don't really benefit from having one console dominate.

Though I honestly think the Wii will dominate... or suddenly crash and burn almost overnight. Due to the huge difference between the Wii and everything else I don't see any middle ground. It's either the real deal or a fad.

WuTangTurtleMay 29, 2007

i wanna see Sony and Microsoft squabble for that last 50% of the market......Sony has been so cocky, it's about time someone pulled the damn rug under their feet. Always thought it would have been Microsoft though....

MarioAllStarMay 29, 2007

Harrison's comment about the Wii Sports pack-in made me think: will Nintendo ever stop bundling Wii Sports? At this point, the game is an integral part of the initial Wii experience. For many people, it is the first Wii game that they played--and the one that convinced them to purchase the system. There are arguably better overall games for Wii, but none that so clearly represent Nintendo's direction this generation, nor any that appeal so much to non-gamers.

Could any other game replace that?

King of TwitchMay 29, 2007

Looking at the total sales of the last generation, 50% = around 75 million. Did the GBA+SP even sell that much? Still, I like his optimistic tone much better.

I think they could make a Wii Sports 2 with another 5 games, toss in the original 5, add some kind of online scoreboard, and sell like mad.

This is pretty ambitious, and would be an amazing win for the Big N. 35 million US, 20 mil each in Japan (PS2's install base there) and 20 mil in Europe... actually... that seems sorta... conservative... if we assume that the market is EXPANDING.

Part of me looks at the trends of today's sales figures and thinks that these aren't at all ambitious enough, especially when the Wii is tracking at PS2 numbers, the PS3 at GC numbers, and XBox360 at XBox numbers... why not project all the way to 100 million in the 7 years or so the PS2 has had?

Then another part of me holds me back, because I'm scared of this sudden success.

that Baby guyMay 29, 2007

I think Nintendo is forecasting conservatively. They know it's a tricky business, and that image goes a long way, but can shift almost right away. Besides, it's always better to move your forecasts up instead of down.

CericMay 29, 2007

Using Kairon's numbers I really think their is a really huge untapped market in Europe considering its a good size larger then Japan but on the flipside it is much more diverse then US or Japan.

I do enjoy these interviews though.

couchmonkeyMay 30, 2007

I like MarioAllStar's point. I really think at this point WiiSports is becoming the "Super Mario Bros." of the Wii. WiiSports 2 may be better, but the first one will always be iconic. I think we could see some alternative bundles - a WiiMusic bundle? But I agree that WiiSports will likely be the main bundle forever. For a second I was going to suggest a no-game bundle, but come to think of it, Nintendo wouldn't make as much profit that way...unless it's only like $5-$10 cheaper.

As for Nintendo keeping some competition, I think Ian's about right - I would like to see some real competition, but Wii is likely to either be a huge success or a huge failure. Right now huge success looks more likely with each passing week.

planetidiotMay 30, 2007

I hate to be the one to say it, but getting Grand Theft Auto would help Nintendo get more market share. Not having it certainly hurt them last round and it was a system selling game on the PS2. A good conversion with better aiming and driving controls would sell like mad.

couchmonkeyMay 30, 2007

GTA would definitely be a bonus, but I don't think it's needed. That said, Rockstar is already doing Manhunt 2 on the system, so if that sells you have to figure a GTA conversion is next.

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