Iwata backs quality over consistency as Wii U falters


Nintendo’s president says gaps in Wii U release schedule were due to a conscious choice for better products

Nintendo’s Satoru Iwata has attributed the Wii U’s loss of sales momentum to the company prioritising quality over consistency in its software

In a call with investors that followed Nintendo’s recent financial results, Iwata fielded numerous questions regarding the slow performance of the Wii U and the decision to make decisive changes to Nintendo’s management structure.

Iwata conceded that the Wii U’s sales have been adversely affected by its thin release schedule, but, he said, this was a deliberate choice by Nintendo – a choice rooted in the company’s values.

“We were faced with the alternatives of taking time to refine our products or launching them without too many intervals,” he said. “After careful consideration, we selected the first option because we believe that from a mid-and-long term perspective it is more important to improve customer satisfaction with each game.

“The future of the industry depends on the number of games developers release that consumers consider to be fresh and worth paying for”

Iwata

Satoru Iwata, Nintendo

Iwata pointed to Fire Emblem: Awakening and Luigi’s Mansion 2: Dark Moon on the 3DS as examples of the sort of success that high standards on specific platforms can bring – and evidence that gamers still crave “carefully developed” experiences. The delayed Wii U games, including Pikmin 3, are merely subject to the same rigorous standards.

“I believe the future of the video game industry depends on the number of games developers release that consumers consider to be fresh and worth paying for,” Iwata said.

“We decided to take time to add the final touches to ensure that consumers fully feel that they are valuable titles. The brand of a franchise would be completely degraded without customer satisfaction. This is why we delayed the release schedule of such games [as Pikmin 3].”

When asked to identify any future bottlenecks in production – a strong possibility given the apparent lack of strong third-party enthusiasm for the Wii U – Iwata pressed the rising difficulty of creating $50 to $60 retail software that passes muster with modern consumers in terms of value. Games that once would have been successful are now judged in very different ways.

“These days it is becoming increasingly challenging to determine the minimum development resources required for customer satisfaction,” he said.

“However, the sales of popular games are much larger than in the past. Therefore, if we create more hit games, the software development business can still be very profitable. All games break even if they sell millions of copies worldwide, so we will continue to do our best to develop games which have high sales potential.”

Of course, in the digital world, it simply isn’t necessary to think in terms of $50 and $60, and Iwata pointed to evidence of Nintendo’s belated attempt to develop its online business: a quarter of Animal Crossing: New Leaf’s sales last fiscal year were digital, as were 10 per cent of sales for the recently released Tomodachi Collection.

In an encouraging development, Nintendo’s research indicates that, among people who bought a game via download, substantially more than half also made their next purchase as a download.

 

[source]

Iwata becomes CEO of Nintendo of America


Reggie Fils-Aime to report directly to global president

Iwata becomes CEO of Nintendo of America

Well it looks like Nintendo is getting a little desprate with the news of it’s Wii U console and 3DS handheld showing “disappointing” full year profits, So much in fact that Nintendo has announced that global president Satoru Iwata is taking on the additional position of Nintendo of America CEO.

Current US president and chief operating officer Reggie Fils-Aime will report directly to Mr.Iwata.

Iwata will take over from Tatsumi Kimishima, who will be taking on a new role of general manager of Nintendo Japan. Four directors of Nintendo are also due to retire by the end of June.

Nintendo won’t have a press conference at E3 2013


The company decides that the Nintendo Direct approach is better

No press conference at E3 2013 for Nintendo

In its financial results briefing, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata announced that the company will not have the traditional press conference event at this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo. Instead, the company will be hosting two closed, software-focused events for press and distributors.

“We have decided not to host a large-scale presentation targeted at everyone in the international audience where we announce new information as we did in the past,” said Iwata in a transcript of the briefing. “Instead, at the E3 show this year, we are planning to host a few smaller events that are specifically focused on our software lineup for the U.S. market. There will be one closed event for American distributors, and we will hold another closed hands-on experience event, for mainly the Western gaming media.”

“During the E3 period, we will utilize our direct communication tools, such as Nintendo Direct, to deliver information to our Japanese audience, including those who are at this financial briefing, mainly focusing on the software that we are going to launch in Japan, and we will take the same approach outside Japan for the overseas fans as well.”

Iwata explained that Nintendo found that the broad conference event was not efficient, since it wasn’t specifically tailored to a certain audience.

“As video game fans are looking for information about games, it seems that they are less interested in sales figures that investors and analysts on the other hand attach much greater importance to, and distribution partners are looking for information on how we are going to market our products in the immediate future,” said Iwata.

“Given that we now have an established method such as Nintendo Direct, we feel that we will be able to deliver our messages more appropriately and effectively by doing so individually based on the various needs of different groups of people.”

This year’s E3 is looking to be a software-focused event overall. Sony already announced the PlayStation 4 console, leaving a software slate, final hardware design, and retail price for a potential E3 reveal. Microsoft just announced that its next Xbox event will take place on May 21, weeks before E3. The company later confirmed that software for the next Xbox would be showcased at E3 itself. And now Nintendo follows suit, leaving us with what should be a different E3 2013.