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Nintendo two years away from redefining video game platform - Iwata

Nintendo two years away from redefining video game platform - Iwata

Tue 13 May 2014 4:07pm GMT / 12:07pm EDT / 9:07am PDT

Company expecting Quality of Life initiative to launch next year, Wii U's best days still ahead of it

With the Wii U posting year-over-year declines in unit sales for its first full year on shelves, Nintendo investors had a lot of questions about new hardware in their post-earnings Q&A with company president Satoru Iwata. In an English translation of the event newly released by Nintendo, Iwata addressed both the company's nebulously defined Quality of Life initiative, as well as its eventual successor to the Wii U.

When asked about the company's priorities in the mid-term, Iwata mentioned the new Quality of Life platform, saying he would be ready to talk about it more specifically this year, with the actual deployment of the idea happening sometime in the company's next fiscal year, which runs from April of 2015 through March of 2016. Iwata also teased another new rollout from the company slightly further out on the calendar.

"[T]he idea I mentioned about redefining the definition of video game platforms will also require approximately two years," Iwata said. "This is how we would like to talk more about our mid-term measures and lead them to actual results. However, we will not be able to create a good environment for the company unless projects are undertaken simultaneously, so this is the kind of timeframe that we have in mind."

Iwata also sought to alleviate concerns about the Wii U's eventual successor, saying Nintendo already had a rough idea of where it would be going with the system. However, it's in no rush to get there because it still needs to do right by existing Wii U owners.

"I can certainly assure you that we are not at a dead end of any kind in which we are out of ideas for developing new hardware," Iwata said. "I of course believe that launching new hardware will not produce good results unless we first make sure that those who have already purchased our platforms are satisfied. We will continue to work hard to ensure that consumers who already own our platforms are satisfied, and make sure that people will continue to see great value in our software, but I would like to say that we are preparing for our next hardware system, and in fact, we already have a clear idea to some extent about the direction our next hardware is going to take."

That isn't to say Nintendo has given up on the Wii U and is just trying to hit some minimum threshold of satisfaction, either. When asked about Nintendo's Wii U sales forecast for the coming year, a modest 3.6 million systems, Iwata said that isn't expected to represent peak sales, and there is still hope for the system to far surpass that number.

"The fate of a video game system is often influenced greatly by the introduction of a single title," Iwata said. "As many of you probably remember, before the release of the Pokémon game, Game Boy had been showing slow growth, and many people wondered whether it was the end of Game Boy. But the Pokémon game singlehandedly changed the landscape of the system, which then started to show the strongest sales in the lifecycle of the system."


Popular Comment
I do hope Nintendo can improve, I think the Wii U is highly underrated, I just don't think it was marketed in the bests ways, but the upcoming software is great, I am very much looking forward to; Bayonetta 2, X, Super Smash Bros Wii U and Mario Kart 8. But the lack of 3rd party releases is hurting the system, they need 3rd Party exclusives that are optimised for the console or to produce first party titles as a faster rate, which is hard to do, understandably.

I mean look at the 3DS it was selling at a snails pace when it launched, and I agree a single title and change the whole console in terms of sales, when Super Mario 3d Land and Mario Kart 7 released, THATS when the 3DS jumped in sales, and now it outsells every piece of hardware each week.

Is Mario Kart 8 the killer app? Potentially, I would say Smash Bros, but its not out to winter, also Bayonetta and X need to come out in 2014, or the line up for the console is pretty bare. Nintendo Announce more games for Wii U at E3!

Posted:5 months ago


Keldon Alleyne Handheld Developer, Avasopht Ltd

448 419 0.9
I admire the fact that they are honouring existing customers but I would like to see the same level of newness that the N64 brought. I'd like to see new IP, perhaps through a Rare type venture and a return to greater difficulty in their core franchises.

Essentially they need to produce games that make owners of their consoles feel privileged. Without doing so they fail to be the legendary Nintendo of yesteryear.

Posted:5 months ago


Francisco Javier QA Manager, Zed Group

28 21 0.8
The problem of WiiU is simple as that. Games. They got some of the best games, but the other consoles got more of them and also the most popular (Minecraft should have been day 1 on WiiU...).

They need to put more and new games to put the console on the map, but it seems that they can't handled to put games on but WiiU and 3DS all alone.

Posted:5 months ago


Art C. Jones Writer / Blogger

60 91 1.5
Does the Wonderful 101 count?
The hardest part about new IP is that unless it is a shooter, it is VERY hard to get a foothold on the consoles.
...and calling a new shooter a new IP is a bit of a misnomer anyway.
I prefer how Nintendo does things, constantly putting new ideas in old games. The Mario Galaxy games were great examples of this as was the latest Zelda on 3DS (pure genious!).

Wonderful 101 was a new IP, it was also unique in game play...and overall it's just a hard sale for most people.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Art C. Jones on 14th May 2014 7:51pm

Posted:5 months ago


David Serrano Freelancer

300 272 0.9
[T]he idea I mentioned about redefining the definition of video game platforms will also require approximately two years...

Reading Iwata's comments over the past few years has been like watching somebody play Hunt the Thimble (a.k.a. you're getter hotter, you're getting colder). He's moving in the right direction, but keeps wandering off on tangents.

Here's a clue Mr. Iwata: The speed, power, price and or functionality of game platforms equals ice cold. The mass market play illiteracy of game developers and publishers equals red hot.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by David Serrano on 14th May 2014 8:23pm

Posted:5 months ago


Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,193 1,170 0.5
(facepalm into suplex through a plate glass window).

Sooo... where's the Wii U Pokemon game, then? Either Iwata has VERY slyly slipped in a hint as to some E3 surprise reveal from that Nintendo Direct presentation (which would help move units, I'd bet), or he's back-wishing my thought that there SHOULD have been a Pokemon game on that console in the launch or launch window.

I said this before, but when you launch a new console, go big or watch people wonder when the hell they get games they want to play that seem like no-brainers for earlier in that system's life cycle releases. Yeah, yeah, "But, G, it takes TIIIIIME to make good games!" will be some of your responses. Sure it does, folks. That's why you PLAN the system with those games in mind and get people working on them above all else. Nope, they wouldn't have used ALL the functions of that GamePad out of the gate, but imagine a game that had features patched in later via free DLC (or added in a future re-release version or improved sequels)?

That, and I thought Tetris and a few other key titles were pretty huge system sellers (pack-ins or not) for the Game Boy before Pokemon drove sales up even further. I certainly recall nearly everyone I know (or didn't know) who had a GB playing Tetris to death on it back in the day...

Posted:5 months ago


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