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Fischer: Nintendo "working on solution" to Wii storage issue

Tue 17 Jun 2008 10:00am GMT / 6:00am EDT / 3:00am PDT
Hardware

Marketing boss pledges action but rules out external hard drive

Having ignited controversy with remarks he insists were a "joke", Nintendo's Laurent Fischer has moved to reassure consumers on the issue of Wii system memory, confirming: "We're working on a solution".

But rumours of an external hard drive have been torpedoed by the Euro marketing boss, who revealed: "Definitely there's no plan to issue hardware".

In his first major interview since the now-infamous "geeks and otaku" comment was quoted in a magazine article, Fischer insisted that the company took people's concerns over the storage limits of its console seriously.

"We definitely detect that they [gamers] are serious and we know there is an issue in this, so it's something that we're working on," he told GamesIndustry.biz. But Fischer poured cold water on rumours - stemming from recent hints dropped by Nintendo President Satoru Iwata - that the company was planning an external solution.

"Definitely there's no plan to issue hardware, an external hard drive, but we know that we have an issue in that area," he added. "It's very obvious and we're perfectly aware of it, but there's nothing we can say beyond this."

Pressed on what this entailed, Fischer said he was not yet privy to the details, explaining that "this area is fully handled by the development team in Japan. It's very linked to the overall strategy; that's something they're working on."

Last week, Edge magazine reported that Fischer had said during a press event that only "geeks and otaku" were worried about Wii memory limitations. The comments provoked a furious response in forums, and a scathing attack from outspoken God Of War creator David Jaffe, who labelled the remarks "arrogant" and said Nintendo should be "very ashamed" if they reflected company thinking.

Fischer was forced to issue a statement aplogising for what he called a "misunderstanding". And eager fully to set the record straight, he this week insisted his words had been meant as a "joke".

"I really didn't use that terminology to describe the Nintendo consumer - it was something related basically to myself and to the journalists attending. It was a joke I made on myself and somehow it's been confused and taken out of context to define those consumers."

He added: "I understand I have created a lot of offence with people. And for me it's very, very important to clarify this - that's not the kind of thing I've been saying in [the way it has been reported]. Disappointment in the community is something I was really affected by.

"We had this event one month ago. It was very positive; we had lots of open and interesting discussions with journalists and the developers - it was beneficial for us as we could go in depth into all the WiiWare questions."

Wii offers 512Mb of Flash memory for the storage of saved games and downloadable content. But following the launch of the WiiWare games channel - which rolled out in Europe on May 20th - many users have complained of running out of storage space.

With the promised "solution" still shrouded in secrecy, Fischer reiterated Nintendo's official advice: "You can store your Virtual Console games on an SD card, and also we at Nintendo can store the things for you. So if you delete some of the software you have downloaded it's no problem to go again to the download process and get the software back for free."

Consumers, however, have complained that this is a cumbersome process in practice.

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