Iwata: "Very sorry" for Wii U network update

But Nintendo boss explains why it will be worth it

Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has shared his regret over the Wii U's infamous day one patch, which sees console owners forced to download a 1GB update before they can access the machine's online services.

“Personally I think that users should be able to use all the functions of a console video game machine as soon as they open the box, so I feel very sorry for the fact that purchasers of Wii U have to experience a network update which takes such a long time, and that there are the services which were not available at the hardware's launch," he told IGN in a statement.

But he said that he was sure players would be pleased once they'd completed the download, even if it was difficult for him to explain why.

“It is challenging to communicate attractions which are hard to understand unless you actually touch and experience them yourself. This is especially so with Wii U because it has unprecedented entertainment potential,” Iwata explained.

The Wii U is already on sale in the US and goes on sale in the UK at midnight tonight. The console sold roughly 400,000 units in its first week in the US, selling out at many retailers. But Iwata is cautious about celebrating any such achievements.

"I always and strictly tell Nintendo employees never to use the term 'success' to describe our own performance," he explained.

"If we call a result of any of our efforts a 'success'… we might apply it as the standard for success for future projects as well, and we could wind up not trying to do better than that or not making something which is very different in nature."

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Latest comments (15)

Nick Parker Consultant 5 years ago
Hi Rachel, what was it difficult for Iwata to explain? Why he was sure players would be pleased once the'y completed the download or why the download was necessary at all, especially so soon after launch? If it's the former, then there is still a lot of communication required of what the Wii U can offer to both consumers and it appears also to internal staff!
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Daniel Hughes Studying PhD Literary Modernism, Bangor University5 years ago
Hasn't it since been confirmed that 5GB was a vast over-estimation and the wrong figure?

"The system update, which was originally reported as being 5GB in size but is in fact closer to 1GB, "

Geoff Keighley's tweet was very inaccurate, it seems, though he claimed he got the 5GB size from Nintendo, which is bizarre. There's a pretty big difference between 1GB and 5GB though, and it's only proper that the true update size is reported.

@ Nicholas, I think Iwata is talking less about the download there and more about the actual playing experience of Wii U. The slogan they had with Wii was "Playing is Believing", but I think that's more appropriate here. Wii was easy to understand when you saw the remote being swung: seeing the Gamepad being played with doesn't have the same impact, whereas using it (just used a demo unit in my local Game) does a much better job of getting you used to the gamepad. Learn by playing is very true of what Nintendo are attempting here, and it's not going to be easy to communicate that from day one. It's the same problem they had at the beginning of the DS's lifespan, a problem that faded with time, but not really a problem that existed with Wii because of its simplicity and accessibility.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Daniel Hughes on 29th November 2012 10:47am

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Caleb Hale Journalist 5 years ago
The Wii U has to be a marketer's nightmare, one of the most convoluted console setups to try to explain to people in the span of a short pitch. I was helping some confused parents on launch day figure out which extra controllers they actually needed in addition to the GamePad, and the whole concept wasn't easy to explain. I'm sure they went home and were even more confused to learn they couldn't do anything with the system until it underwent a long update process. The most hardcore thing about Wii U right now is its complex setup. Going for the casual market, I think a lot of people are going to be very frustrated at first to even get their console up and running with all its parts in order.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Caleb Hale on 29th November 2012 1:41pm

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Show all comments (15)
Art C. Jones Writer / Blogger 5 years ago
I'm just happy to see an apology.
If this was Sony you'd instead see some arrogant executive responding by saying that you should be grateful for the opportunity to download the update.

Still it's a pain for Nintendo, one I'm sure they'll be fixing ASAP by installing the update to newer systems before they ship ;).

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Art C. Jones on 29th November 2012 5:32pm

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Rod Oracheski Editor, Star News5 years ago
A good apology would be upgrading their CDN so a 1 GB patch doesn't take that long to download ever again.
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This has been described as Nintendo's Saturn!

I do not see it that way - I see it as Nintendo's GameCube - I feel we will see a new Wii-U in a matter of months (14+) that will have all the key failings addressed, and the elements that work from the XB740 and PS4 - along with a reworking of their online commitment that will circumvent the retail business model.

But in this positioning a number of the current executives will be shown the exit - taxi for Reggie!
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Nicholas Pantazis Senior Editor, VGChartz Ltd5 years ago
Kevin here to provide you with useless predictions and analysis of a device that's literally been out for a week. Thanks Kevin! Always great to predict a console's future in its first week of life. That generally works out great!
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Daniel Hughes Studying PhD Literary Modernism, Bangor University5 years ago
Kevin, this time 7 years ago the latest system was experiencing stock shortages and mass hardware failures. It was also outsold on Black Friday by the dead-in-the-water GameCube. Said system is now America's favourite console this Black Friday: food for thought. As Nicholas points out, judging the system one week in and drawing conclusions about its long term future is absolutely pointless.
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@Nicholas - always great to see some people take such um-bridge when some one else makes an observation. I did not see anything on the moderation rules that said no one was allowed to voice their views or make wild predictions. Seems you Nintendo-fanboys better take it for granted that there are other people out there with views different to your -blinkered- own.

There was the same sulky retort when I mentioned the whole download issue - even going as far as saying there was no problem and it was all anti-Nintnedo coverage. Well I think the apology from the president seems to have show that over-favoritism for ones own position can leave you far away from reality. I do not say what I outline will come to pass but its an 'opinion' that can be shared - no matter what the self appointed feel.

@Daniel, I am not judging the system (not a Nintnedo-fanboy or for any console for that matter), my point is that Nintendo has form for this approach to the manufacturing business and the players may not see the pattern - as you know the 2001 launched Gamecube sold some 21m with major criticism, and was superseded in 2006 by the 97m selling Wii to glowing review (after inital questions by the media about the mocap dependance). Fundamentally the Wii was a GC hybrid. So my observation seems to hold more water than Nicholas' petulance.

Hows that for a 'useless' prediction!

Edited 1 times. Last edit by kevin williams on 30th November 2012 1:39pm

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Daniel Hughes Studying PhD Literary Modernism, Bangor University5 years ago
"my point is that Nintendo has form for this approach to the manufacturing business and the players may not see the pattern - as you know the 2001 launched Gamecube sold some 21m with major criticism, and was superseded in 2006 by the 97m selling Wii to glowing review (after inital questions by the media about the mocap dependance). Fundamentally the Wii was a GC hybrid. So my observation seems to hold more water than Nicholas' petulance."

With respect, it's a poor observation. GameCube remained on the market for five years--far longer than the 14 months you allow Wii U before a new or remodelled system appears. Yes, Wii utilised the GameCube technology, but it dropped many of the practises Nintendo adhered to with GameCube. Nintendo dropped out of the graphical arms race (which GameCube most definitely was designed to compete in) and followed a new approach, as we all know. The Wii was not a GC hybrid, it was a new console, even though it does include upgraded GC architecture. You have a point that Nintendo leveraged their initial GC investment and research into the Wii, but the situation they faced then--an existential threat to their home console business--is far different from their current situation. A better (but still poor) analogy would have been Nintendo's approach with DS: they took a risk, it worked, they dropped the GameBoy brand and unleashed the DS Lite--which they admitted could have been released in 2004, but they used the earlier, uglier model in case their gamble didn't work. I fully expect Nintendo had another GameBoy waiting in the wings if the DS failed. I don't doubt that if Wii U is an irredeemable failure within 14 months and the gamble fails, Nintendo will launch new hardware. Before they do that though, Nintendo will throw everything and the kitchen sink into Wii U to make it work. With so many huge brands and so much money, I don't think Wii U can be an outright failure, even if it only achieves 50% of the sales Wii did, for example.

I also wasn't suggesting you were judging the system in a positive or negative sense, but rather you were (which you were, by making your prediction) judging the system's possible success or failure on the market: which I maintain is premature at this point when the Wii U hasn't even completed its launch phase. I'm not belittling you for expressing your opinion, merely expressing my opinion that predictions right now will be too uninformed to accurately judge the long-term picture. After all, with 3.6 million 3DS units sold within one month, who predicted a 33% global price cut was coming three months down the line?
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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.5 years ago
14 months, Kevin? I don't even think you believe that.
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Paul Jace Merchandiser 5 years ago
It's nice to see a high up exec/president apologizing for this incident(which caused some systems to brick). Many other execs would have just made excuses.
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@Daniel, thank you for your clarification and intuitive observation - to underline, I do think that the the Wii-U is holed below the waterline beyond just the normal media approach - but I respect your detailed observations.

Can I ask that we remove all of the 'handheld' data from this discussion as that sector is different to what I am outlining.

@Jim, seriously, I do think they will rush a updated (non brick-able) Wii-U+ to market faster than anyone would think possible - I seriously think they made the Wii-U as a 'lego' hardware platform that can see multiple reiterations! - especially addressing the whole Gamepad x 2 issue!

Edited 1 times. Last edit by kevin williams on 1st December 2012 12:27am

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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.5 years ago
I think you are ignoring the financial obligations that come with launching a whole new console. From R&D, manufacturing, marketing, content development, staff training, multiyear contracts with thousands of vendors, partnerships with dozens of publishers and content providers, retail partnerships for shelf space and supports....etc....

Only to turn around and do it all over again in 14 months? No.

Did they need to release a new Wii after 14 months just to keep up with the X360 and PS3? No.
Did they need to release a new 3DS after 14 months because of low post-launch sales? No.

Brick - Come now, Kevin. Don't you really think that the next production run of the console will have the firmware update already on the console? And if they wanted to make an unbrickable console, they'd have to either remove the ability to update the firmware ever or use a dual BIOS style system which could be added to the next production run of the console.

Upgraded models - No way. Developers and publishers would hate you for splitting up your market into smaller and smaller chunks. They'd all develop their games to the lowest common denominator making the more powerful models pointless.

2 Gamepads - The Wii U can already do it they just haven't added it to the SDK yet. And it's a matter that fits outside of their game design philosophy for Wii U anyway: asynchronous multiplayer.
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Andy Samson QA Supervisor, Digital Media Exchange5 years ago
I don't see any indication at all that the Wii U is comparable to the SEGA Saturn. The Saturn's primary weakness was that it was so hard to develop for, a lot of devs were quite puzzled with its multi-processor architecture. The PlayStation was more developer friendly compared to this behemoth. Saturn add ons like the expandable RAM didn't help it much since it was only supported by a few games. Also, the Saturn came out at a time when SEGA has fumbled with their half-step next gen system upgrades by introducing a convoluted setup with the Genesis' Mega CD and 32X add ons. The Wii U on the other hand is riding the wind that Wii sailed on. A lot of the fans just wants to see what Nintendo can do with an HD system and the Wii U more powerful than the Wii and for the meantime, at least on par with the competition..

The Saturn was rushed to the market with very little foresight into how 32-bit gaming has shifted to polygons and "FMV's". The Saturn was a different beast that focused more on being a 2D powerhouse. Things have changed a lot as console hardware cannot take that huge a graphical leap anymore due to rising development costs. Just look at how development teams have grown and how many have closed down due to their inability to break even or gain significant profit. The Wii U is more versatile. If ever it becomes the weakest of the 3, it will be like this generation's "PlayStation 2".
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