Iwata explains Nintendo's refusal to work on rival platforms

Exec says benefits would be short-term, adds he "would never think about providing our precious resources" to non-Nintendo systems

Industry watchers continue to call on Nintendo to extend its hit franchises to new platforms, and Nintendo continues to balk at the idea. Speaking with CVG, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata offered a hypothetical situation in which he would actually consider doing just that.

"If I was to take responsibility for the company for just the next one or two years, and if I was not concerned about the long-term future of Nintendo at all, it might make sense for us to provide our important franchises for other platforms, and then we might be able to gain some short-term profit," Iwata said. "However, I'm really responsible for the long-term future of Nintendo as well, so I would never think about providing our precious resources for other platforms at all."

Iwata went on to stress how Nintendo's ability to create software and hardware that suit one another's needs has been key to the company's success.

"What I believe is that Nintendo is a very unique company, because it does its business by designing and introducing people to hardware and software - by integrating them, we can be unique," Iwata said. "And because we have hardware and software developers in the same building, they stimulate each other. And those kinds of conditions have enabled us to create something that no other companies can create. Those kinds of backgrounds are there behind the fact that such a number of great Nintendo franchises exist, and those great franchises always shine for people around the world."

Nintendo's hardware business has been up-and-down in recent years. The company launched its 3DS to a sluggish start, but the system has recovered and its hardware and software helped drive sales and a return to net profitability in Nintendo's latest quarterly report. However, the Wii U has been the bigger problem of late, with Nintendo selling only 160,000 units worldwide in the last quarter, even as it sells the hardware at a loss.

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Latest comments (14)

Caleb Hale Journalist 7 years ago
In other words, if Iwata saw himself as some hotshot exec, who was seeking only another profit-soaked notch to add to his resume before bouncing to the next company offering a greener pasture, yes, Nintendo franchises might start appearing on other platforms.
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Paul Jace Merchandiser 7 years ago
I agree with Iwata, especially now. Nintendo's long list of legacy titles are the main reasons(and some might say the only reasons) to own Nintendo branded hardware. And this is exactly why the Wii U is doing so poorly right now and why the 3DS is making a killing: those first party games. However, the 3DS is also fortunate enough to have a large amount of really good third party titles as well. But despite all of this logic we are still going to hear the argument for them putting their titles on rival platforms every few months. The way I see it, that shouldn't happen unless they pull a Sega and leave the hardware business for good.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Paul Jace on 9th August 2013 11:19pm

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Yiannis Koumoutzelis Founder & Creative Director, Neriad Games7 years ago
It is very impressive reassuring and inspiring that he sees himself as the custodian of a long tradition that has created some of the finest video games ever made. A different culture, a different kind of executive. Something he has proven several times! Actually someone who is a lot more than just an executive. I am one of those people who believe that the moment Nintendo offers their games on a different platform they are as good as gone. It won't be them anymore, their spirit lost. Just another company. I am thankful that he sees it this way and i surely hope more people appreciate that! Especially developers!
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Cale Barnett Animator 7 years ago
I'm sure I heard it on this site, but someone stated that Nintendo is likely going to be around in 100 years, while competitors are not so guaranteed. When you hear about business decisions like these, it does seem a fair assumption.
However, Nintendo sorely needs to improve on the originality of their titles - and I don't mean just new IP - so many of their upcoming big titles re-use assets and ideas from previous games. While I'm sure there are plenty of people experiencing them for the first time, from a fans perspective it's pretty tiring.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Cale Barnett on 9th August 2013 1:12am

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Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer 7 years ago
Seriously, all this talk about Nintendo being doomed, I dont get it. Sure I know they are a bit in a rut, but I dont thing they are at the end. I never purchase a next gen console in its first 2 years. Simply because im still going through a few games from last gen, second, waiting on an inevetible price drop if not for consoles but for games, I also wait for the console to build up a software library which takes between one and 2 years and finally, I like to see how the hardware performs. Anybody remember the first wave of PS3 and Xbox 360's. They had problems. Xbox had the red ring of death and the PS3 had problems with the blu-Ray lens. Besides, launch games come out at 60$ a piece, if you wait a while you can have a substantial library of games for 20$ 30$ dollars when they drop in price, as with greatest hits and game of the year editions or perfect collections.

I dont see Nintendo's problems different from most other new console releases from different companies. I mean how great where the Xbox 360's exclusives when they came out, not remotly as good as nintendos offerings. And quit frankly, I can mention well over 10 games for the WiiU I want to play, right of the bat without thinking too much. some of them being third party and none exclusives. For example both Watch dogs and Rayman legends benefit from the second screen gaming.

I acknowlage the are a bit in a crisis, but Nintendo also has the financial muscle to rethink there strategy and make adjustments. And honestly, Nintendo's games are the only games I have a blast to play with family and real friends, friends as in people I know. Not refering to people I meet online. I enjoy playing smash bros, Mario Kart with family and friends from around the block.

Nintendo has a magic to them that would not work if they just massivly produced there games for everyone else, and I agree with Iwata all the way. If Nintendo sells out there games will lose there soul. I like that Nintendo over see's games production, even when working with companies like Namco and Capcom. Capcom helped produce Zelda:The minish cap, and Namco with team sora developed the new smash bros. I cant see Nintendo leaving development unsupervised by other companies or making games for other consoles ad be succesful. The magic of Nintendo consoles is that you can only expirience there games on there consoles, in the way they see best for there games.

I saw the new trailer for Wonderful 101 and even if it doesnt have guns blazing, people yelling and blood splashing everywhere, I got to say, im more convinced about it than I was before.

I now Ill be purchasing a WiiU and there is at least 10 games Im interested in... Nintendo will be alright.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Rick Lopez on 9th August 2013 4:31am

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Keldon Alleyne Strategic Keyboard Basher, Avasopht Development7 years ago
As I keep saying. It's pointless trying to judge the success of this system without its core franchises. It's just plain stupid and indicates a total lack of market knowledge and intelligence.
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Roberto Bruno Curious Person 7 years ago
It's hilarious to read all the comments, here and elsewhere, picturing these words as a noble act of long term commitment to the customer, when in simpler terms what he's saying is "We don't want you just to play our games and like them; we specifically want you to play them on our proprietary hardware".

But just to be clear, I'm not hostile to Nintendo in particular, I'm just not very fond of the concept of closed platforms and arbitrary exclusivity in general.
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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.7 years ago
Roberto, as a general concept, I agree. I give Nintendo a pass on this because their hardware and software are symbiotic far more so than just any general proprietary closed system. They are designed together. So while they are sold separately as other closed systems are, they complement each other in a way that would make either somehow less if they were part of an open, unregulated by Nintendo system.
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Roberto Bruno Curious Person 7 years ago
I don't see the link between closed platforms and Nintendo's refusal to port their games to other platforms
I don't see how ca you not see it when they are intrinsically linked one to the other.
even if there was an iOS version of Super Mario Bros. it wouldn't change the fact, that the iPhone and the Wii U are closed platforms.
Ok, first: I never talked specifically about iOS.
Second: that's irrelevant. I'm not arguing that companies shouldn't produce their own hardware, if they really feel that urge or think they have something better than the competition.
I'm saying that using proprietary hardware as a mandatory DRM gateway to access exclusive software is surely NOT something done in the interest of the consumers.
because it is the norm for games developed by platform holders to be exclusive.
I'm well aware of it and I can even understand the reasons for it. That doesn't mean it's something I have to be happy about or even I feel the urge to advocate for, pretending they are doing it in my best interest as a customer.
They aren't. They are forcing me to purchase a redundant piece of hardware IF I want their software.
Following this argumentation to the end, it means, there shouldn't be different platforms at all
OR pieces of hardware would compete on their actual merits (reliability, construction quality, design, performance, power consumption, cost) instead of relying on arbitrary, artificial software exclusivity.
every game should be released as a non exclusive to an open platform.
Which is actually something I would be mighty fine with, yes.
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John Arnold Video Production 7 years ago
I think the Wii U needs a chance before people can start labelling it as a failure, it would have only been a year since the Wii U was released and it still has several more years to change. I think where the problem lies is that Nintendo has all this skill and potential but doesn't know how to go about doing it.

I think they're far too nice in the video game industry and need to show some dramatic determination. They're such a gentle company that just wants to make money from making quality products, but they need to face their competitors, look them in the eye and challenge them. Nintendo don't have to go out of their way to be a greedy like Apple. They just need that understanding and that push.

If only Nintendo and Valve would work together, it would be a perfect combination and perhaps Nintendo would understand how to go about making online account systems.

Nintendo is too busy in it's own little world, almost cut off from the video game industry and if Nintendo can become more courageous and determined in getting the crowds they cater for they'll do perfectly. They need to make third parties jump out of their socks.

They just need those ideas that competition is worthwhile and they just need a company like Valve to talk to them about it.

The fact they chose not to do a conference this year just disappoints me! I'm thinking come on Nintendo! You need to show the industry what you're made of!

Edited 1 times. Last edit by John Arnold on 11th August 2013 9:02pm

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Roberto Bruno Curious Person 7 years ago
Yeah, no. I think everyone trying to depict Nintendo as a mite, gentle company, so friendly and heartwarming, would probably need a history lesson about the gaming industry, as in the '90s, when they were in a dominant position, they were pretty notorious for their abusive and exploitative practices toward third party developers/publishers willing to release software on their platforms.
Insane royalty fees, dictatorial control over the production and the content and so on.

They may put a friendly face for the audience but business-wise they have a history of being the very model of the corporate mindset.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Roberto Bruno on 12th August 2013 12:17am

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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.7 years ago
Roberto, that is indeed true of the late 80's to early 90's. However, it was also those very practices that resurrected the video game industry into what we know today. Before those policies, the Atari model ruled and we see what that led to. And to be sure, they've obviously relaxed a great deal on those since those days.

Please understand that I'm trying to suggest they were or are complete saints. Only that those restrictive policies of the time were in place for very damn good reasons. Though I will submit that they held on to some of those policies longer than were probably necessary.
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Roberto Bruno Curious Person 7 years ago
Nobody forces you to buy anything, as a consumer you have the choice to skip the hardware
There is a big IF in my sentence, but keep playing with words if that's your thing.
I'm confident you got the idea, despise all the efforts to pretend otherwise.
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Adam Campbell Product Manager, Azoomee7 years ago
I dont see Nintendo's problems different from most other new console releases from different companies
The problem with the example you gave is that just about every console since the Dreamcast has launched with huge momentum and record breaking sales, even handhelds.

Not only did WiiU come with almost no buzz, confusion as to whether it was a Wii Controller or not and performance debates (being compared to older consoles) - there has been a software drought for a year. Xbox 360 launch titles didn't hamper the console in this way and the 360 wasn't exactly under huge threat on the run up to other console launches. In fact it went on to post high sales, especially at Christmas time.

Nintendo's situation is different, because right now it doesn't even boast the early momentum and excitement the GameCube had. Need I mention the incredible day one games it had, how could one choose? Pikmin, SSB, Wave Race, Rogue Leader.

The WiiU IS salvagable but it is in a uniquely tough situation compared to most consoles I've seen. There is a lot to do and its a shame its taken so long for the reflection and action to take place.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Adam Campbell on 12th August 2013 11:10pm

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