Nintendo's Iwata doesn't fear failure

Nintendo's president wants the company to keep taking risks and innovating

In a talk at the B Dash Camp startup conference in Osaka, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata explained that the company does not fear failure. Iwata characterized Nintendo as a company that innovates and takes risks.

"When we talk about Nintendo we cannot ignore [former president] Hiroshi Yamauchi who just recently passed away," said Iwata, according to translations by The Bridge. "He always said that if you have failure, you don't need to be too concerned. You always have good things and bad, and this reflects the history of Nintendo. If you do the same thing as others, it will wear you out. Nintendo is not good at competing so we always have to challenge [the status quo] by making something new, rather than competing in an existing market."

Iwata explained that Nintendo has always gone against the grain, highlighting some of the company's past successes.

"It's often called the 'Blue Ocean Strategy', looking for something that no one else is working on," he said. "When we created the DS, people said it was strange to have a dual display, and people said elderly people don't play games. But they did. Opening the first door is when things are most interesting."

"Will America accept cute monsters? No, they said. Some people even recommended to make Pikachu more muscular. If we followed their advice Pokemon would never have been the success that it was. Brain Training software (Brain Age) became a hit in Japan, and I proposed that we sell it globally. And even as I said that as the president, no one listened."

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Latest comments (11)

Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer 6 years ago
Honestly after I saw Super MArio 3d Land trailer in there last Nintendo Direct, Im convinced Ill be buying a WiiU very soon. In fact the Donkey Kong Tropical freeze looks awsome as well. And they have a very promising line up of games announced I can easily mention 10 games, without thinking too much about it. Wonderful 101 exceeded my expectations. I was a bit "Meh", but then I played it and it changed my mind.

I just feel they have been very slow in churning out games, however Im also thinking they are remaining low key until the holidays are over simply because both SONY and MICROSOFT are going to come out swinging with their new consoles this holiday season. So its prudent for Nintendo to release its heavy hitters sometime after that in order to maximize potential sales. This is just my thinking... but I will admit I do have a soft spot for Nintendo. They are the only company that managed to allow my family, mom, dad, sisters, niece, girlfriend to all play together.

I also think Nintendo should cut costs by doing something with the controller. Maybe making WiiU's ship with a pro controller and having the screen as an add on much like the keyboard adapter for the SONY dualshock 3 controller. Or having an App that can make any touch screen device compensate for the funcions the touch screen using a pro controller in conjuntion with an android or iOS device. Another thing they can do is have a 3DS act as a controller. Finally they can just release another pro controller with a smaller touch screen in the middle. Or it can fold up like a DS or Gameboy advance SP.
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Patrick Frost QA Project Monitor 6 years ago
"It's often called the 'Blue Ocean Strategy', looking for something that no one else is working on," he said. "When we created the DS, people said it was strange to have a dual display, and people said elderly people don't play games. But they did. Opening the first door is when things are most interesting."
And it's ready this kind of thing that I'm finding increasingly baffling. What part of the Wii U strategy is disruptive or blue ocean? What new audience are they aiming for? How can they go from having such a lazer-like attack on demonstrating new ways to play to a suggestion of them? One they won't even validate properly with their own catalogue?
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Paul Jace Merchandiser 6 years ago
Because of the success of their handheld business Nintendo doesn't need to fear failure, even if the Wii U ends up being a dud in the long run. Same thing for Sony in reverse. They don't need to fear failure with the Vita because the PS4 is almost guaranteed to be a hit for them.
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Show all comments (11)
Jeff Kleist Writer, Marketing, Licensing 6 years ago
Paul, that's not quite the case

Nintendo has to fear the tablet market, which is a ruggedized $249 iPad mini away from cutting their knees out from under them. There are plenty who deny it, but the kids Christmas lists don't lie. Make one they have a hard time breaking and affordable and the parents will bite

The entirety of a Sony is depending on PS4 to be a hit. PS3 at best broke even, and the rest of the company is in pretty dire straights right now. They need PS4 to carry it. They can't have Vita be bombing, because there isn't enough revenue to carry that too. That's why they're trying to spread their bets by making VTV and any other way they can repurpose the investment.
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Nick Wofford Hobbyist 6 years ago
Jeff is correct. The 360 is just about the dream profitability on an HD console, and it took 3 years for it to break even. PS4/X1 can only hope to match that, but that means Sony has to survive for 3 years. And that's really hard to do when almost all of their divisions are in the red.
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Jeff Kleist Writer, Marketing, Licensing 6 years ago
Nick, Microsoft didn't come away from this generation rolling in it either. It's just that they have many profitable divisions which can absorb ebb and flow, whereas Sony does not. That 3-year profitability did not include the billion on RROD for example. Sure, Sony lost almost as much on paper due tot the ODN hack, but money not earned is different from money paid out. I'm not saying Sony is doomed, I'm saying that the pressure on them is not such that they can just let the Vita bomb like Nintendo will the WiiU, nor can they absorb it as a lesson learned and forget about it

The real advantage MS has is that they have the media partnerships and the infrastructure to support them on a huge scale. Sony's still working on that,
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Andy Samson QA Supervisor, Digital Media Exchange6 years ago
Wake me up when these tablets and smartphones start selling legit Nintendo games.
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I think the Wii U had a interesting idea. The execution of the development is not so great. Mainly, humans love good tactile feedback, and for that the WiiU controller needs better design or to use off the shelf tablets. Its a great risk to develop a Nintendo only peripheral/controller which needs to be robust and responsive to work well
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Jeff Kleist Writer, Marketing, Licensing 6 years ago

Sega has pretty much been the only party aggressive about getting their games legit on mobile. Nintendo has to know that 95% of Ouyas are being used as Nintendo consoles, they should be making money off of it
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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.6 years ago
Jeff, how many OUYA's have been sold? It's such an insignificant amount that it's completely pointless to bother porting Nintendo titles to it. I agree that majority of owners are simply using it as a NES/SNES emulator but emulation on PC is a far bigger factor and you don't see them even batting an eye at that.
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Yvonne Neuland Studying Game Development, Full Sail University6 years ago
From what I have read, out of the three major consoles (PSP, Xbox, Nintendo), Nintendo is the only one of the three who has historically ever turned a profit on their hardware. Microsoft and Sony don't make their money off of the actual hardware, they make their money off of secondary sources of income that are derived from the manufacture of the consoles. The profits from those secondary sources are far larger than the losses on the hardware, so the net gain makes it worth it for them.

The biggest problem with the Nintendo Wii U had nothing to do with the console, and everything to do with the rabid negative publicity reviewers spammed everywhere before it ever even came out. The public simply accepts that it is a horrible device, without ever having even seen one. I don't think most people probably even know what it looks like, or how it functions. They just "know" that it is not any good.

Comparing the Ouya to the Wii U rather baffles me. What does a crowd-funded, android system console produced by a brand new company with no industry-track record and a free-to-play/free-trial requirement for all games sold in their brand new distribution platform have to do with Nintendo?

That is like comparing a mom and pop shop to Walmart.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Yvonne Neuland on 18th October 2013 2:24pm

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