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What Nintendo needs to do better with NX

Reggie Fils-Aime identifies "traditional lessons" the company took from the Wii U's struggles

As Nintendo prepares to launch the NX next March, it will look to avoid the missteps of its previous console effort, the Wii U. Speaking with [a]listdaily at E3 in a just-published interview, Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime laid out what worked with its last console, as well as mistakes the company needs to learn from for the NX.

Fils-Aime defended the fundamental hook of the Wii U, saying "the innovation of the second screen was a worthwhile concept." He also stood by the system's lineup of exclusive games, saying they compared favorably to the exclusive offerings from Microsoft and Sony. However, he acknowledged not everything about Wii U worked.

"One of the things that we have to do better when we launch the NX--we have to do a better job communicating the positioning for the product," Fils-Aime said. "We have to do a better job helping people to understand its uniqueness and what that means for the game playing experience. And we have to do a better job from a software planning standpoint to have that continuous beat of great new games that are motivating more and more people to pick up the hardware and more and more people to pick up the software. Those are the critical lessons. And as I verbalize them, they're really traditional lessons within the industry. You have to make sure people understand the concept, you have to make sure you've got a great library of games, and when you do that, you tend to do well."

It's no wonder Fils-Aime calls them "traditional lessons," as they're fundamentally similar to ones Nintendo took away from previous platform launches. In fact, the failure to help people understand the unique value add of a system's new innovation should have been fresh in the company's memory when it launched the Wii U in 2012, considering it was one of the big lessons from the 3DS' rocky launch the year before.

As Nintendo's Satoru Iwata told investors in 2011, "[A]s a result of analysis of the situation after the launch, it has become clear that we need to do a lot more to convey the value to consumers."

Going back a little further, Nintendo identified proper software planning to avoid lulls in the release schedule as one of the key learnings from the GameCube. Prior to the Wii's debut in 2006, Nintendo of America senior VP George Harrison stressed the importance off steady software support to a system's reputation.

"You've got to deliver software, not just at launch, but you've got to deliver software in the first six to nine months after launch," Harrison said. "In GameCube, we didn't have that, we had kind of a drought for six months after it launched. By that time your reputation starts to solidify and it's hard to reverse that after awhile."

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Latest comments (3)

Rogier Voet IT Consultant 5 years ago
Nintendo is a great game developer but one of the poorest platform holders

Steady stream of games - Nintendo has a really low output level. With their resources they should launch at minimum 8 games per platform they have - so 8 games for the 3DS and 8 games for the NX per year.

While Microsoft and Sony invested a lot in getting beter ties and processes in place for third party developers (big and small) if Nintendo keeps their current processes they are not learning from the Wii not for U console debacle

Speaking about third party developers - has Nintendo actually any support for their new console?
Is the SDK available (in all languages)?
Is support for developers easy accessible?

Co-promotion for publishers/developers who are releasing early in the cycle?
Easy to sell your game digitally?

Just some things on the top of my head. I really like the games that Nintendo makes but from a business/development standpoint Nintendo has not really moved to the now.
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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.5 years ago
Rogier, they already release more than 8 games per system per year.
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Francisco Javier QA Engineering & Coordination, Saber Interactive Spain5 years ago
Talking about exclusives, Nintendo did something terrible: canibalizing itself selling the same games on 3DS than on the WiiU.

A lot of people didn't gave a change to the marvellous Super Mario 3D World, just because it looked more levels from the 3DS game, and many people did played that game on 3DS. Same could be told about other major games, like Mario Kart, Mario Tennis, etc... and got a lot more major games than the WiiU from the start: Ocarina of Time, Majora's Mask, Star Fox 3D, A Link Between Worls, Luigi's Mansion 2, both Fire Emblem...

I'm a fan of Nintendo and always bought the best unique games on their both platforms. Having all the great iPS on the 3DS made me thing that the WiiU was not necessary at all, at least if you're not having children of friends to meet and play together, which is mainly when I use the WiiU instead of the 3DS.

On the other hand, the lack of third party support and the low quality of the few ones make people not so interested at all on the console, leaving alone to the uniqueness of the WiiU to be what sold the console.

And let's be truth, the two screen concept worked fine on the DS because they were at the same distance and with the same resolution, giving an incredible value with the addition of the touch screen and so. On the WiiU, the concept of looking and playing trough both different screens just don't work, and people players noticed that from day one.

And if it was a concept complex to understand and appreciate from gamers, there's no way could be appreciated by mainstream. That was wrong from the very start and it seems Nintendo don't want to accept that.
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