Nintendo "not there yet" on new console, says Fils-Aime

NoA president discusses Wii HD, 3D gaming and competition from Apple

Nintendo of America president and COO Reggie Fils-Aime has claimed that the company is not yet ready to seriously think about releasing a new home console.

Speaking to Forbes, Fils-Aime commented: "When the software developer comes forward with an idea that can't be executed on the current platform, that's when we start thinking seriously about the next system. We're not there yet, from a Wii perspective."

Fils-Aime was also lukewarm about the importance of high definition graphics and 3D technology, saying: "For us, technology is not an endpoint. Technology is an enabler for fantastic consumer experiences. So from a hardware standpoint, we are always looking at technology. But in the end, the technology has to enable a new, unique experience."

"So when people talk about high definition for the Wii console our feedback is that that by itself will not create a brand new experience," he continued. "Therefore, we're not interested. What we have to push for are groundbreaking new experiences. Technology has to enable it, not to be a means all by itself."

Asked whether the company had any plans to sell virtual items, in an apparent comparison between Miis and the Xbox's Avatars, Fils-Aime was clear that, "We don't think it's an idea that creates value for the consumer."

On the question of increased competition from Microsoft and Sony's forthcoming motion controllers Fils-Aime cautioned that: "Our competition will face their own challenges. They'll have to create compelling software. They'll need to offer it at a price point that makes sense."

"They will be separately challenged because the motion-enabled part of their business will only be a small part of their line. For us, it's core to what we do," he said.

Fils-Aime also dismissed any talk of competition with Apple and its handhelds, stating: "There's been no data to suggest an encroachment on our business."

"On the other hand, we recognise that consumers have a limited amount of entertainment time, and anything that takes entertainment time away from the Nintendo DS, DSi and Wii is a competitor," he said. "And so from that standpoint, we need to build experiences that are compelling and sticky, and that consumers can get excited about. That's our challenge."

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Latest comments (14)

Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.9 years ago
A fantastic interview. Not only did he explain his answer well and convey the notions that have pushed Wii into the sales record books but he did so without slinging a single ounce of mud at the competition.
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Kenneth Seward Game Designer 9 years ago
One phrase comes to mind while reading this article "Ha, it prints money!"
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Chris Hunter-Brown IT / Games specialist, BBFC9 years ago
I really wish this Wii HD / Wii 2 stuff can be put to bed now. The man's been asked enough times and he's been about as clear as anyone in his position can be about it.

I find it difficult to believe that the iPhone/iTouch is having no material impact on the DS, however. The number of devices sold is north of 60m now. Not all of them are used for games of course but it's trajectory must place it directly in Nintendo's rear view mirror
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Not sure I agree on the iPhone/iTouch comment. I think its eaten away at the old "mobile phone gaming" market. But the games on the DS are quite different - very few games on the DS would play as well on the iPhone. The control interfaces are quite different.

Hardware-wise, the DS is still selling truckloads.
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Jack Loftus Contributing Editor, Gizmodo9 years ago
Can you imagine if Reggie worked in the book publishing industry?

Reporter: Reggie, your books sell really well, but your competition, whom you are destroying month after month in the sales charts, are using glossy paper.
Reggie: Why yes, that entire statement is quite correct.
Reporter: But! There is this small, vocal minority in the publishing industry that demands you use glossy paper, because it is shiny, and therefore superior.
Reggie: I understand the allure of glossy paper. But it is more expensive to use, and most people really don't care what the paper looks like, so long as the words on the page make them feel something.
Reporter: Right, right. But, Reggie, the paper is glossy.
Reggie: Yes, but our words are better, as sales have proven, and book paper today has reached the point where it's good enough, and that means our authors can really start to focus 100% on the content, not the medium.
Reporter: Reggie, why do you hate books?

I joke, but then again I don't. People out there are just blindly demanding Nintendo include HD in their console without really thinking about the benefit of HD to the consumer. Sharper resolution? It literally is nothing more than a superficial addition to gaming. A bonus. Something that can complement the experience, but is by no means necessary. Again, sales have proven that HD just isn't that important. Oh, and I was referring to the PS2 in this case, not the Wii--it still sells a few million units here and there, didn't ya know. Now, add in the Wii sales and the "HD argument" gets all the more ridiculous.
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Russ Greeno Reviewer 9 years ago
The Wii and DS are indeed in strong positions but the talk of fatigue only grows stronger - it's obvious the new Nintendo systems will be more on par with the 360, PS3 and iPhone when they do arrive. I will be interested to see how Nintendo manage to get their new blue ocean/casual audience to move onto new hardware because unlike their core fans, they are likely to be a bit peeved that the system is no longer supported and a new model is out.
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Kevin J Baird CEO, VGN Inc9 years ago
No game company talks about new consoles while their other consoles are still selling well. That doesn't mean they aren't developing a new system. It just means they aren't ready to talk about it because if they do, consumers will wait for the next system and put-off buying the old one.
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Jack Loftus Contributing Editor, Gizmodo9 years ago
@Kevin: But the thing is, NO ONE is talking about new consoles right now. Not Sony, not Microsoft, not any new up-and-comer, and this is traditionally the period in a generation's life cycle that the talk begins. Rumors, speculation, etc. There just isn't a new console coming from Nintendo anytime soon. There just isn't. See also:

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While I agree that any hardware company worth their salt is actively developing and researching new console tech, I'm 99% certain that none of the big three are crazy enough to release anything now, while the market is so confused and--yes, buzzword time--disrupted.

Now, if I may indulge in a bit of speculation myself, I will say that Nintendo is definitely going to release new hardware in the next 18 months. Am I being a hypocrite by saying that? Nah, it's going to be a portable :-)
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Reilly Smith Studying Film and Video Studies, University of Oklahoma9 years ago
I'm going to piggyback on Jack's comment by saying the portable hardware market appears to have a much higher refresh rate over the last 10+ years. Thus, I definitely agree with his prediction. The DSi XL will be, I bet, the second-to-last iteration of the DS we see before a true hardware leap. Although Nintendo isn't directly competing with Apple, they sure churn out new portable hardware like 'em.
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Solomon Lee Web-Based Games Reviewer 9 years ago
You have to hand it to Reggie. He knows how to explain his points and does it well without resorting to flaming or badmouthing the competition.
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Chris Hunter-Brown IT / Games specialist, BBFC9 years ago
@Michael I agree there's no material evidence to support the theory as of yet. The DS is still phenomenally successful and quite obviously is much more suited to certain types of games thanks to the interface. Entrenched as it is and with such momentum still perhaps it will never be an issue.

When it comes to selling new consumers their first handheld device in a few years will it make a difference though? (or more likely, Nintendo will innovate and build a more compelling device).

What I think about are the consumers who are similar to those whoe picked up a DS on the back of a particular piece of software, say a Nintendogs or Brain Training whereby the interface is less of an issue. Now they can get similar sorts of experiences on an Apple product they perhaps already own, what would compel them to drop a three figure sum on a DS vs an instant download from the App Store? My girlfriend is potentially in this scenario. I joke with her on occasion that I'll buy her a DS, much to her chagrin but recently when I say something along the lines of "You can play Brain Training etc. on it" she actually gave me an answer rather than a look of disdain. "I've got an app for that!" (sigh, Apple marketing :)

The app store has it's own issues for sure and Nintendo software will always be of a noticeable quality. On the other hand, DSiWare seems to be a bit of a let down so far and dare I say it, a little rushed? I think Nintendo are a little bit cute when it comes to the iPhone. In their shoes it would be more on my radar than the PSP (at least in the West).

We'll see. Nintendo will not doubt make a mug of me as they so often do.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Chris Hunter-Brown on 10th March 2010 8:13pm

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Kevin Clark-Patterson Lecturer in Games Development, Lancaster and Morecambe College9 years ago
No need for Wii HD as Reggie clearly states, it doesnt add to the gaming experience!

Do you think he has played an Xbox or PS3 as gaming 'experience' is soooo broad its untrue....?? In the Wii's case, the experience is obviously the control method experience, closely followed by the family gaming experience.

Fair play for the lack of mudslinging - if only Sony and MS could do the same.
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Aidan Fitzpatrick Artist 9 years ago
"Asked whether the company had any plans to sell virtual items, in an apparent comparison between Miis and the Xbox's Avatars, Fils-Aime was clear that, "We don't think it's an idea that creates value for the consumer."

on this point I agree with Reggie.
Though I did the unthinkable last weekend... came home from the pub a bit drunk and thought it would be very funny and clever to 'buy' a Mexican wrestler mask as well as a 'Monkey Island' style Pirate hat and eye patch for my Xbox avatar... :/
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Christophe Collet Editor in Chief, Joystick, MER79 years ago
Reading this interview after the 3DS announcement is a weird experience… ;)
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