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Nintendo set to benefit from publisher downsizing

Satoru Iwata expects "more attractive titles" from publishers as they refocus on Wii and DS

As third-party publishers scale back operations and refocus their portfolios, Nintendo's Wii and DS are apparently set to benefit the most from a downsized industry.

That's a belief held by Nintendo president Satoru Iwata, who noted in a recent conference call that publishers are backing the hardware with the highest uptake amongst consumers, rather than the most powerful gaming machines on the market.

"A number of major software manufacturers are reporting that they are experiencing a financially challenging time or that they will be scaling down their operations," commented Iwata. "On the other hand, just a few years ago, a year or two before we launched Wii, I doubt that anyone in the industry was able to correctly forecast the current sales situation of Wii.

"Of course, Nintendo was hopeful that we would make this new system the best selling hardware in the next generation," added Iwata. "Even so, If you ask me if we were able to foresee today's situation, I am not that optimistic so I have to admit that today's situation is exceeding even our original expectations."

"To the third party software manufacturers, the surprise must be bigger," he continued. "Some are reportedly saying that they bet on the wrong horse or that they need to change course. I recognise that each one of the third parties is trying to develop software that can be appealing on DS and Wii systems which have significantly increased the installed bases, while narrowing the overall number of software to develop."

Electronic Arts recently said that half of its console output will be for Nintendo hardware, as it renews its efforts to capture the Wii and DS market with new EA Sports titles.

Ubisoft was one of the first third-party publishers to cater specifically to the DS and Wii, and has already seen major success with its Imagine and Petz brands. THQ is another publisher reducing the amount of games it makes for the hardcore gaming market, and has enjoyed success with Nintendo product including Big Beach Sports and de Blob.

"Overall, we recognise that our relationships with the software manufacturers are shaping up better than before. So, in the mid-term, we believe that more attractive titles will be launched by them for our platforms," Iwata said.

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