During Nintendo’s quarterly Corporate Policy Briefing and investor Q & A, one of the questioning investors believed the “Nintendo was not able to communicate the value of Wii U” and stated that they have “consistently failed to release enough titles in the initial launch periods” of Nintendo’s two current systems.
Shigeru Miyamoto did not dispute either of these claims. In his
response, Miyamoto admits that when the 3DS launched, Nintendo had no
major first-party titles to go out with the system. He believes the Wii U
Super Mario Bros. U and Nintendo Land closely followed by Pikmin 3 should have been enough to attract some attention, though the reality would disagree with him.
According the Miyamoto, the problem was not necessarily the absence of
first-party launch titles, but Nintendo’s failure to advertise. Despite
the consistently high review scores Nintendo first-party games are
familiar with, none of the Wii U’s titles had the desired impact.
Miyamoto believes Nintendo’s “biggest downfall last year was that we failed to communicate the
true value of Wii U, failed to make children persuade their parents to
buy our products for them, and failed to offer products that parents
could not resist.”
Quality is nothing new to Nintendo, but without the excitement to
back it up, quality alone is not what has made Nintendo consoles sell.
Contrary to the objections of some, remakes of Nintendo classics do generate a certain amount of excitement. Ocarina of Time 3D,
rebuilt from the ground up by a third party, did quite well. Old titles
already have hype, since many of us are plenty familiar with them.
Miyamoto has expressed that he would like to see more of these
third-party remakes. They allow Nintendo to churn out cleaner,
modernized versions of already popular games while freeing up Nintendo
proper to work on new first-party games.
Miyamoto also talked
briefly about some of the changes the Wii U’s technology made on
development, and that he believes their current lineup for the system
has a weak single-player element. You can read his full statement after
I interpret the question as asking whether we are making the same mistake every time we launch a new hardware system. While we are always working on this, I think you are right in the sense that we have not been able to deliver results.
When we launched Nintendo 3DS and Nintendo DS, we were unable to release any games from any of our main Nintendo franchises to coincide with their launches. With Wii U, however, we released, along with the hardware, “New Super Mario Bros. U,” as well as “Nintendo Land,” which was a very unique proposition. If you look beyond, we also released a new installment in the Pikmin series after a long interval, and we also had “Super Mario 3D World” at the end of last year. By the end of this year, we will have “Mario Kart 8,” as well as “Super Smash Bros.” Therefore, I feel that we have managed to overcome the challenge of releasing enough first-party franchises on Wii U. Also, despite their sales falling below our expectations so far, I do not think that these games were not well-received because they lacked appeal. We received a top score for “Super Mario 3D World” from Metacritic, a site which gives weighted average scores for games, at the end of last year, and our games are highly praised for their quality.
The fact that they did not lead to generating wider consumer interest among the general public is, however, something that we have to take very seriously. If you look at just Japan, however, “Super Mario 3D World” was very well-received by children, with Cat Mario gaining ground. Consumers also seem very excited about “Mario Kart 8,” and I am confident that they will want to buy it once they have played it. Our biggest downfall last year was that we failed to communicate the true value of Wii U, failed to make children persuade their parents to buy our products for them, and failed to offer products that parents could not resist.
What we can do about it from now on is our theme. As Mr. Iwata explained earlier, we are confident that “Nintendo Land” offered compelling as well as Nintendo-like gameplay experiences for, say, four or five people when they gathered in the living room by taking full advantage of the two screens, but some of the single-player experiences were rather weak. It is my conviction that we will need to put more focus on creating experiences that utilize the GamePad that can also be fully enjoyed when playing alone. The fact that the GamePad and the TV interact as soon as Wii U is switched on is very important as it means that our consumers are always able to enjoy stable gaming experiences. Unlike a tablet device with a TV, the two screens are always connected when they are switched on.
Although we have recreated some of our past games for Wii U, we are actually trying to use many outside developers to help us do so, while we focus our internal resources on making new games. I feel confident that we have made a significant improvement in this regard. Moreover, we are trying to cut down the time it takes to create a suitable development environment as it has proven to be a huge bottleneck, and we are continuing to make improvements in this area across the whole company, too. I think that we will be able to smoothly carry out the process of upgrading Nintendo franchises and offering them to our consumers in a stable fashion on future systems.
— Shigeru Miyamto