Nintendo has just released a full transcript of its Financial Results Briefing Q&A, dated April 27th. In it, the company´s president Satoru Iwata answers a wealth of questions. Some of them have been discussed already, but a whole number of them have not.
About Wii hype in the US
Frankly speaking, Wii unfortunately did not receive as much positive anticipation as we had hoped it would before the launch. Accordingly, Nintendo had to rely upon its first-party titles to create the momentum.
As of today, however, between the first-party and second-party titles alone that will be sold under Nintendo’s brand name, we have 45 titles for Wii and 79 titles for DS under development. Of course, I cannot say that all these titles will definitely be sold eventually, but these titles were actually given development budgets, specific development teams have been assigned and they are developing the games.
About purchasing a majority stake in Monolith Soft
The value of software developing companies is attached to its people, not the company, which is merely a vessel for its people. So, when we purchase a company, we can purchase the vessel, but we cannot necessarily purchase the contents. Even if we should compete with others to purchase a software company, although we might be able to increase the sheer number of our developers and to gain a short-term result, we do not think it will do good for us in the long run. We have been repeatedly saying that we will not do that kind of M&A. [mergers and acquisitions]
In the case of Monolith Software, Mr. Sugiura, the president, and Nintendo have a long-term relationship. How Mr. Sugiura thinks is close to how Nintendo thinks. The software Mr. Sugiura would like to create is in line with what Nintendo would like to have for its platform. So, we thought that Nintendo should support this idea, and we decided to take action. If certain conditions are met, we may do the same thing in the future (M&A). However, we will be very careful and selective, so that we will only partner with people with whom Nintendo can create a long-term working relationship.
About the possibility of new Wii channels utilizing micro transactions
The structure to electronically deliver and bill for the contents is up and running globally, as has already been demonstrated with the Virtual Console. So, when Nintendo thinks we have a Channel which is worth asking our customers to pay for, we are in a position to make a business out of it. (...)
We have no intention to charge for [the] existing free services out of the blue, but when it comes to future Wii Channels, there must be a number of possibilities, and aside from the business model in which we receive money directly from our customers, we may also be able to establish a new type of business model, to receive advertisement fees or by an alliance with other companies. (...)
Although I do not have any concrete plan as to when and what kind of businesses we will initiate, an increasing number of companies are approaching us with their proposals, so we may be able to make some announcement not too far in the future. It is too premature for me to predict the size such a business could be.
About software sales targets
The number of software developers who are partnering with Nintendo may increase. Also, when a certain platform can enjoy good sales, third-party software publishers will see it as a good business opportunity. That kind of aspect was also included when I said that we would like to establish a market where more than 300 million software can be sold in one year.
About the Wii being particularly suited for first person shooters (FPS)
I think it is one of the important elements for us in order to expand the gaming population. For those who are accustomed to it and currently enjoying it, manipulating two levers at the same time to aim the target and move the character is easy, but it is almost impossible for beginners. After all, it is not something we are doing in our daily lives.
Even those who are not good at FPS are now commenting that the Wii Remote and Nunchuk are lowering the hurdle for them to get started. We really want to invite newcomers to the world of first-person shooter games. Also, there are other areas where rather sophisticated play control systems have already been established, such as sports game titles that EA is famous for. With the Wii Remote and Nunchuk, we believe there are lots of new possibilities which are worth exploring.
About hardware production
It looks like some people are misunderstanding that Nintendo is not incorporating state-of-the-art technologies into its products. It is not true. Just as an example, we are using the state-of-the-art technologies to realize the compact-sized Wii console with low power consumption.
Making a significant volume of the high-tech hardware, and making an additional volume, is not an easy task at all. In fact, when we clear one bottleneck for a production
increase, we will face another one.
About the massive multiplayer game ´Second Life´
I personally have virtually no interest in Second Life. I don’t think it will be considered as an important existence in the future. That is all I can say today.
About Kutaragi´s departure from SCEI.
Please give us your impressions about the announcement that Mr. Kutaragi resigns from his post of chairman at Sony Computer.
I cannot say anything. Of course, it is not something we decide. Even if you ask me, I am not in a position to say anything. Sorry. (...)
Though Mr. Kutaragi will leave the front line operations of Sony, I can hardly imagine that he will retire from any activities in the video game industry. How about headhunting him?
I don’t think we will do that.
On winning the console war in the US
All I can say is, we would like to make efforts to make that happen. It is the analysts’ job to predict whether or not we can make it, isn’t it? (laugh) (...)
We want as many people around the world as possible to accept our commodities, and we would like to put smiles on as many people as possible.
Source: Nintendo of America press server (PDF, registration required)