Thursday, May 10, 2007

Lengthy Iwata interview released in full

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)


Anonymous said...

I think it's awesome how Iwata pooh-poohs Second Life. Conventional wisdom says that MySpace and Second Life and MMOs and things like that are the future and should be pursued at all costs. Iwata, and by extension Nintendo, are... ironically, always skeptical of conventional wisdom and the fads that are usually mistaken for "the future."

~Carmine "Cai" M. Red

Anonymous said...

Nintendo has also been late getting on board with a lot of things, like disk drives, hard drives, and online support, so it's easy to argue that their skepticism is hurting them.

Anonymous said...

@ starstriker

TOtally agree. nintendo is givin a nice gameplay, and their idea of making a lot of game for the non-gamers masses is great. but with all that there is a problem first of all Nintendo didnt even added a Dvd player to the system. "Comon' u can find a dvd player nowadays for like 20 bucks" the graphics have been talked way to much so im not gonna mention them.

Ok they gave us the virutal console which is great. i love to play zelda link to the past or contra 3. but comon with the network we would like to be more conected with the gamers (alright most of the non-gamers (the new to reach masses) dun do this but hey for the last 20 years we (the gamers, casual, adn hardcore) have been supporting you. gives us sumthing at least for us to be happy........alright u came up wif sum games. nice games as zelda ssx blur paper mario etc. but ill tell u the truth My Wii has been collecting dust for the last 2 or 3 month or so..why? is just that there isnt any good game to spend time for, and not to say that there are no online games "yet". right now after the hype of new control system and new gameplay Im just dissapointed wif the Wii right now.... i hope that they can get better cuz if it can happen to me then it will happen to thousands......(ps. i was a hardcore nintendo fan but now im even more interested in the 360 than Ninty....even tho i used to hate the 360 with all my soul...)

Ninty u need more Improvement.

Anonymous said...

Nintendo in fact has been doing online since the 80's, and using larger newer media as well. They had the NES/Famicom networked with the Famicom Disk Drive, The SNES had downloadable content and synchronous play over the Broadcast Satellaview. The N64 had the 64DD and Randnet.

The fact is that Nintendo is CONSTANTLY experimenting with leading technologies. They're not skeptical of the tech. They're just skeptical about how the rest of the world thinks that tech should be used.

~Carmine "Cai" M. Red

Anonymous said...

ah fuck it...Wii...definitely Wii
Playstation is simply too expensive... I was going to turn my back on Nintendo this time around but it makes sense to buy the damn thing I'm afraid....360 is apparently too loud and fragile happy ....I dislike Microsoft somehow..ever since they entered the console business...then again no GTA4?? cry cry cry

At long last, the self important irrelevant annoying laughing stock drama queen has made a choice

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