THE BUZZ: Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has said that the reason the company lost out on sales this generation was due to neglecting core gamers during the Wii’s early life cycle.
Iwata said in a financial results briefing that Nintendo couldn’t capitalize on its early hardware sales because these casual gamers were just simply not buying enough software. The aim with Wii U is to go after the core market early in order to establish a stable base for the console.
“If you ask us whether everything Nintendo has done was right or whether we would use the same tactics if the company’s policy or strategy remains the same, there are issues to overcome.”
“For example, the Wii was able to reach a large number of new consumers who had never played games before by bringing hands-on experiences with its Wii Sports and Wii Fit. However, we could not adequately create the situation that such new consumers played games frequently or for long, consistent periods. As a result, we could not sustain a good level of profit.”
“Moreover, regrettably, what we prioritized in order to reach out to the new audience was a bit too far from what we prioritized for those who play games as their hobby. Consequently, we presume some people felt that the Wii was not a game system for them or they were not willing to play with the Wii even though some compelling games had been released… Once consumers have a notion that ‘this system is not for us,’ we have learned that it is extremely difficult to change their perceptions later.”
“Therefore, in promoting the Nintendo 3DS and the Wii U, we have announced that we would like ‘width’ and ‘depth’ to coexist. With the Nintendo DS and the Wii, the approach of ‘width’ was well accepted by many people; however, what we did in terms of ‘depth’ was not satisfactory for some consumers. This time, we would like consumers to be satisfied in both aspects.”
“In order to do so, we started to work on the ‘depth’ aspect first, and the current and existing software you can see for the Nintendo 3DS is based on that idea. In the future, the approach will evolve. By exploring the development both from width and depth standpoints, it is our intention to satisfy a wider audience with one gaming platform.”
“Our approach for the Wii U is basically the same. By doing so continuously, we are expecting that the number of game users per household will increase and as the gaming population increases, we believe we can create a sustainable video game market. We would like to materialize what I have said for both the Nintendo 3DS and the Wii U in the future.”
EGM’s TAKE: This is the most honest representation of the company’s strategy and financial results that we’ve seen so far. It’s refreshing to see a company owning up to its errors and explaining how it plans to rectify them, without the need for excuses. Nintendo enjoyed their crazy sales figures during the Wii’s first six months, but thanks to low software sales, something that is key to a console’s success, it was unable to prevent profits from continually falling. After the initial burst, there was no way that hardware sales alone were going to make up the deficit. Many top developers have already pledged their allegiance to the Wii U, which is a clear indication of its new core outlook. But will it be enough?