Nintendo’s proven they’re willing to create paid downloadable content for their big franchises with their efforts to increase revenues from Fire Emblem: Awakening and more recently from new Coin Rush packs for New Super Mario Bros. 2, but they don’t intend to turn what was previously free stuff into paid unlocks. So if there’s any extra stuff distributed digitally as part of Animal Crossing: New Leaf, you won’t have to buy it with real money.
Mr. Iwata says the decision to hold off on paid DLC comes despite the fact that the development team believes including it would be “unbelievably profitable.” That’s pretty darn noble.
Hop inside for his full comments.
Now that Nintendo’s set to spread the “downloadable version of packaged retail games” model across both their handheld and home console platforms with the launch of Wii U, the company’s hoping to see their highest level of download sales ever. The combination of retail downloads, Virtual Console, WiiWare, and eShop games should add up to a very healthy digital marketplace, says Mr. Iwata.
He went on to say that once Nintendo learns where they stand in the digital business and can begin forecasting download sales with some accuracy, they may begin disclosing download sales and digital performance expectations.
Nintendo views backward compatibility as critical during the early years of a system’s life. Being able to access an older software library instantly once they upgrade to a new console makes some gamers less hesitant to pick up a more recent system. That plus the potential for many years of new titles equals a game library that is constantly growing rather than being cycled out or moved to the closet with each new generation.
I’ll admit, I’m a little concerned that Nintendo’s attitude is “focus on backward compatibility at first, ignore it once the system is popular.” I expressed my discontent with their attitude toward Virtual Console very keenly in a recent op-ed piece. Am I just reading too much into things?
You be the judge – read on for Mr. Iwata’s comments.
During the original Miiverse demonstration video, released prior to E3 2012, we saw a demo that showed how we might use Miiverse in parallel with traditional gaming. Though the video didn’t directly confirm how we’d access Miiverse features from inside the games, the way things were presented did strongly suggest that we’d be able to keep the game running in the background while we use Miiverse instead of terminating play.
Satoru Iwata revealed at the Second Quarter Financial Results Q&A that this is in fact the case. You can Suspend Play to access Miiverse functions, and then jump right back into your game. Looks like Nintendo’s definitely putting the split 2GB memory, with 1GB allocated to the operating system and 1GB allocated to the games, to terrific use.
Read on for the full confirmation.
When analysts talk about the #1 threat Nintendo faces in the coming years, they don’t go to Sony or Microsoft. Instead, they think about smartphones and other mobile “smart” devices, which are becoming increasingly popular gaming devices. Nintendo doesn’t see smartphones purely as competitors, however; they also see mobile devices as their allies. That’s because Miiverse, their social gaming network, will be available for mobile devices alongside Wii U and 3DS.
Because of this, smartphones will actually increase Nintendo’s exposure, just as they did for the Nintendo Direct presentations, and Nintendo believes that they’ll be able to get more people to communicate about games and play together.
Read on for Mr. Iwata’s full comments on Nintendo embracing the mobile revolution.
We’ve already heard from various Nintendo events that we won’t need to exchange Friend Codes with others in order to add them to our friends lists on Miiverse, but now we’re hearing it officially from the horse’s mouth with less than a month to go before Wii U launch. That’s right, Satoru Iwata confirmed that you won’t need to worry about having to enter in Friend Codes to link up with others on Wii U. There’s one archaic online Nintendo-ism that’s about to bite the dust.
If you can’t take my word for it, hop inside to read Mr. Iwata’s full comment on the subject.
Satoru Iwata announced at the Second Quarter Financial Results Q&A that Nintendo is busy preparing a new Nintendo Direct presentation to show off everything Miiverse can do. He also shared a slide commenting on the pillars of Miiverse. We of course already knew that Miiverse will work as a social network service for sharing gaming experiences with others and that developers will be able to integrate Miiverse into their games in various game-specific ways, but we didn’t quite know that basic Miiverse functions will be available for every game regardless of developer participation.
The slide also features a new Miiverse logo, which I don’t believe we’ve seen before. You can see it in the image above.
We’ll bring you more information about the timing of the Nintendo Direct presentation when it becomes available to us. In the meantime, all we know is that it will be sometime between now and the launch of Wii U.
It’s no secret that established franchises tend to sell better than newer IPs. So I don’t think we should be surprised when, by the end of the fiscal year, a game like Pikmin 3 performs better on the whole than a relatively new brand like The Wonderful 101. One might say that this makes developing new IPs risky, but Nintendo says they have a solution: offer newer games as downloadable titles and see how they perform digitally.
Nintendo cites the success story of Art Academy, which started off as a DSiWare title but eventually evolved to a packaged retail game, as proof that newer franchises can score big with the established userbase if offered via digital distribution. At the same time, offering games digitally means publishers do not need to create physical inventory, and stores do not need to keep those games in stock, thus reducing the inventory risk associated with developing new franchises.
However, because those more popular established franchises remain well-liked, it’s important to keep them going by injecting innovations that keep them from growing stale. Read on for Mr. Iwata’s statements about innovation, both through new franchises and established brand names.
If you were thinking that you’d wait a year or so to pick up Wii U after its first price drop, you’d better think again. Nintendo’s shouldering a hardware loss on Wii U out the gate for a reason: they don’t intend to drop the price anytime soon after launch, so they’re going ahead and cutting the price now. Part of the reason behind their reasoning is that they do not want to price the Wii U so high that they need to cut its price in order to remain competitive, as they did with the 3DS.
He specifically remarked that Nintendo wanted to ensure they didn’t see the need for a price cut “even if it didn’t sell well,” so don’t expect the price to fluctuate much based on the system’s early performance.
Mr. Iwata also talked about some of the challenges Nintendo faces over the rest of the fiscal year, including rising foreign exchange losses for overseas markets and how they decide where they want to spend their money on future development. Read on for his full comments.
Wii and 3DS were notorious for being launched as “incomplete” hardware. Both lacked web browser support at launch, and both saw massive expansions of their online stores from a very limited variety to a much larger lineup. On the other hand, Nintendo games have only rarely seen software patches – I can count the number of updates I’ve downloaded so far on one hand. Why such a big difference between their approach to offering polished software versus hardware?
Read on for Mr. Iwata’s full statement about Nintendo’s policy about updating software.
I’ve long thought that Nintendo’s strategy with software delays has more to do with ensuring they can satisfy as much consumer demand as possible than with actually making sure that games can be ready by the time they launch – and Mr. Iwata’s comments on the long list of first-party games due for early 2013 seems to corroborate my suspicions.
According to Mr. Iwata, a bunch of the games now slated for the “launch window” were actually originally targeted for the holidays. Because of the large number of third-party titles available at launch, however, Nintendo decided they could spread out their first-party releases over the typically dry “early 2013″ period, including Pikmin 3 and Wii Fit U, as well as second-party games like The Wonderful 101.
Read on for Mr. Iwata’s full comment on the subject.
I said last week that Wii Sports was the game that propelled Wii, and that Nintendo Land could be the game that propels Wii U in much the same way. And Nintendo believes this as well. A big part of their comparison between the two has to do with one of the key things they have in common: once people get playing, they really begin to appreciate it and want to share that experience with others.
According to Mr. Iwata, because Nintendo bundled Wii Sports with Wii for its Western launch, people tried it out who may not have given it a chance otherwise. These players shared it with friends and family, and as a result, its popularity grew. This is the same philosophy that’s driving Nintendo’s decision to bundle Nintendo Land with the Deluxe Set – they hope that even players who might have overlooked it will enjoy it anyway because it comes with the system and will share it with others and create a similar phenomenon.
Read on for Mr. Iwata’s full comments on the decision to bundle Nintendo Land.