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Nintendo Investor Q&A now out in English (unannounced games coming before March 2014)

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Lots of juicy info! Get it from the direct source and not from distorted second hand clickbait articles that chop up the Q&A to take stuff out of context for extra per-click ad revenue!

 

http://www.nintendo.co.jp/ir/en/stock/meeting/130627qa/index.html

 

Some choice exepts...

 

Q1: I enjoyed Nintendo Direct yesterday, so I would like to “directly” ask a question to Mr. Iwata and Mr. Miyamoto. I am afraid that personally the new hardware systems announced at E3 were not a big surprise. Some games certainly had breathtaking graphics, but their gameplay seemed as if they were an extension of existing games. Wii U is no exception to me. I think it is unfortunate that there have been no unique games only it could provide yet. It is true that “Off TV Play” is very convenient when we play Virtual Console games, but Wii U itself has not surprised me as much as Wii, which created a new form of entertainment that revolutionized conventional wisdom. Also, I saw the first-party software lineup for Wii U to be released until 2014, which was announced in “Nintendo Direct@E3 2013,” as continuations of existing games and found nothing in it that seemed possible only on Wii U. This is also true for third-party games. I am concerned that no one in the video game industry will be able to create anything new in the near future because developers have reached their creative limits. Nintendo is supposed to create products that can be enjoyed by many people regardless of age, gender or gaming experience, in accordance with its philosophy of “gaming population expansion.” However, most of the games in the current lineup are for those who have some interest in games. Some Japanese software developers focus on creating innovative games, but this appears to be possible only when they are small companies. Is Nintendo faced with a dilemma of attempting to improve its business performance while creating innovative games for a new consumer base?

1

Satoru Iwata (President, Chairperson of the shareholders' meeting):

 

Thank you for your comments which include your encouraging messages to us. Please let me explain a few things from your message for those who do not usually play games. For example, “Off TV Play” means that, as the controller for Wii U is equipped with its own screen, users can play games on Wii U without looking at the TV screen. This is one of the unique features of Wii U and we often hear positive comments about how useful it is.

I understand, however, that what you would like to say is that “Off TV Play” eliminates location restrictions, but it doesn’t change the way users play. In other words, you have not experienced the wow factor that you did with “nintendogs” or “Brain Age” for Nintendo DS or “Wii Sports” or “Wii Fit” for Wii.

 

Generational changes of video game systems happen every few years and what they are capable of improves each time. Video game systems, which can be classified as computers that produce real-time graphics, recently have become powerful enough to be able to depict more photorealistic scenes and animate a lot of things more accurately on the screen. You pointed out that people are becoming less and less impressed by such evolutions in graphics. As a matter of fact, this is being discussed in the video game industry and some are concerned that this increased burden on developers is not necessarily linked to consumer satisfaction.

 

Some shareholders here reacted when you said “directly” in your question. I think they are familiar with our efforts to directly give information on new games to consumers on the Internet through our regular Nintendo Direct presentations. We started this approach in October 2011 and recently many people view these broadcasts. E3 is the video game industry’s biggest trade show, which is held in Los Angeles in the U.S. each June. At the start of the E3 show this year, we announced our Wii U software lineup until 2014 mainly through Nintendo Direct, rather than holding a large-scale presentation as we did in previous years. However, we did not announce all of the games to be released during this period. Most of those who are interested in E3 are video game fans that are eager for information on so-called traditional games and we had a lot of information to be disclosed to such people. Therefore, we first tried to inform consumers of the software lineup to relieve those who might think that they should have waited to buy Wii U until more games were released or those who might be concerned whether the software lineup will be really be enriched in the future. On the other hand, when it comes to brand-new types of games, we have to announce them not too far in advance of the actual release dates in order to have a strong impact in the market and minimize the chance of others introducing similar or competing products. We are working on new types of games, but we would like to announce them much closer to their actual release timings for this reason.

 

We would like as many people as possible to pick up, experience and enjoy our video games. It is important to let people who originally had no interest in games, find themselves enjoying Wii U in their living room every day. We must also satisfy avid video game fans. When it comes to Wii, as “Wii Sports” spread throughout the world at a sensational speed, some misunderstood that all Wii could do is enable them to play games by moving the Wii Remote. With Wii U, therefore, we planned to satisfy existing video game fans first and provide new surprises later. But, just as you pointed out, it is becoming increasingly difficult for the consumers to be impressed by improvements in graphics alone, so we would like to seek different ways to make an impression on consumers.

 

As you requested, I would like Mr. Miyamoto to say something about “Pikmin 3,” which we will release next month. I think the quality of this game is something that only Wii U can achieve. Last night we broadcast a Nintendo Direct featuring “Pikmin 3.” Mr. Hitoshi Matsumoto, a member of the comedy duo “Downtown” who is a big fan of the Pikmin series and asked Mr. Miyamoto many questions about “Pikmin 3” when they appeared on a TV talk show, played “Pikmin 3” with Mr. Miyamoto for the Nintendo Direct broadcast. You can find the video on YouTube or our official website. I hope you will take the time to watch it.

 

Shigeru Miyamoto (Senior Managing Director, General Manager of Entertainment Analysis and Development Division):

 

I have worked hard to develop “Pikmin 3.” I strongly feel that this game is suitable for a broad range of people, from casual to core game players. The dilemma the questioner pointed out is true for the whole video game industry. I think, however, this kind of thing exists in every industry. For example, the business of TV stations is based on TV commercials, but with the emergence of Internet advertising, TV stations no longer have a monopoly on commercials. Similarly, the video game industry now has smartphones, which have almost the same power as dedicated gaming systems, except for the user interface, and all of which are connected to the Internet. However, I don’t think it is a new thing. Not to change the subject, but I was a fan of a morning TV series, “Gegege no Nyobo (*),” and I was interested in how the history of manga (Japanese comics), from picture-story shows to TV animations, was introduced. People who have survived such a rapidly changing environment are very responsive to changes in the media and are very quick to adapt. As Nintendo has done business in the video game industry for a considerable amount of time, we have been able to have a broad perspective on the tide of video games to some extent, which led to our creation of Nintendo DS and Wii. We will do our best to continue this stance. As the questioner suggested, it is true that we cannot help giving certain priority to well-known titles to aim at a certain level of profits because retailers tend to eagerly purchase the games for which they can forecast the sales. However, we are always making efforts to create other brand-new titles.

 

So Nintendo do have games in development that are built around utilising the unique features of the Wii U (like assymettric play, motion control etc). It's just that they're focusing on getting out the typical "traditional" Nintendo titles in the short term in order to spur sales amongst the faithful and get retailers interested in stocking the console :) (they also admit that they were pandering with their E3 lineup and purposely focused heavily on sequels because that's what they felt that fans were wanting to see).

 

When it comes to the scale of software development, Wii U with HD graphics requires about twice the human resources than before. Please allow me to explain that we may have underestimated the scale of this change and as a result, the overall software development took more time than originally anticipated just as we tried to polish the software at the completion phase of development. However, we are almost out of this phase, and we are also trying to create something unique utilizing an easier development approach called “Nintendo Web Framework.”

 

So they claim that the problem wasn't really a matter of them not being able to properly develop for the hardware, but that it's just down to sheer manpower and that they're nearly out of that period... (I wonder what they're referring to with that... Collaborations?)

 

Also, it is sometimes said that Nintendo has recently had no new franchises. At E3 this year, some said that Nintendo is always showing the same series of games, but this is because we mainly featured the characters from our franchises in our exhibition booth. There were six featured areas of our franchises in our booth, including Zelda, Mario and Donkey Kong, and the visitors were able to take commemorative photos with these characters. Considering that visitors will not enjoy less well-known franchises in such areas, we did it in this way, which resulted in such a criticism, I think. On the other hand, I think it is one of our advantages to have such franchises. When some young in-house developers come up with an idea of a new franchise, I say that creating a new character does not necessarily mean creating a new franchise. In my view, a new way of playing or new use of media is necessary for a “new product” and creating a character is not the first thing to do. In this sense, “nintendogs,” “Brain Age” and “Wii Fit” are all new franchises. Few people see it this way because these games have no symbolic “character” like the existence of Mario, but they are actually contributing to our sales. I would like to continue developing video games with the view of entertaining a wide variety of people including the existing video game fans. Thank you so much for your support

 

A problem that I have commented on many times before. For loads of people, new franchises like Rhythm Heaven and Wii Sports "don't count" because they don't have a single representitive character like say, Mario or Pikmin.

 

But we now have the environment where we can do such things, and as we considered what we could do with Nintendo 3DS, we felt that it might be interesting to expand StreetPass Mii Plaza by adopting a similar (competition-style) model that we took in the past, and I’m happy to say that the new StreetPass games are the product of our year-long preparations.As you pointed out, we only started distributing those new games a week ago, but already more than two hundred thousand consumers had purchased at least one out of those four games by last Sunday. We employed no mass-media advertising so we think we are off to a good start. I think that products like these ones will provide new business opportunities for Nintendo in the future. I take it that you are very satisfied with our new games, and we feel that if our consumers determine that the price of a particular game that we offer matches the content that it offers, then there will be more people who try our new propositions. We would certainly like to consider new possibilities for our future endeavors. Thank you for your question.

 

So the new Streetpass Plaza games took 1 year to develop and sold over 200,000 copies collectively in less than a week. Not bad! :D

 

I have put a lot of energy into thinking about how we can accomplish this performance goal, but comparatively I have not put much effort into considering what we should do if we fail to achieve it. I also believe now is not the time to mention those things concretely. In that sense, I would like you to think that the word “commitment,” which I used before, means we have the intention to put in our best effort and ensure that we achieve this goal. The reports about the possibility that we do fail to achieve it, I understand, are what other people interpreted the word “commitment” to mean. I interpreted your question as one of encouragement. Thank you.

 

Iwata ain't resigning any time soon (as I predicted, his original quote in Japanese was taken out of context)

 

They also go over Nintendo Web Framework in more detail (and how it has been in development for roughly 2 years), go over how they intend to deal with misleading and biased online web articles about Nintendo and a few other nice bits N' bobs that I'll leave you to discover on your own ;)

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Thanks for posting. A good read.

 

All kinda common sense stuff in my opinion. Solid, understandable reasoning behind why they're at where they're at with the lack of games and thus lack of sales etc.

 

I like that they tend to be honest with why things are the way they are at present.

 

Just looking forward to coming out the other end and enjoying all of the great games that will be on offer! : peace:

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I just like how they went out of their way to acknowledge how Off TV Play doesn't change the way a game plays and that they have games in development that will make more use of the two screen setup/Miiverse etc.

 

Steel Diver 2 will probably be one of them I bet. Miyamoto mentioned that this was coming out this fiscal year and of course that hasn't been announced yet (the ability to have a simultaneous above water and underwater view is a really obvious use for two screens that would certainly qualify as an all new experience that is immediately understandable to the layman... ;) )

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He seemed to say over 200000 consumers. S more than that total as he said those 200000 bought at least one. Impressive considering they haven't been marketed or even reviewed in anyway.

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Awesome Q&A. Still, sounds like it'll be another 12 months and beyond before they hit top gear. HR for HD development sounds like it derailed Wii U plans a lot. Duh! You do worry for Nintendo in this era. For example iwata mentioned about not wanting to sack staff or increase work loads and pressure on workers which is totally the opposite to western studios. I believe a happy worker makes for a better game and you would probably notice the difference if they weren't.

 

So I hope they do cope with the move to HD and nothing internal snaps or breaks so that the company's fundamental philosophies have to change.

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Well it does seem nice that they actually did E3 the way they did on purpose but I'm pretty shocked that they think that the normal gaming audience would prefer to see more sequels than different and whacky games.

 

My feeling about the Wii U lineup feels very much like the GameCube's at the time... Except that the GCN had Metroid Prime, Eternal Darkness and Resident Evil 4. It's just full of sequels and Mario fatigue.

 

One section I'm particularly shocked and a little worried about is that they Pikmin could only have been done on the Wii U, which is complete tosh. Either they are willingly ignoring the market or flat out lying to the investors there. Don't get me wrong, only Nintendo could make the game but it doesnt have to be on Wii U. In fact there are only 2 games on the system which wouldn't be possible on any others and by mid-2014 I still reckon that we will only have 3. I wonder how they are going to develop interest with such familiar feeling sequels.

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Well it does seem nice that they actually did E3 the way they did on purpose but I'm pretty shocked that they think that the normal gaming audience would prefer to see more sequels than different and whacky games.

 

My feeling about the Wii U lineup feels very much like the GameCube's at the time... Except that the GCN had Metroid Prime, Eternal Darkness and Resident Evil 4. It's just full of sequels and Mario fatigue.

 

One section I'm particularly shocked and a little worried about is that they Pikmin could only have been done on the Wii U, which is complete tosh. Either they are willingly ignoring the market or flat out lying to the investors there. Don't get me wrong, only Nintendo could make the game but it doesnt have to be on Wii U. In fact there are only 2 games on the system which wouldn't be possible on any others and by mid-2014 I still reckon that we will only have 3. I wonder how they are going to develop interest with such familiar feeling sequels.

How can they not think that when they look at the sales of the games? The different/wacky ones do badly while sequels do well. They're a business and not a charity so they do need to consider the bottomline. Yet, despite this, they finance games like Wonderful 101 so it's not like they are totally ignoring this.

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How can they not think that when they look at the sales of the games? The different/wacky ones do badly while sequels do well. They're a business and not a charity so they do need to consider the bottomline. Yet, despite this, they finance games like Wonderful 101 so it's not like they are totally ignoring this.

 

These are the games that people buy when they already have the system though and don't get me wrong, they fill an important part of the catalogue. But they are not going to make people who wouldn't automatically buy a Wii U go out and land their cash.

 

I agree with you about Wonderful 101. But Nintendo's top priority should be making a game that ticks all of the boxes and not just some of them. For instance W101 looks like a great game but I'm not going to be surprised if people think it looks too Japanese-silly for them to look into it further. Nintendo are going to need some smart advertising to get people to see fun it's going to be. And let's face it, based on their recent track record, they are going to fail badly at that.

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