Nintendo president Satoru Iwata, during an analyst briefing, discussed some of the challenges that the Wii U faces in regards to its competition with Xbox One and PlayStation 4.
He specifically talked about how people don’t seem to quite understand the role of the GamePad. “I would say that ‘Nintendo Land’ has not fulfilled the same role as ‘Wii Sports’ did when we bundled it with Wii,” he said, trying to explain why consumers haven’t accepted the GamePad in the alike way they were drawn towards the motion controllers of the previous generation.
“Of course, we won’t remain silent and do nothing,” he continued. We are going to release a variety of Wii U software, and with each title, we would like to show how convenient and delightful it is to have the Wii U GamePad controller, and how it changes the gaming experience.” Then he pointed to Pikmin 3 as a game that possibly will fulfill that role.
As for third party support, Iwata said Nintendo plans on continuing to developer quality software to sell the console, which will, in turn, draw outside developers in to develop for the platform. In order to do so, however, Nintendo must compete with the ever-growing smartphone and tablet gaming scene. Iwata knows this.
“Under these circumstances, we feel that it is important to offer games that are even more polished than before in terms of quality to have consumers buy our products, understand the value that they offer and recommend them to others by word-of-mouth,” he said. “It now requires incredibly high-quality products to satisfy consumers to the level where they feel compelled to recommend them to others; the barriers are indeed higher than before.
“We had to push back the releases of some games because it has become more difficult to satisfy the quality standards that we feel are necessary for games to satisfy before they are released. It was not because it took us more time to take advantage of what is unique about the hardware.”
Iwata repeatedly stated that there are third party developers actively making games for the Wii U.
Lastly, the Nintendo president discussed free-to-play and his company’s take on the model. “The ability to offer software in a digital format has given us greater flexibility in terms of how we offer our products to consumers and how to monetize them. However, we are not planning to offer, for example, Mario or Pokémon games in a free-to-play format.”
He is confident that Nintendo holds enough trust amongst consumers to sell more established franchise entries for full game prices, but what about new IPs? “In such circumstances, our current platforms (Nintendo 3DS and Wii U), which give us various monetization options that would not have been possible on past Nintendo platforms, enable us to make propositions in a free-to-play format,” he says.
Nintendo has so far focused on our packaged software business, but we are planning to take on the challenge of releasing free-to-play games too. I believe we will be able to make concrete propositions within this fiscal year,” continued Iwata.
“On the other hand, free-to-play games, if unbalanced, could result in some consumers paying extremely large amounts of money, and we can certainly not expect to build a good relationship with our consumers in this fashion. In order to have a favorable long-term relationship, we would like to offer free-to-play games that are balanced and reasonable.”