Iwata Admits Wii U Basically Failed, Claims NX Will Do Things Differently
Iwata was thrown a pretty rough question at the latest Nintendo Shareholders Meeting, and he handled it with, well, a lot of words.
A shareholder asked Iwata about the failures of the Wii U and 3DS, inquiring as to how they would avoid the same issue with NX. Iwata admits defeat on the current generation front, then expertly dodges saying anything meaningful about their plans for NX. In fact, it seems the only reason Nintendo even said anything about NX is because people were worried Nintendo would stop making hardware. Iwata claims that the company isn't ready to show anything related to NX, but that when it launches, they'll have a "Nintendo-like solution" to the launch, whatever that means.
If you're interested, read the full exchange below:
Q: I have the impression that the launches of the two systems, Nintendo 3DS and Wii U, were consecutive failures. Nintendo 3DS seemed to recover after the hardware markdown and the availability of a wide selection of third-party software. As for Wii U, the situation does not look so good. I have the same concern for the launch of the new NX. What measures are you taking to avoid the same mistakes? Also, please comment on your collaborative relationships with third parties from whom you currently lack support.
A: The situation for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U is in line with what you mentioned. For Wii U in particular, it cannot be said that it had a successful launch. As for Nintendo 3DS, in Japan there was a temporary slowdown but we managed to make a recovery by offering a number of initiatives collectively. On the other hand, Wii U has not been able to recover at this point in time. Because of this, the size of the installed base compared to the Nintendo DS or Wii eras appears not to be as solid and this is reflected in the company’s profitability. But taking a look back, it was not the case that Nintendo DS sold with huge momentum from the beginning. When it first started to lose momentum, we offered a number of titles from a new genre, such as “nintendogs” or “Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day,” and these titles were widely accepted even by those who had never played video games in the past. This sequence of events led to a very large business. The platform business can sometimes be referred to as a “momentum business.” Thus, it is ideal to have a jump start and drive momentum. Looking back at some of Nintendo’s past platforms, this ideal launch has been achieved 100 percent by perhaps only Wii. Even the Nintendo DS launch had areas in which we could have done better. I cannot disagree with your indication that Wii U is experiencing the most unfavorable situation.
Since the word “NX” has been mentioned, please let me elaborate. When Nintendo announced the collaboration with DeNA on March 17 of this year, I mentioned that Nintendo is currently developing a new dedicated video game system codenamed “NX.” The reason I mentioned this was, at that time, there were more than a certain number of people that thought that Nintendo would give up on the dedicated game system business and concentrate on smart device application development, or that Nintendo should take that path. In addition, such tone could be seen frequently through the media. I felt it was necessary to communicate that Nintendo is not pessimistic about the future of the dedicated game system business but rather more and more eager to continue it. On the other hand, details on the new platform essentially should come later. This is because the entertainment business has an aspect where there is value in surprising consumers. It is not convincing enough to the consumer if we describe how the magic works before actually showing it to them and then expecting them to be surprised or delighte