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A beginner's guide to Iwata's plans to save Nintendo

Ben Parfitt
A beginner's guide to Iwata's plans to save Nintendo

Nintendo president Saturo Iwata this morning outlined his vision for the saving of Nintendo.

It’s not a short document, In fact, it’s an incredibly long one that touches on a huge number of subjects, some of which are predictable and some of which are surprising.

Here MCV highlights the key points and summarises exactly what they mean:


* Iwata on snubbing the naysayers:

“Nintendo will not change. We do not hold a pessimistic view of the future of dedicated video game platforms. We therefore believe that dedicated video game platforms which integrate hardware and software will remain our core business. Naturally, we are moving ahead with research and development efforts for future hardware as we have done before and we are not planning to give up our own hardware systems and shift our axis toward other platforms.”

Translated: We’re not going multiplatform. We’ve got more hardware on the way. And no, we’re not doing a Sega. Do one.


Iwata on Nintendo’s history of evolution:

“Nintendo has always flexibly innovated itself in line with the times. After Nintendo started the manufacture and sale of traditional Japanese playing cards 125 years ago, it has innovated itself from a playing card company to a toy company, a toy company to an electronic toy company and an electronic toy company to a company running video game platforms. What has remained the same, however, was we always tried to create something new from materials and technologies available at that time and to position entertainment as our core business.”

Translated: We’ve been around for over a century and you reckon we can’t survive an iffy console launch? Yeah right! We used to make playing cards, then we made arcade machine, now we make consoles. Who knows what we’ll make tomorrow. Metal gorillas? Interactive doormats? Calcium powered haiku generators? Time will tell. But we’re going nowhere, son.


* Iwata on Nintendo’s limited manpower:

“Nintendo is not a resource-rich company, with only a little more than 5,000 employees. We have often received advice on overcoming our weaknesses in comparison with other companies and have been questioned about why Nintendo doesn’t follow suit when something is already booming. From a medium to long-term standpoint, however, we don’t believe that following trends will lead to a positive outcome for Nintendo as an entertainment company. Instead, we should continue to make our best efforts to seek a blue ocean with no rivals and create a new market with innovative offerings as a medium- to long-term goal.”

Translated: Releasing a new console that offers 4k graphics and runs four SLI GeForce Titans just to try and ‘beat’ PS4 and Xbox One ain’t our thing. Sony and Microsoft have their thing, we’ll have ours thanks very much.


Iwata on Wii U not being doomed:

“As a platform in its second year, Wii U is currently in a very difficult position. Obviously, under the current situation where the company has to report an operating loss, simply executing a price reduction as a way to defuse the situation is not an option. Unfortunately, as the current situation of Wii U shows, we have not been able to fully communicate the value of the GamePad. What’s even worse is that there even appear to be not a small number of consumers who think the GamePad is one of the accessories for the previous platform, Wii. Therefore, we intend to take on this challenge, and I would like to have this solved before the year-end sales season.”

Translated: Have you seen our financials? And you want me to CUT the price of Wii U? Are you mental? Look, our adverts have been rubbish and if we can just advertise the thing better folk are bound to buy it, right? Because it’s a brilliant console isn’t it? ISN’T IT?


Iwata on NFC being a thing people care about:

“The GamePad is the only video game platform with an NFC reader/writer function. Pokémon Rumble U has already taken advantage of this, but aside from this title, Wii U has failed to make use of the full potential of this function so far. This year, we will make full use of this function by preparing multiple proposals, including the implementation of NFC payments with JR East’s Suica, which we announced on a previous occasion. We will showcase our detailed propositions for utilizing the NFC functionality at E3 in Los Angeles in June.”

Translated: Name me one other console that lets you stand plastic figures on the controller? Go on, just one. You can’t, can you? Wii U may lag behind in the graphics and third party software stakes but it’s the world’s No.1 console when it comes to standing plastic figures on the controller. And we’re gonna go BIG with that, baby.


Iwata on being impatient with technology:

“After starting up Wii U, there is a wait of over 20 seconds before we can select a video game title, and hence it is not an ideal situation for users now. To solve this problem, a quick start menu for the GamePad will become a reality after a future system update planned for early summer. We think that this function will make you feel that the time to start up a Wii U software title is cut by more than 50 per cent, and that it will also lead to more Wii U users understanding the appealing nature of the GamePad.”

Translated: Thinking about it, the big problem with Wii U has got to be the amount of time it takes to load up and boot a game, right? Well we can sort that out real easy. Maybe then you’ll all FINALLY understand.


Iwata on the forgotten success of 3DS:

“The situation for Nintendo 3DS is very different from Wii U. Even though we weren’t able to achieve explosive growth in the overseas markets during the year-end sales season, the fact remains that Nintendo 3DS was the top-selling game device around the world last year.”

Translated: OK, OK, folk might not ‘get’ the Wii U just yet. But we’ve sold nearly 43m of these bad boys. Count ‘em. What have you sold 43m of?


Iwata on allowing users to transfer their accounts across devices:

“On Wii U, we launched Nintendo Network IDs. This is the first step of our efforts to transform customer relationship management from device-based to account-based. Our future platform will connect with our consumers based on accounts, not devices. Of course, when we do launch new hardware in the future, rather than re-creating an installed base from scratch as we did in the past, we wish to build on our existing connections with our consumers through NNIDs and continue to maintain them.”

Translated: See, we’re leading the way once again. Now if you buy games from us you WON’T have to pay again if someone steals your console. What, Sony, Microsoft, Apple, Google and every other tech company in existence already does this? Bullshit! You’re kidding?


Iwata on smartphones:

“Given that the competition for consumers’ time and attention has become fierce, I feel that how we will take advantage of smart devices is an extremely important question to answer. However, in order to be absolutely clear, let me emphasize that this does not mean simply supplying Nintendo games on smart devices. Taking advantage of smart devices means connecting with all consumers, including those who do not own Nintendo’s video game systems, through smart devices and communicating the value of our entertainment offerings. I have often heard the opinion from many that Nintendo should release its first-party content on smart devices. Many people say that releasing Nintendo’s software assets for smart devices would expand our business. However, we believe that we cannot show our strength as an integrated hardware-software business in this field, and therefore it would difficult to continue the same scale of business in the medium- to long term. Therefore, we would like to, instead of directly expanding our business on smart devices, focus on achieving greater ties with our consumers on smart devices and expanding our platform business. We will use a small, select team of developers to achieve it. We feel that we will not be able to gain the support of many consumers unless we are able to provide something truly valuable that is unique to Nintendo. Accordingly, I have not given any restrictions to the development team, even not ruling out the possibility of making games or using our game characters. However, if you report that we will release Mario on smart devices, it would be a completely misleading statement.”

Translated: Smartphones, smartphones, smartphones. I’m sick of it. Just cut it out, alright? Look, we’re not going to release our games on smartphones. OK? We’re not doing it. Although we might, I suppose. You’ll have to ask the team handling the smartphone stuff. I’ve told them they can do whatever they want. What, they’ve announced Super Mario 3D World 2 for iOS? You’re winding me up, right? I just thought they were going to make an eShop app? FFS!


Iwata on the price of console games:

“The way in which dedicated video game systems and their software are sold has not changed significantly since the business model of dedicated video game platforms was first established 30 years ago. This simple model received widespread support from consumers that enabled us to create today’s market. The decision to change it is the manifestation of our recognition that we cannot expect this model to work forever amid dynamic changes in people’s lifestyles.”

Translated: Personally I think you’re crazy if you think £40 is too much for something as fantastic Super Mario 3D World but fine, if you’re not going to buy the sodding thing have it your way. You can download the bloody thing for nowt if you like but then we’ll make you pay £2.50 FOR EACH LEVEL! How d’you like dem apples?


Iwata on rewarding loyal customers with discounted games:

“Until now it has been taken for granted that software is offered to users at the same price regardless of how many titles they purchase in a year. Based on our account system, if we can offer flexible price points to consumers who meet certain conditions, we can create a situation where these consumers can enjoy our software at cheaper price points when they purchase more. Inviting friends to start playing a particular software title is also an example of a possible condition. If we can achieve such a sales mechanism, we can expect to increase the number of players per title, and the players will play our games with more friends. When one platform maintains a high active use ratio, the software titles which run on it have a higher potential to be noticed by many, which leads to more people playing with more titles.”

Translated: You bought a Wii U? My god, I love you. Here, have some money off! And get your mates to buy one too, right?


Iwata on sharing around that rich stable of IP:

“We are planning to utilize Nintendo’s abundance of character IP more actively. I think the reason that Nintendo is now considered to have this ‘abundance of character IP’ is perhaps because of our passive approach toward the character IP licensing business, which tends to have a high risk of damaging the value of the character. However, we are going to change our policy going forward. To be more precise, we will actively expand our character licensing business, including proactively finding appropriate partners. Also, we will be flexible about forming licensing relationships in areas we did not license in the past, such as digital fields, provided we are not in direct competition and we can form win-win relationships. By moving forward with such activities globally, we aim to increase consumer exposure to Nintendo characters by making them appear in places other than on video game platforms.”

Translated: They’re making a Sly Cooper film? Really? Then why on earth aren’t we making a Mario film? Sod it, sign off a trilogy. This is a license to print money!


Iwata on the opportunity of emerging markets:

“So far, we have localized our products which we distribute in developed markets, where video game markets have been firmly established. This method worked to some extent in the past, but it has recently become far more difficult to recoup our investment because of increasing hardware production costs and the cost of localizing highly sophisticated and complicated software. For a large majority of consumers in the new markets, however, the current prices of hardware and software in the existing markets are generally difficult to accept. To leverage Nintendo’s strength as an integrated hardware-software business, we will not rule out the idea of offering our own hardware for new markets, but for dramatic expansion of the consumer base there, we require a product family of hardware and software with an entirely different price structure from that of the developed markets. As you might know from today’s topics of redefining the concept of a video game platform and taking advantage of smart devices, we aim to connect with consumers who do not own Nintendo’s video game systems yet, which will play an important role in cultivating new markets.”

Translated: They’re opening up the Chinese market? Sweeeet! They’ll pay £250 for a Wii U, right? What, they won’t? Oh. Forget what I said about Super Mario 3D World 2 on iOS. Get on that PRONTO. They’ll have NEVER played anything like it before. A couple of hours with that and they’ll sell a kidney to get their hands on a Wii U.


Iwata on expanding beyond games into the health market:

“We will attempt to establish a new platform business with which we can leverage our strengths, but which is independent from our video game platform business. What Nintendo will try to achieve in the next 10 years is a platform business that improves people’s Quality Of Life in enjoyable ways. While we will continue to devote our energy to dedicated video game platforms, what I see as our first step into a new business area in our endeavor to improve QOL is. The theme of ‘health’. It has been a long time since people started to say that the console era has now shifted to a new mobile era, with wearable technology in the spotlight at CES this month. Following others into the exceedingly crowded market of mobile applications or the market of wearable technology that is expected to become increasingly competitive and fighting with brute force is not our way of doing business. Yet again, it is our intention to go into a new blue ocean.  With that said, we wish to achieve an integrated hardware-software platform business that, instead of providing mobile or wearable features, will be characterized by a new area of what we like to call non-wearable technology.”

Translated: Ha ha ha! And you thought we were going to announce a new console? Idiots. Remember when you found your gran playing Wii Fit? That’s some blue ocean thinking, bitch. Now I’m gonna create a whole new division of this company that has nowt to do with you whiny online gaming pricks and just sells stuff to those lovely mums and families who never slag us off online. Just imagine Wii Fit without the Balance Board and Wii Remote. The idea’s probably too radical for your puny mind! Sorry, what’s a Kinect? You just made that up didn’t you? And if Microsoft had have made such a thing I’d had heard about it because it would be the most popular thing in the world, surely?

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Tags: Nintendo , iwata , guide , plan , beginners , guidedummies

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