Iwata admits mass-market focus cost Nintendo

Nintendo’s early success in appealing to the mass market and new gamers has eventually lead to the company’s current struggles, president Satoru Iwata has admitted.

"The Wii was able to reach a large number of new consumers who had never played games before by bringing hands-on experiences with its Wii Sports and Wii Fit," he told investors.

"However, we could not adequately create the situation that such new consumers played games frequently or for long, consistent periods. As a result, we could not sustain a good level of profit.”

And it’s this reason which is behind Nintendo’s unwillingness to flood the early 3DS market with the kind of family-friendly software that came to characterise the incredibly successful DS.

Iwata also acknowledged the grievances of some Nintendo loyalists for what they see as the company’s abandonment of them.

This was perhaps best demonstrated by the hostile reaction to the Wii Vitality Sensor upon its unveiling at E3 2009. There’s still no sign of the device, which was initially touted for a 2010 launch.

"Moreover, regrettably, what we prioritised in order to reach out to the new audience was a bit too far from what we prioritised for those who play games as their hobby,” Iwata admitted.

Consequently, we presume some people felt that the Wii was not a game system for them or they were not willing to play with the Wii even though some compelling games had been released.

"Once consumers have a notion that ‘this system is not for us’, we have learned that it is extremely difficult to change their perceptions later."

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