Nintendo president dismisses chance that Microsoft could successfully copy the Wiimote and discusses key development issues

Iwata: Any attempt to copy the Wii is “not a big threat”

After recently announcing his company had seen record revenues the 12 months to March 26th to the DS and Wii, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata took time to answer investors’ questions on the future of the games market and points that matter to games developers.

In the wide-ranging interview – highlights which are most relevant to games development we have singled out here – he discusses matters including WiiWare, the changing nature of the games demographic, and Nintendo’s attitude to mergers and acquisitions, plus recruitment.

His most confident statement comes when one investor asks him about rumours that Microsoft is planning its own Wiimote-style controller – which he says will be no "big threat" to Nintendo’s current position in the market – and what Nintendo thinks could happen if someone like Apple were to enter the games business.

He said: "I am also aware of the rumor and have seen a fake image made by a fan on the web which looks like a Wii Remote with the rumor that such a controller may be launched, However there is no way for us to comment on such speculations. All I can say today is, it is not that easy to develop software which leverages the characteristics of the Wii Remote. We are not concerned about what other companies may do but rather more concerned with presenting them with new ideas to our customers based on the prospect that our existing customers will surely get tired of the plays enabled by Wii Remote if we do not try to improve the experience. In other words, what matters to us is whether or not we can continue to constantly create and offer new surprises one after another. If we can, then (other company’s attempt to launch Wii Remote-like controller) should not be a big threat. The efforts in this field to try to appeal to a wide variety of customers are something in which we saw potential early on and that we have been working on the longest, so there appears to be no reason whatsoever why we need to be concerned.

"About your next question about what we will do if other companies enter into the market, as I said earlier, the game business comes with huge business risks and it is becoming increasingly more difficult for new entrants. You mentioned the name of Apple, but until any one of them can actually demonstrate what they are willing to do in this game market, I cannot make any comment.

"Just like I said now, what matters to us is not who may be entering into the video game market with what kind of risks but how we can keep the interests of our customers because these customers, even though they are appreciating our offers today, will get tired of them if we cannot provide them with new proposals before they get tired of them. If we can provide them with new surprises, they will continue to support Nintendo for longer, and if not, they will say in the near future, "That was Nintendo’s peak." So, we want to make sure we will do our job right."

To read the development-related highlights, click here.

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