Satoru Iwata’s stark warning for mobile game developers at this year’s Game Developers Conference had been widely misunderstood, the Nintendo president has said.
In March, the Nintendo chief tried to crystallise the dramatic business shifts taking place across the entire games industry, and made a series of observations in a significant GDC keynote speech.
But Iwata today says his words were taken out of context, misunderstood and misinterpreted.
During an investor meeting made last week, Iwata explained his intention was to tell developers “that we were coming to an era where it was important to consider how to protect the sense of value that we have in video games”.
He added: “Unfortunately, after I gave that speech, I think there may have been some misunderstanding that the message that I was trying to deliver was that quality was more important than quantity, or that perhaps I was criticising social platforms and mobile platforms, and the games that they had to offer, which wasn't my intention.
“My intention was to deliver a message to the creators of games that the question of the value that a consumer places on a video game is something that we, as developers, should be very sensitive to because, if we are not, it will become difficult to sustain the industry.”
At his GDC speech, Iwata caught the mood of the time – at least from his point of view – by claiming that “games development is downing”. He said that new channels – such as mobile and social platforms – “have no motivation to maintain the value of the gaming”.
“Quantity is how they profit. The value of software does not matter to them,” he added.
This was widely seen as an assault on Apple’s mobile games business, yet Iwata took a different tone when speaking to Investors last week.
“Personally, I don't feel that there is competition or threat from mobile games for our video game business from the sense that, even before mobile games appeared, it's always been the nature of our job to continue to offer new experiences that players can't have on other devices, and that, as long as we can continue to do that, the consumer will want to play our games, but what we are sensitive to is the notion of the sense of value and what consumers are willing to pay for games.”
Nintendo has recently found itself on the wrong side of PR damage limitation, with its America president claiming that Nintendo doesn’t want to do business with “garage developers”.