Nintendo miscalculated the development resources required for its Wii U launch titles, the company’s president has admitted.
Speaking in a financial briefing Q&A, Satoru Iwata said development of some of its titles had required more resources than it had previously expected, and it was then forced to take developers working on other projects in an effort to complete them in time for the console’s launch.
He added that as a result, development of titles such as Pikmin 3 and other titles to be released in future were “understaffed” during this period as the company rushed to finish its games in time for the Wii U’s launch, causing subsequent delays.
To date, Nintendo has developed titles such as Super Mario Bros. U and Nintendo Land the Wii U, as well as a number of 3DS titles in the past year such as Animal Crossing: New Leaf and Super Mario Bros 2.
“The reason for the delayed release of our first-party titles was the fact that completing the games released at the same time as the launch of Wii U required more development resources than expected, so some staff members from development teams working on other titles had to help complete them,” said Iwata.
“In short, the development teams of ‘Pikmin 3’ and other future games were understaffed during that period.”
Iwata went on to state that Nintendo “does not simply have one easily identifiable bottleneck in software development”, and added that it was becoming increasingly challenging to determine the minimum-required development resources to create a high quality game.
As well as the challenges of creating a game to meet consumer expectations, he said that it was also difficult in the modern industry to break-even unless a game sold millions of units, but admitted that successful games were selling more than ever before.
“The point I am trying to get across is that currently it is more challenging to sell packaged software for around $50-to-$60,” said Iwata.
“On the other hand, we can offer digital games in other formats. It is true that it is becoming increasingly challenging to meet the expectations of consumers who are willing to pay $50-to-$60 for a game, and it is difficult to break-even unless a huge number of units is sold all over the world, so it cannot be denied that software development is becoming more challenging.
“Among such packaged software, however, the sales of popular games are much larger than in the past. Therefore, if we create more hit games, the software development business can still be very profitable. All games break even if they sell millions of copies worldwide, so we will continue to do our best to develop games which have high sales potential.”