Kudos to TIME for landing an exclusive interview with Tatsumi Kimishima, the new President of Nintendo. The man faced with the task of turning around the 126 year old company’s sagging console fortunes, laid out some tidbits that, I have a feeling, fellow gamers will really enjoy…
On the WiiU, its lack of success, and whether they will continue to develop software for it –
“As you know within the game business momentum is key,when you have momentum, whether it’s a platform or software, sales increase. At this point in the Wii U lifespan, we’re looking at 10 million sell-through for the hardware itself, which is just about a tenth of what we sold overall for Wii.”
“What I want to do, I think our first job right now is to make sure that the customers, those 10 million customers who have a Wii U at home have software to play. And we need to make sure that they are satisfied with their purchase and continue to enjoy playing on this platform. So we can’t just abandon them and say ‘Hey, it’s time to move on to the next thing.’ Of course we are working on NX and looking at the experiences we can bring to that platform. But first our job at this point is to support the consumers who have purchased Wii U and make sure that they have software experiences available to them.”
Kimishima also confirmed the NX is the new focus of Nintendo –
“NX (Nintendo’s next system) is in development, a next step in our dedicated device strategy, the core and primary focus of our business.”
Kimishima makes it a point to say the NX will not be like the Wii and WiiU –
“As far as NX goes, I’ve said its different and obviously a new experience, if you look back to the beginning of our conversation today, we talked about the transition from Wii hardware to the Wii U hardware and how difficult it is to explain to the consumer base what is different and new about the new hardware. It’s difficult to convince them to switch from their current platform to the next platform.”
“That being said, I can assure you we’re not building the next version of Wii or Wii U. It’s something unique and different. It’s something where we have to move away from those platforms in order to make it something that will appeal to our consumer base.”
How should gamers interpret Kimshima’s comments? With optimism. It takes a bit of bravery to admit the direction your company has taken is sorely misguided. Nintendo was the last to know that the casual gaming market had moved away from the Wii to smart phones so releasing the clunky, controlled, low powered, and much maligned WiiU in 2012, fell flat.
Although Kimishima promises support for the WiiU, even though the NX is coming down the pike, those of you that own them should be wary. Splatoon and Mario Maker have increased sales and even though a new Zelda is on the way in 2016, the writing is on the wall for the struggling console. There may be titles that eek out after the NX is released but the clock is ticking and the time is nearly up for the WiiU.
My hope is that the NX steps up to the plate and honors all the great IP’s that Nintendo has while also doing something they’re not known for – provide excellent 3rd party developer support. Getting the praises of major developers like EA and Activision/Blizzard would go a long way in winning back the hardcore gaming crowd. Much of which grew up with some iteration of a Nintendo console. For the younger crowd, the console was the Wii; for this 30 something, it was the original Nintendo.
There is hope for the future of Nintendo for the first time in years. With new leadership and a new direction maybe they can break out of their current slump and win back a crowd that surely hasn’t forgotten about the granddaddy of gaming.
So for everyone out there in the Nation, what is your view on Kimishima’s comments? Do you see hope in Nintendo’s future or just more of the same?
Make sure you check back for more updates — right here on GeekNation.
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