Here we go!
What great financial business questions are being asked of Iwata? Quiet reader. Let’s listen.
I got terribly lost coming here today. Every time I come here, I feel that you should take into consideration where many of the shareholders attending are coming from and that you may want to consider offering us some conveniences like a courtesy bus from JR Kyoto Station. As I feel this is rather an inconvenient place to visit by subway or by bus, I’d like you to consider more about this sort of thing than enriching the contents of the gifts you give to the attending shareholders.
I just can’t stop laughing at this. At a shareholder meeting, people are complaining about getting lost and the location of the new Nintendo headquarters. It is too funny!
Now for more serious information:
In addition, there have recently been negative campaigns on the Internet in which false opinions are deliberately posted to ruin the reputation of a product. Such vicious rumors are a big problem and could be considered business interference. On the other hand, however, it is very difficult to tell consumers’ real complaints from those that are posted as part of a negative campaign. If we were to delete anything negative about our games, it could constitute a suppression of free speech and you would not able to believe in even a good reputation. Luckily, those who are engaged just to be engaged in negative campaigns are in fact just a fraction of all users. Therefore, in a community in which a number of users with fair opinions exist, opinions posted just for the purpose of a negative campaign will be gradually overwhelmed by the majority of posts of fair impressions. Also, if a number of game players put a remark to indicate “I think this comment is inappropriate,” the subject comments will be seen as unreliable and thereby decreases their influence on other consumers. In that sense, in the world of the Internet, we cannot afford to always act on “the ethical doctrine that human nature is fundamentally good.” At the same time, however, we would like to believe in the possibility of “the wisdom of crowds,” which could create a very interesting and fascinating world, and make efforts for the services to realize it in one way or another.
So my instincts were right. Miiverse is intended to destroy the Gaming Message Forum!
These ‘negative campaigns’ Iwata is referring to means two different groups. With one, there are a type of gamers out there who would go on a negative campaign about a game for whatever reason. The other is a professional campaign put out by viral marketers hired by Nintendo’s competitors. Nintendo has been struggling to deal with these people for quite some time.
Miiverse would also make it easier for Nintendo to examine feedback from their games since they will be sure the feedback comes from actual customers.
Now check out this question:
I have a question about the board members. Currently there are no females on the board. I do not remember all of the past board members, so it might just be the case now; however, I wonder whether there are some problems in educating and cultivating people at Nintendo.
And I thought the shareholder complaining about getting lost was asking a stupid question! If the reader would quiet his outbursts, let us hear how Iwata handles this.
In my understanding, your point is that because there are no female board members at Nintendo, whether there is something hindering the efforts of the female employees. Is that correct?
Well, first of all, Nintendo has many female employees, and among these people, many are actively working as administrators and managers. On the other hand, when we decide our board members, we choose the ones that can form the best possible management team to run Nintendo’s business for the fiscal year ahead. So it is just a coincidence that there are no female members on the current board; but this does not imply that we would not to select females for our board or that there is an atmosphere that female employees could never become board members.
Besides, Nintendo’s platforms have almost the same number of female users as male users, which is extremely rare in the gaming industry. In cases of other companies’ platforms, the user proportion between males and females is about 70:30, or something like 75%:25%. Although gaming was originally favored predominantly by males and it has long been said that games are for children and young male adults, the number of female users increased tremendously while the Nintendo DS and the Wii were expanding the gaming populations. However, if we fail to reflect females’ points of views sufficiently in all aspects in our business, including not only product development, creation and sales but also in the management that leads the company, I believe we will not be able to realize the products that will be well accepted by women in the market. Therefore, although we currently have no female board members, we would highly appreciate it if you could understand that there is nothing hindering female employees’ efforts.
Iwata knocks this one out of the park. He says “We picked our board members to be the best people we could find. It is only a coincidence that they are all male.”
You’d think these shareholders would be asking better questions. What’s next? Is a shareholder going to complain about Iwata’s shoes? Or that Reggie said, “My body is ready?”
Regarding profitability of the Nintendo 3DS hardware, Nintendo will add the new value of bigger screens to the Nintendo 3DS hardware by introducing the Nintendo 3DS XL. In order to improve the profitability of the Nintendo 3DS hardware, will you consider adding value to the system like a waterproof function, high sound quality and so on in the future?
Water-proof 3DS-XLs? Now I’ve heard everything! Can you imagine people playing their 3DS-XLs underwater? Talk about going to absurd lengths to get the 3d effect!
On the other hand, no matter how strong the yen becomes, consumers in the U.S. have nothing to do with the fluctuation of foreign currency exchange, which means, for them, 100 dollars is 100 dollars, and 200 dollars is 200 dollars.
The reason why the dollar is being devalued is because of insane printing and rampant spending by the Federal Government. As you can see, the actions of Washington does impact your video game universe. Iwata is struggling to not have to raise prices on Americans, but this may become inevitable if the situation does not change.
Wii U will be $299 I guarantee. If not, then it will be more expensive.
We are very sorry that some people, probably including you, were not able to buy “Fire Emblem Kakusei Special Pack” (Japanese title), a set containing a special version of the hardware and the software, in spite of visiting our online sales website many times.
We completely failed to anticipate the demand for such kind of special packaged deal of the Nintendo 3DS hardware decorated with a certain video game character on its surface and the software. We first forecasted the consumer demand, prepared for manufacture and began selling the product in limited quantities.
Nintendo is shocked to learn that Fire Emblem, a franchise that no one buys, has more avid fans than they realized. Problem is with something like Fire Emblem, it is a hot or cold type of consumer. Consumers either adore the game or dislike it. I don’t find any in between.
Although Mr. Miyamoto himself prepared his comment as soon as the subject announcement was made by the foundation, he is, in fact, very humbled whenever he receives such an honorable award because he cannot create video games all by himself. I am always asked by him not to voluntarily talk about the prize unless someone mentions it.
Miyamoto is not ‘humbled’. He knows he doesn’t deserve these awards in his name because it takes MANY people to make a video game. These constant awards make it sound as if Miyamoto, alone, made all these games with no outside help.
These stupid awards are not about quality or Nintendo or Miyamoto. They are valentines to the legend everyone wants to believe in. Miyamoto is seen as a sort of Santa Clause to video games as if he flies around, jolly like, in a sleigh and throws games to everyone in full happiness and smiles. People prefer these legends to reality.
I’ve always found the ‘Miyamoto Legend’ as a dangerous thing. Miyamoto is flesh and blood and will not live or work forever. Placing a legend around one man is never a good idea. It also gives false impressions to everyone else that video games revolve around ONE man with VISIONS. Young game developers begin to think this is the way how things are done. But game development isn’t like writing a novel. It takes MANY people to make a game. Even in the very first games, it required at least a programmer and an artist.
What we should say first is that while the Nintendo 3DS has a certain degree of sales momentum in Japan, the momentum in the U.S. and Europe is currently weak.
And there you have it. From the horse’s mouth. Iwata says 3DS sales in US and Europe are ‘currently weak’. Nintendo is not happy with the 3DS situation outside Japan. Woe to those who said the 3DS is just fine and that Malstrom was stuck in a ’3d vendetta’ against the little console.
The 3DS appears to be an altered situation of the N64/Gamecube. The N64 and Gamecube sold well in the United States but did not sell well anywhere else. The N64 and the PlayStation 1 were nearly even in sales in the United States until the PS1 surpassed it near the end (this factoid is not as well known).
With the 3DS, it is doing fine in Japan but struggling everywhere else. Why? The Americas takes their home consoles more seriously than their handhelds. The N64 and Gamecube with their emphasis on 3d could still find sales in markets that prioritized the home console. But with Japan being more about handhelds, especially now, the Japanese would be willing to purchase the 3DS where for other markets where the handheld is not seen as serious, the people won’t bother.
Europe has various unique financial situations now which I suspect they will be a weak market in all forms of video games throughout the eighth generation.
With the Nintendo 3DS XL I just spoke about and our key titles, such as “New Super Mario Bros. 2,” to be released globally this summer, one of our immediate top-priority missions is to create sales momentum which can wipe this type of concern away at an early stage.
In 2005, the DS ‘exploded’ in sales in the United States when NSMB was released with the DS Lite. Some people credit the DS Lite. But I credit NSMB because game console hardware sells based on software and not hardware.
Nintendo sees this and is trying to replicate it again. Since they can’t or won’t or are financially unable to make a 3DS revision, they make a 3DS XL which is to be new hardware and combine it with a new 2d Mario. They are hoping the same magic will work again.
It will not work because the 3DS is a hostile platform to people who like 2d Mario. Fans of 2d Mario are, by nature, not fans of 3d gaming. Even if a 2d Mario was on the Virtual Boy, it wouldn’t have sold the Virtual Boy. The 3DS is just an extremely poor console.
In the U.S., “video games” means home console video games. However, in Japan, those who say that video games mean home console games are only about half of all respondents, and handheld-type games have more significant appeal.
Correct. Most game analysts in the US don’t even acknowledge the existence of the gaming handhelds except to say that Apple is killing them (which they stopped saying when it was clear it wasn’t happening).
Microsoft, which is a US company, isn’t even bothering to make a gaming handheld unlike Sony and Nintendo.
The reason why the Wii’s proportion is so high despite its sales situation not being so strong is, memories of playing with the Wii make such a strong impression on people that they remain in their minds, so the Wii is chosen as the most attractive game system even now.
This is really interesting. It is not unlike the Atari still scoring high even in the 16-bit generation. This bodes well for Wii U.
When I read the reports by newspapers and other media, there are stories which say that social gaming has caused Nintendo’s earnings to go down. As a matter of fact, in Japan, there are quite a few people who are concerned about the impact of these social games and when I take interviews with domestic media reporters, most of the time they ask me about competition with social games. However, when I go outside Japan, nobody asks such a question. Instead, what they ask is, “Given the situation that smartphones have spread so widely and people don’t have to buy video game hardware and, at the same time, game software can be purchased at inexpensive prices, what will Nintendo do from now on?” The truth is that the issue of social games is a Japan-only phenomenon.
People have forgotten what the real story was. For the Wii, before its launch and right after its announcement, the feedback was similar to that of the Wii U. In other words, when something unique comes up, it’s difficult for people to understand it at the beginning.
This is a very bad sign. Iwata is living in a fantasy land.
In fact, when the Wii was showcased at E3 in 2006, there were a lot of news stories which reported the strong receptions of the Wii by the visitors to the show; however, the questions I was asked then and there were all tough questions. Almost every one of the reporters asked, “How in the world are you going to compete with SONY or Microsoft with a product like this?” Everyone has forgotten what the real situation was. Then, in hindsight, I think some people say, “I was convinced about the success of the Wii from the beginning” only after looking at the results.
In 2006, people thought the Wii would be the last Nintendo console and that Nintendo would exit the console business like Sega. But these are the same people who think smartphones will kill the dedicated gaming handheld. There was ton of idiots then and there are a ton of idiots now.
But some of us were convinced of the Wii success. When the Wii success occurred, many people in the game industry looked around for how this could possibly happen. The concept of Blue Ocean Strategy and disruption which they read from MY PAGE began to spread.
I said back in 2006 as I am saying now that the Wii was successful NOT because it was ‘unique hardware and software’ but because it got back to the fundamental gaming values ushered in by the old school gaming systems such as the Atari 2600 and the NES. It also explains why the Wii sales kept jumping up everytime there was a NES/SNES spiritual sequel (Wii Sports, NSMB Wii, Wii Fit, Mario Kart Wii, Donkey Kong Country Returns) and sales declined everytime there was a N64/Gamecube spiritual sequel (Super Mario Galaxy 1,2, Zelda: Skyward Sword, Metroid Prime 3, Metroid: Other M, Animal Crossing Wii).
In fact, a summary of my entire content is that Nintendo should return to the values of the Classic Nintendo and abandon those of Modern Nintendo.
The Wii U would be a total disaster if it were not for Super Mario Brothers 6 coming out on it. The Wii U might be salvaged because of it. But a 2d Mario cannot keep a console going forever as Super Mario World didn’t get the SNES to outsell the Genesis. Some elements of the Wii U are very good like the account system and the Pro Controller.
The thing is that the actual issue that will define the Wii U future has yet to be addressed by Nintendo: how the system will be supported. What will Wii U’s future games be? Will they be Gamecube sequels or will they be NES sequels? Will we get more Metroid Other M and Skyward Sword, or will we get more Super Metroid and Link to the Past? This isn’t an issue of 2d versus 3d but an issue concerning how Nintendo’s first party games want to be made.
The issue is the future of Nintendo software. There is a fork in the road. One path is the Gamecube Software path which is filled with puzzle games, rampant 3d environments, and hardware feature playthings. The other path is the Arcade Software path which is filled with action games, adventure games, and games that don’t try to use the hardware for the sake of the hardware being there.
The presence of Pikmin 3 and NSMB U doesn’t tell us which is the future. Nintendo Land is the expected launch game of hardware feature demos. What is the future of Nintendo? Is it Classic? Or is it Modern?
Do we have to go through multiple 3d Mario games once again to tell Miyamoto how we don’t want to buy them? Is Nintendo going to put us through that crap again?
Finally, another issue is that the visibility of the future software lineup is unclear. During E3, titles for the overseas markets were highlighted and the titles we introduced then were only the ones to be available at the launch time and within the launch window period, which might make you wonder, “What will become of the software in the next year?”
And somehow, through time and space, Iwata is reading this blog post before I even publish it. He responds to the point I just typed out. Amazing! This guy is on the ball.
Then, subsequently, when we launch the Wii U, we intend to announce the next step by saying what will happen in the future, and by doing this, we would like to change the evaluation in the market.
This is why I don’t want to buy the Wii U up front. I want to know where this console is going. I don’t want to buy the Wii U and only get Gamecube type games. I will wait until Iwata tells us where Nintendo intends to go.
Miyamoto is asked about what he will do when he retires. Listen to what Miyamoto says, reader.
We are making a game called “Nintendo Land,” but apart from making such games, I often think of other things, such as what the future of the Japanese movie industry will be like. I do not have any concrete visions yet, but I am trying to keep my eyes on a variety of fields and to find any small possibilities for Nintendo to be involved in one way or the other.
Japanese movies!? ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND!? Who the hell cares about Japanese movies? What does any of that have to do with video games? Is this Miyamoto’s concern or Yamauchi’s? Yamauchi has always said he wanted Nintendo to unite with movies, but I cannot tell if Miyamoto is channeling Yamauchi or Yamauchi is channeling Miyamoto.
The entire reason for the 3DS was for movies to be seen on Nintendo’s platform, i.e. the only 3d handheld.
We cannot promise that the Wii U will never be excluded from multiplatform software for eternity, but we can at least assure you that the Wii U will not have such a big difference as the Wii had in comparison to how, on other platforms, developers could expect very different graphic capabilities of generating HD-applicable high-resolution graphics. Other companies might launch a next-generation console with more power, but we don’t necessarily think that the difference between the Wii U and such console will be as drastic as what you felt it was between the Wii and the other consoles because there will be fewer and fewer differentiators in graphics.
Iwata has a point. The new Sony and Microsoft consoles are imaginary. There currently isn’t much a graphical difference between high performance PCs (what the Microsoft and Sony consoles will be at) and current HD game consoles.
I am not sure this is an appropriate expression, but video game consoles have long been “parasites” of TV sets at home. In other words, game consoles have used TV sets in a family instead of being equipped with their own screen.
Parasites? Get real. If Nintendo makes their own screen, then they can ram 3d down our throats! That is what is about. Hearing Iwata and Miyamoto talk make me think they intend to keep ramming more 3d at us.
Although a real concern is Smart TVs. TVs now have computers in them and will be able to play basic games without any dedicated hardware. Nintendo may be per-emptively responding to this situation.
I don’t think that the current Nintendo is making full use of its potential. I believe that there is a way to improve your business more and more by taking advantage of what you already have. As I have a specific plan for it, I would like to make a 10-minute presentation to Mr. Miyamoto, Mr. Takeda and Mr. Iwata as soon as tomorrow if it is possible.
It is difficult for all of us to devote time to your specific plan. However, if you can communicate with one of our employees available here today, we will definitely hear about your ideas by receiving his/her report.
Hahahha. That is not even a question. The shareholder is saying, “Let me tell you how to run your company.” This shareholder meeting is hilarious. This, the female board member question, and the shareholder who got lost makes it so entertaining.
First of all, however, we would like to show the public the number of “New Super Mario Bros. 2” or “Onitore” (temp.) have been sold by download so that those in this industry can make the next move after finding out the consumer behavior toward download versions. When they know the size of the digital distribution market, they might be inclined to accept a certain inventory risk to try the download sales with special features.
So NSMB 2 is used as a guinea pig for this? What a jackass. Why doesn’t Aonuma Zelda or 3d Mario ever get used a guinea pig for this? Why does Nintendo assume the 2d Mario fans are going to allow themselves to be used as tools? They have already demonstrated they won’t purchase a Nintendo system if something dissatisfies them. Why not use 3d Mario or Aonuma Zelda for these experiments? Those consumers have shown they will buy anything.
However, I would like you to look back on what we have done so far. We said, “We are going to sell the Nintendo DS in this way and expand the gaming population.” We did as we said we would. Did the share price rise at the time of our making this statement? No, it did not. It only rose once the Nintendo DS started to sell well. We also said, “With the Wii, we are going to get people who have never played games to play games.” We achieved what we said we would. But the share price did not rise (at the time of announcing this vision) but it only did so after (the Wii started to sell well). In the end, it’s all about results.
Nintendo also said, “Now is the time for 3D!” when launching the 3DS. How did that turn out?