I almost choked on my cigar when I read this story where Iwata says ‘being first to market isn’t important’.
Iwata definitely does believe ‘being first to market’ is important. When asked about the failure of the N64 and Gamecube, Iwata always answered that Nintendo was too late to the market. The PlayStation systems had a year to themselves and developers got used to making games on their systems. This is why the DS was rushed to be released (as third pillar, remember that?) when the PSP was launched.
The Wii was timed to be released when the PlayStation 3 did. The Wii was released three days after the PS3, and this was intentional.
If you go through Iwata’s interviews of the past (which I did during that time), you will see the Nintendo executives (including Miyamoto) declare that the release time of the console is very important.
Now, Iwata is saying it is not very important. What gives?
Either Iwata has genuinely changed his mind or he is lying. Why would he lie? Perhaps he doesn’t want the press to use those words against him if the Wii U fails.
What would cause Iwata to change his mind? I don’t think it is the Wii’s performance. If anything, it would be the 3DS failure that is causing changes of thinking inside Nintendo. Iwata even cites the 3DS when he talks about pricing being the most important thing.
I think Iwata thinks the time of the console’s release is still ‘important’ (Nintendo believes everything in the console universe is cyclical and that new hardware must be introduced). However, due to the 3DS failure, he now thinks pricing is the MOST IMPORTANT thing.
Timing of launch is still important, just not as important as other elements. This is what I am reading from Mr. Iwata.