Posted by: seanmalstrom | July 3, 2014

The 74th Annual General Meeting of Shareholders (Post E3 2014)

It’s that time again! Nintendo held another shareholder Q/A Conference. As always, Malstrom was secretly there!

What’s interesting is this time Iwata is not there. Miyamoto is doing most the talking.

Play the tape:

” We have already released “Mario Kart 8” for Wii U and would like to carry on that momentum to “Super Smash Bros. for Wii U,” which is our general strategy for Wii U this year. In addition, we have announced other Wii U software titles such as “Kirby and the Rainbow Curse,” “Mario Party 10” and “Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker.” “Splatoon,” which also featured in the video, is a team-shooter game in which you fire ink. There are a number of shooting games in the U.S., but the unique thing about this game is that you are in two teams trying to cover the ground with your ink, and it surely had people’s attention. This game is under development by a team that mainly consists of our young employees. I am very happy that something new created by young people has won the admiration of fans.

Miyamoto is simply laying out Nintendo’s strategy for the year here. This is a momentum based business. Many of Nintendo’s games are actually done well before they are released. They are released at specific times in order to increase the momentum of the console. Consider the console to be a train and the First Party Software to be the ‘logs’ to be thrown into the train.

Above: E3 was this

Above: Where Nintendo is at now. Choo! Choo!

Above: What Nintendo wants for momentum

Above: What happens to the Wii U if Nintendo cannot get enough momentum within a year…

Though we designed Wii U to be a very convenient tool when connected to the TV in your living room, the appeal in that regard is not sufficiently understood. We also faced difficulties like a shortage of Wii U software titles or slow system startup. As for the system, we distributed a new network system on June 3. By updating Wii U with this new system, you can start up Wii U much more quickly than before, and we simultaneously released a new control method for “Pikmin 3”; we are doing our utmost.

It is so cute how Miyamoto pretends to be president.

This year, the majority of what the other developers exhibited was bloody shooter software that was mainly set in violent surroundings or, in a different sense, realistic and cool worlds. Because so many software developers are competing in that category, it seemed like most of the titles at the show were of that kind. In such circumstances, Nintendo looked very unique and was able to receive such positive reactions as “Nintendo had a variety of different software” and “the company is offering games we can feel safe with.” From this aspect of differentiation with the other companies, we had a great E3 show this year.

Is the Game Industry wallowing in the swamp of “bloody shooters” a positive reason for Nintendo? No. One company imploding does not mean the rise of other companies. Disinterest is what must be attacked. I still think the disinterest is very high at what Nintendo showed. No one cares about Miyamoto’s sumo wrestling robot.

 I prefer not to use the generally used term “open world” when developing software, but we used this term in order to make it easier for consumers to understand. This term means that there is a large world in which players can do numerous things daily.

This means Zelda will be more about cat herding and fishing than about dungeons. WE’RE GOING THE WRONG WAY!

In addition to that, we have ideas for Nintendo 3DS which we have not announced yet, so I hope you will look forward to them.

Majora’s Mask 3D incoming.

I suspect that software makers that develop game software (for advanced game players) for the game systems from Microsoft and Sony must have actually been having a harder time than we think. It takes a year for the development teams to get used to high-performance graphics using recent shader technology, and afterwards it requires two or three times the time and labor costs to develop a game. According to one theory, since some projects even require the budgets of over 10 billion yen, not all projects will be profitable. It is a harsh world, in which a game can hardly survive if it doesn’t make it into the top ten of the sales rankings.

This is interesting. Now Shigeru Miyamoto is joining the ranks of ‘Game Industry is doomed’. If game development keeps getting more and more expensive, something is going to give.

Yamoto says:

 Over these past few years, the number of choices that consumers have for how to spend their leisure time has significantly increased. Accordingly, it is now more difficult than before for Nintendo’s products to rank high in consumers’ wish lists. Also, the way that consumers gain information about the products they want used to be mainly through television commercials, fliers in newspapers, and promotions (in stores, etc.), and Nintendo sent out information through those channels. The information flow has changed dramatically over the past few years, and I worry that Nintendo might not be able to keep up with these changes sufficiently.

I have bolded the above. I know what they are talking about. In the past, say NES Era, people did not have the digital distractions that we do today. There was PC games if you were one of the fortunate few who had a PC. Then there was video games which meant NES and Gameboy. Oh, and television shows only came on at a certain time and had commercials you couldn’t skip.

Above: Kids had to be entertained with this shit. Oh, it was a digital dark age! (Although some bright spots were the 1980s movies and cartoons. The present can’t touch their quality today!)

Thanks to the Internet and the shrinking and mass adoption of PCs (e.g. smartphones), digital entertainment has ceased to be ‘magical’ and ‘unique’ and is now commonplace. I don’t think this is a Nintendo centric problem but a video game centric one. Remember that video games came were the first digital pioneers. Atari came before Apple. Gameboy came before Smartphone. From my middle school aged nephews, none of them talk about Nintendo or even Xbox games anymore. Although, if given Nintendo games, they will take them!

Takeda speaks:

If you ask me about the most challenging aspect of designing Wii U, it was that the high-resolution graphics were anticipated by everyone and could not be an advantage. In addition, we are still having a hard time to make the best use of its new controller, the “Wii U GamePad.”

This is interesting. While switching to HD must be very frustrating to Nintendo, they obtain no advantage out of it. It is expected in this day in age. It may be why they don’t offer the online account system we want. From Nintendo’s perspective, it would not give them an advantage but just something ‘what is expected’. But if they can do that with HD, why not do it with an account system?

Nintendo is still having problems making use of the GamePad? How old is the Wii U? Approaching two years. Perhaps this should be a clue in that it is a flawed product. Nintendo certainly didn’t lack ideas for the DS touch screen or the Wii’s motion control.

Now look at this question:

I did not ask this question, readers! Although, it was a great question. Most of the shareholder meeting is spent with Iwata daydreaming about ‘the future of video games’. But what does that have to do with the capital gain and dividends? Nintendo responded that the question was ‘tough’. It probably should have been asked when Iwata was present.

Miyamoto speaks:

I am sorry for the shareholder who just asked this question, but I cannot predict what is going to happen 10 years from now.

Why not!? Isn’t that his job to predict entertainment trends going a decade out? A console cycle is on the market for six years so once a console is conceptualized, it is probably several years before it is manufactured. How can a game console be made without being able to see at least 8 years into the future?

Takeda channels Iwata:

 Thus, even though we stated that Nintendo is going to attempt to improve people’s health, we do not intend for consumers to just become healthy but aim to improve their health in enjoyable ways, which we believe, is another kind of entertainment. Please understand that we are not aiming to become a health device company (as you worry).

The ‘please understand’ and ‘I am so sorry’ is something I notice Asians do frequently. When Asian girls reject you, they use that language as well! “Please understand…” hahahaha

And to you killjoy critics who blast every word on this site who will use the lines above as ‘proof of Malstrom’s RACISM’, you guys need to go outside. It’s a cultural observation. Maybe they are just more polite over there or something.

Tanaka has some interesting information:

 I would like to explain our approach toward the third-party software developers. As for the current numbers of software developers for our platforms, in the U.S. there are about 40 companies developing software for Nintendo 3DS, and about 20 companies for Wii U. The numbers of developers are almost the same in Europe. If we add companies that develop downloadable software to these numbers, in the U.S., there are about 130 companies for Nintendo 3DS and about 200 companies for Wii U. In Europe, there are about 160 companies for Nintendo 3DS and as for Wii U, about 115 companies. And in Japan, there are about 140 companies for Nintendo 3DS and about 35 companies for Wii U. I would say quite a few companies have interest in developing software for our platforms.

Tanaka on the naming of the amiibo:

The first example of our active utilization of Nintendo’s character IP is going to be the character figures called “amiibo.” We named them “amiibo” after “ami,” a word that means“friend.” And, we can only say that the expected profit level from “amiibo” has not yet been determined.

Unlike the Wii, I feel like the Wii U and Amiibo sound Japanese because they are Japanese. With the Wii, the West had fun with that name as it sounds like a potty joke. Wii U and Amiibo sound alien.

And don’t respond with Reggie Fils-Aime at E3 2006 saying, “What about Google or Lexus?” Google has the ‘goo’ in it which makes it sound like a fun name. Lexus sounds like it came from some Latin based ancient name. How about a more Western sounding name since the Japanese game market has gone to crap? Xbox and PlayStation don’t suffer due to their brands. Gameboy didn’t suffer.

Miyamoto:

Thank you for reading “Iwata Asks.” Actually, Mr. Iwata’s physical condition has nothing to do with the reduced update frequency of these articles. Since over half a year ago, we have been discussing our methods of disseminating information to understand to what extent “Iwata Asks” has been able to deliver our information directly to our consumers. As a result, we came up with the idea that Nintendo should try to attract a more broad audience through a wider range of methods. That is the reason why Mr. Iwata has not been updating “Iwata Asks” as frequently. As Mr. Yamato said, we are aiming for broader communication with consumers in ways that are more diverse from now on.

This is a diplomatic way of Miyamoto saying that people are so dumb now they can’t even read. If Nintendo Power came out today, it would be a huge failure because people don’t know how to read. Steve Jobs  stalled the idea of selling books on iTunes because ‘no one reads books anymore’.

 I believe this is a revelation of creative immaturity on our part as creators in the video game industry. The late Mr. Hiroshi Yamauchi, the former president of Nintendo, often used to say that in the entertainment business, only one can become strong and all of the others will become weak. With this remark, he was not referring to the arrogance of the winner. He mentioned this to describe the nature of the entertainment business, which tends to create just one winner because in the entertainment business everyone buys your offering if you create something unprecedented, and consumers do not think it is necessary to purchase products from others in the industry. To survive in the entertainment industry, it is often the case that everyone tries to follow suit with the strong one. My comment may be at risk of being misinterpreted, but in the digital content field, I think that our creativity is still immature.

Oh, he will be misinterpreted. But go on, Miyamoto, go on…

In the world of comic books and movies, there are people who are challenging themselves to be even more creative than before in creating their content. I believe that we (those who are creating digital content called video games) are still in a transitional period and will eventually step up into the phases where we expand and enrich the substance of our creativity. If we can manage Nintendo without losing sight of this challenge, I believe we might be able to create new entertainment that dominates the industry.

That word, creativity, is the bane of my existence. Every wannabe-writer says, “Life is about me being fulfilled! I yearn to be CREATIVE!” The truth to being an excellent writer is not in being ‘creative’ but in being worldly. You have to go outside, go on adventures, interact with the real world, and not just isolate oneself to be ‘creative’. For example, Miyamoto putting a lake at the top of a mountain after crossing a long bridge in Legend of Zelda is not creative. Miyamoto actually experienced that in real life. He had an adventure and put that in the game.

I have another theory regarding the Quality Rot of Video Games. Today’s game makers grew up playing video games Because of this, they lack the quality of real life experiences and adventures that the original game makers had (who couldn’t have grown up playing video games since video games did not exist yet).

That’s another shareholder meeting! Next time, we’ll see Iwata apologizing to everyone about his sickness and to ‘please understand’ that he didn’t get sick intentionally. (I’m serious. He is going to do this.)

Cya then!


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