Iwata GDC Speech “Misunderstood” – Why Wii Successor Did Not Get Announced Then
First of all, regarding my presentation at GDC, we have posted my entire keynote speech on our websites, but I am very disappointed with one thing.
Many reports said that I talked about a conflict between the quantity and the quality of video games, which made me think that reporters should have at least written an article after reading through the full text of the presentation since we have posted the Japanese translations of the entire keynote speech. I have never mentioned the conflict between quantity and quality at all. Some articles based on this misperception even said, “Nintendo hard hit by video games for smartphones and social games, and criticized them as low quality” but, again, I have never said such a thing at all. The only message that I had hoped to convey at GDC was, since my keynote speech was dedicated to the game developers, that, without carefully trying to preserve the value of the games we develop, the digital distribution revolution could very easily depreciate their value, which might make all of us have a hard time.
Naturally there are both high-quality games and low-quality games in the traditional video game business that we have long engaged in. It is obvious that some games are fun and others are boring. As there is no accounting for tastes, I cannot say that all of the games Nintendo has released are definitely considered to be high-quality to everyone, and nor did I intend to refer to the quality of games by other developers. At the same time, however, I am reflecting on how I made my presentation, which was eventually summarized by some as if I had argued a conflict between quantity and quality.
What I wanted to argue most was that video game developers need to be careful about “preserving the value of video games” so that the video game industry, regarded as valuable by many people, can be sustainable. This is the message I was eager to deliver. Since GDC is a place for developers who create games, I dared to do that there even though there was a chance that some people might have a misunderstanding.
I sincerely hope that you will read my presentation on the website again and understand that it is a story about how to preserve the value of video games, not about a conflict between quantity and quality of video games.
Next I would like to tell you why we announced Wii’s successor system at this time, not at GDC. Naturally, the earlier we announce a new system, the more speculation will be encouraged and there will be a higher risk of information leakage from those who are working cooperatively on it outside Nintendo. In addition, a lot of people interested in our next move might be less amazed at E3 if we disclose too much information in advance.
At the same time, however, if we make a totally surprising announcement at E3 on the spot, which would be an effective way to astonish people, some busy people might say, “Oh, Nintendo is a mischievous company. I could have visited E3 if I was informed of the announcement in advance.” We decided to make the announcement at this time because now is our last opportunity to inform people so that they can arrange their travel schedule for E3. – Satoru Iwata
Well, Iwata definitely caught a bunch of flak for his GDC comments, but it seems like some people may have taken what he said in the wrong way. I doubt those people will go back and re-read his GDC speech, but hopefully these comments will help some of those people better understand where he was coming from. As for the Wii successor being shown at E3 instead of GDC, that’s fine by me. E3 reveals are always so much grander!