Nintendo investor Q&A transcript – English translation
Here is the English translation for that little Q&A Iwata had with investors at the end of last week.
My question is on what conversations have taken place between Nintendo and outside partners about Wii U. There is strong third-party support in the U.S. launch lineup. Do you think that third-party publishers are launching their titles on Wii U simply as part of their multi-platform strategy, or are they looking into the new form of entertainment that Wii U offers? Furthermore, do you think that they share Nintendo’s vision for what it believes is the raison d’être for dedicated gaming platforms? Also, you announced that you would launch a service named “Nintendo TVii” with Netflix and Hulu Plus, among others. What do your non-gaming partners think of the Wii U system?
Satoru Iwata (President):
Let me first explain how software publishers in the video game industry are seeing the Wii U system. Naturally there are publishers that simply fell in love with the possibilities of Wii U, and as exemplified in “ZombiU” by Ubisoft, some are developing Wii U-exclusive titles. In addition to this, there are multi-platform titles that nevertheless take advantage of the Wii U GamePad or the Wii U system itself, and at the same time, there are purely multi-platform titles, so it is true that our publishers have varying degrees of commitment. However, the fact that we were able to announce such a rich launch lineup of games, particularly from overseas software publishers, does give us confidence. While the future of dedicated gaming platforms is now widely discussed, as the graphs for the U.S. market justify, I believe that this lineup proves that Nintendo’s vision is shared by many, and there is active support for that too. My aim is to set a successful example towards and after the end of the year that rewards the investment our third-party publishers put into their titles and will then create a chain of other successful titles. Establishing this kind of example at an early stage is crucial since it gives others the incentive to follow suit, while failing to do so casts a dark shadow over their future prospects of the platform. We should therefore not be content with having a good game lineup. It is important to produce examples of success from these titles.
I will now move onto the second question about our outside partners. You mentioned Netflix and Hulu Plus, which are VOD service providers. Since we created Wii U, because it is located right next to the TV set and is connected to the Internet, we have been thinking of ways to turn Wii U into a system that changes the relationship between the TV, the Internet and the user. And in fact, this has been our goal since we launched Wii. However, the Wii hardware did not have a screen of its own, and while the controller allowed for intuitive gameplay which enabled one to move his/her body, it was not suited for typing. This time, we thought that we would be able to create a new service using the Wii U GamePad and announced what is known as “Nintendo TVii” in the United States. Thanks to the success of cable television in the United States, there are numerous TV channels as well as VOD services, including Netflix and Hulu Plus, and we therefore thought that a universal search feature that enables you to look for programs to watch in one unified way would be suited to how people watch television in the United States. Indeed, it might be more probable for the system to spread among consumers if it is successful in providing services and putting smiles on the faces of our consumers even when it is not being used to play games in the living room. In fact, services like Netflix in the U.S. and BBC iPlayer in the U.K. are already popular on Wii, and many people are still actively using these services. As a result, VOD service providers are aware that the Wii system and Wii users go very well with VOD services. Everyone in the VOD industry recognizes the possibilities of Wii U, and we are receiving other proposals which we have not announced yet.
By the way, one thing to note is that the way people watch television is significantly different in each country. In Japan, for example, television watching is usually limited to a handful of terrestrial television channels, whereas in the United States, where cable television has grown in popularity, there are literally hundreds of channels to choose from, so what we mean by making television easier to watch and more enjoyable should not be the same in every region. We did consider making Wii U into such a system in Japan, as it will be located right next to the TV and will be connected to the Internet, but I feel that Japanese consumers would not appreciate a service that is designed for the U.S. market. The same applies to Europe. We are currently considering offering “Nintendo TVii” in Japan and Europe by taking into account how people watch television in each region, and I believe I will be able to share more details in the not-so-distant future. In this sense, many partners, including third-party publishers and non-gaming partners, as exemplified by VOD service providers, are seeing a lot of potential in Wii U, especially because it can also be used freely in the living room even if the TV is in use, and there are many possibilities, such as a shopping service or some other service that uses the Internet. Also I regret having to have used Nintendo’s limited game development resources in order to provide non-gaming features on Wii. This time, we are working to see how we can enrich our services without having to rely on Nintendo’s internal development resources, and because the Wii U system itself is now fairly powerful, I believe that standard web technologies can be applied to achieve a sufficient degree of speed and convenience, and we will deploy our services in this fashion in the future.
A lot of great info in this Q&A. Check it out HERE.