Earlier this week, Nintendo President Satoru Iwata addressed several issues with the Wii U console to stockholders. Also mentioned was exploring F2P-style delivery among other concepts to better get games out there and make the console appealing.
Later in the week, he went into more of the issues such as game delays and the console’s power in a Q&A with investors. Needless to say, his answers to the concerns of investors—some of which are shared by Nintendo fans and those with the Wii U—are insightful.
One investor asked if consumers could expect other titles to be delayed in the same way as Pikmin 3 which has been looked forward to for some time now and was expected to be a launch window title. Iwata said, “The reason for the delayed release of our first party titles was the fact that completing the games released at the same time as the Wii U required more development resources that expected,” Basically, some games needed more members to work on them which resulted in other games that were also slated for the launch window to be understaffed—thus taking longer.
Another question shared by all was the general lack of Wii U titles. Iwata tackled the question by stating, “we originally planned to release a few first party titles for Wii U during the first half of this year, but no big titles are scheduled for release before Pikmin 3 in July (in Japan, August in North America) because we decided to take time to add final touches to ensure that consumers fully feel that they are valuable titles.” He went on to add, “The brand of a franchise would be complete degraded without customer satisfaction. This is why we delayed the release schedule of such game.”
This approach could’ve been used by Sega in relation to the largely panned Aliens: Colonial Marines.
Staying on the subject of the resources for delayed games, Iwata added that it was “becoming increasing challenging” to sort out what the minimum sized team to ensure customer satisfaction in a game would be and that it is “challenging to sell packaged software for around $50-$60” and that they can offer digital games in other formats.
It’s good he addressed this. If you’re going to have customers pay in the area of $50-$60 for a title—part of the price includes the packaging, artwork, etc.—then the game should be worth the price. That’s not to say that if that same game was just in digital form and around $40-$50 would take a bunch of the pressure off and give Nintendo the room to make a shoddy game at that price. Basically take the time and make sure all I’s are dotted and all T’s are crossed if the game is going to cost roughly a fourth or a fraction of the console.
Iwata went on to say that they would continue to work on games with high sales potential since those are the ones that allow for the Wii U and Nintendo to break even. It is also these games are usually the ones that require the most time and resources to make sure a game is worth the $50-$60 people are willing to pay for.
The main thing addressed had to be the gamer and developer opinion on the Wii U’s lack of power compared to other upcoming next generation consoles. Iwata stated that it was a fact that some developers saw the Wii U as “not powerful enough” while others said that it had “a different architecture from other consoles and that, when utilized the right way, it can perform well.”
While that could be true, it’s not hard to see how that would turn off some developers from working on the Wii U or—at most—work on it as often as they could. You would have to figure out how to make it so that your title can work with the Wii U in a way that would be enjoyable for the player. Some developers might say “Well never mind that, we don’t have to do much between the PS4 and Xbox 720 to get this bird off the ground.”
It was noted that Nintendo would have to work to get rid of that stigma and that some companies are actually working with Wii U while others are not. Iwata also stated that “It is important to have supportive companies enjoy successful sales of a game and feel that their decision to develop something for Wii U was correct.”
Iwata capped everything off by telling investors that Nintendo would be shooting for strong sales in the summer with third party releases on the Wii U. The upcoming summer season will also see the Wii U console debut of the Wii Fit series and Pikmin 3 which could move a few units.
It should be noted that a number of Nintendo fans who would’ve purchased a Wii U last year are merely waiting for games to arrive on the console—similar to the wait for the PlayStation Vita or when the Nintendo 3DS launched. Part of the launch and first year success of a console is the console itself while the bulk is games that players would shell out money for.
In related Wii U news, Nintendo have sent notices to inform Wii owners that the Wii U isn’t just another Wii version, but a different and new console all together. People who own a Wii generally know that the Wii and Wii U are two different consoles. TV and online advertising needs to pick up for Wii U. Just use the strategy Sega used against Nintendo in the early 90s against the Wii.