News Article

Iwata: Blame Poor Games Not Poor Economy for Sales Decrease

Posted by James Newton

Recession not the be-all and end-all

Just under two months ago we shared news that software sales in the UK were at their lowest in four years, with various factors blamed. Nintendo's President Satoru Iwata has recently discussed why software sales figures have fallen worldwide, with the blame levelled at a surprising party: video game developers.

Mr Iwata openly acknowledged the recession did affect video game sales, but clearly stated that disappointing figures were caused by a lack of great software that people wanted to buy. The video games industry was not showing itself off in the best light, he claims, saying the great attraction of games has not been ably communicated to gamers, causing sales to tail off.

Stressing the importance of coming up with new and interesting product ideas, Mr Iwata stated that the past principle of increasing graphical power is no longer effective in driving sales, but that continuing innovation will help the games industry to recover and sales to pick up.

With upcoming Wii games including Metroid: Other M, Donkey Kong Country Returns, Kirby's Epic Yarn, GoldenEye, Disney's Epic Mickey and more, it looks like sales could return to a healthy state before the year is out.

[via venturebeat.com]

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User Comments (31)

grenworthshero

#1

grenworthshero said:

It's nice to see the someone on the inside essentially officially acknowledge all the shovelware that's out there

Bloodysaber

#2

Bloodysaber said:

At least he's honest and not trying to hide the truth. Also, this sounds a lot like a similar article I read not too long ago...

ejamer

#4

ejamer said:

I disagree slightly. Better graphics is one way to drive increased sales... it's just not the best or most efficient way.

Good to see him call out the complainers who cry about falling sales without providing any software that is actually worth buying. Doesn't mean that all good software is supported the way it deserves (we can all list great games that didn't sell), but his point is still valid.

warioswoods

#5

warioswoods said:

It's too bad poor gamers don't like poor games, or we'd have a win-win situation here.

Slapshot

#6

Slapshot said:

I agree. Nintendo has some great games coming but man have the great games been a slow trickle over the Wii. The DS used to have great games release all the time, but now they are barely ever releasing. Granted this is looking to change :)

That_Guy_from_Faxana

#8

That_Guy_from_Faxana said:

That´s my boy! I agree that not all good games get the sales they deserve, but I can´t stand companies whining about poor sales when they´ve released uninteresting games.

#9

said:

Strong companies never blame economy. They observe customers and work with that mind.

Well done Nintendo.

Egg_miester

#11

Egg_miester said:

sadly there's been a lot of great games out the past few years the problem is that no one is buying them but there's is just as many bad games

Bass_X0

#12

Bass_X0 said:

#10 In the words of the immortal AVGN... "What were they THINKING!?"

Who thought this was a good idea or one that would sell? Even an out-of-touch games developer should have come up with a better idea than this.

odd69

#13

odd69 said:

Im sure it's going to be a hard year to top Nintendo, with all of the Nintendo franchises being released Im sure this wont change for third party developers.atleast until after the holiday's.

JGMR

#14

JGMR said:

Nintendo is at least the only one who makes consoles, on which actually videogames are being released, instead of the overdose of 'virtual soldier and gangster-simulations' sarcasm

Caliko

#15

Caliko said:

Good point Iwatas made.

It bothers me when developers blame Nintendo for bad sales because Nintendo's games are "too good" and overshadow their poorly developed titles.

This has actually been stated before, just not as bluntly sometimes.

CanisWolfred

#17

CanisWolfred said:

Ah, the usual cop-out. Personally, I'd probably buy more games if I hadn't been laid off. Just saying.

Hawker

#18

Hawker said:

I actually agree with Iwata, I've bought several games on the PS3 mostly because there's not really been much on the Wii that I want that I don't already have. After seeing what's on tap for both those systems, most of my money's going to go to Nintendo & the PS3 will be taking a backseat again.

Hardy83

#19

Hardy83 said:

Iwata: It's totally the crap games that hurt the industry. We're personally not going to do anything about it even though the Wii currently has the most shovelware there is. It would be rude of us to implement some sort of quality assurance for games doing to the system as some of our games wouldn't even pass but it's totally the reason why.

JimLad

#22

JimLad said:

Well since Nintendo is pretty much propping up the Wii all by themselves, he has every right to say that.

Unfortunately imaginative game makers are few and far between in the retail market now. All the talent flocks to the HD systems to make sequels, sequels, and more sequels. And the rest is mostly souless cash-ins and half baked hand me downs.
Like I've said before, this industry has gotten too big for itself and it's severely stifling creativity and variety in games. The only way out is once we finally move to digital distribution, and developers can be free from the shackles of their publishers and their over-inflated production costs.

Brainhost

#25

Brainhost said:

He's right. The economy crapping out has jack-all to do with videogame sales. The affected areas only start at large pay-sums that could require loans such as cars and houses.

People are just trying to find excuses is all.

Ski_Deuce

#27

Ski_Deuce said:

Hm. I really wonder about this. As a general observation, companies seem to say they are successful whenever they expand, and whenever that doesn't happen, things are considered as going poorly or unhealthy. If things are "going poorly" enough, a company might compensate by making a section of its business smaller. While expansion is nice, I really think a better definition for success is making quality products, offering quality services, etc, and providing its current staff a high quality of living. I think this definition of unhealthy sales may really just be a symptom of having the wrong definition of success. Besides, does low mean unprofitable, or are sales being seen as unhealthy because sales growth didn't happen this year?

Sean_Aaron

#28

Sean_Aaron said:

Well, "lack of growth" = bad. The best solution is to ditch your shareholders or keep most of the shares "in house" so you can weather the storm of negative comments from analysts when profits falter. For the big publicly-owned outfits like Activision and EA any dip means playing it safe which means sequels or games in established genres.

Very depressing. Of course innovation != riches. I think the best an indie can resonably hope for is to make a living off the fruits of their labour; getting rich isn't necessarily a given. Digital distribution would certainly free them from a lot of monolithic publishers and their issues, but marketing a product without a physical store-shelf presence presents its own challenges.

bestbuck

#29

bestbuck said:

I agree with Iwata, there has been a massive in fall in quality in the last year. At this moment there is nothing to buy on any of the systems apart from Galaxy 2

vio

#30

vio said:

LOL @ JumpMad! I want that that redneck party game! Classic!

IanUniacke

#31

IanUniacke said:

I don't think Iwata is saying that third parties need to shape up or ship out. I think he is talking in general against the negative attitude the industry has towards success which is that failure is always someone elses fault. Instead of making excuses, whatever they may be, try to improve your product.

I think that the problem with AAA games is more that their previous success (2008/2009) was more a result of the buoyant economy rather than the other way around. Recent sales may be seen as a dropping off of sales but I see it more as a correction of previously overinflated sales. Therefore I see it as entirely possible that you can still get big sales if you make a good product. Just look at NSMB Wii or MW 2.

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