News Article

Iwata Expresses Regrets About the Way the Wii was Marketed

Posted by Trevor Chan

In future, things will be done differently

The Nintendo Wii is approaching its fifth year on the market now, enough time has passed in that Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata can now reflect on how the console has performed and how he wishes its future performance will play out.

Speaking to investors and analysts, Iwata expressed his regrets towards the way the Wii was marketed:

I now regret that we didn't tie up with someone outside the company to market the Wii. If we had done that, the fate of the Wii might have been different... Now I am aware that we should not rely too much on ourselves. You will see what I mean by this when we market the 3DS and the Wii in the future.

Although the Wii is a big-seller as evident by the 86 million consoles sold worldwide, selling hardware clearly isn't Iwata's only priority. Hinting that we'll see more diverse marketing efforts for the 3DS, Wii and the Wii's successor, Iwata implies that Nintendo will open up a bit more when it comes to external influences. Maybe there is something to those rumours of Nintendo trying to recapture the interest of the hardcore demographic.

[via reuters.com, nintendo.co.jp]

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User Comments (46)

Punny

#2

Punny said:

I think Iwata should be happy about the way the Wii was marketed! Sure it was a bit campy, but it delivered its primary goal, a video game console anybody can enjoy. It also became the best-selling video game console this generation. If Nintendo can pull off an even better marketing campaign, Iwata would be swimming in a pool of gold like Scrooge McDuck!

Nintomdo64

#6

Nintomdo64 said:

It's nice to see Nintendo grow as a company. One of the great things about Nintendo is they do their own thing and don't follow trends. I've always thought though, that they needed to balance this with a little less rigid approach to their fan base. It seems they're finally starting to understand this.

TKOWL

#8

TKOWL said:

I wish Nintendo would continue the style of advertising they did with Mario Kart Wii:

:D

CorbsAdmin

#9

Corbs said:

I still think this has more to do with third-party game support than anything. They made a big deal about it last year at E3 and I think we're going to see more of the same push to get more third-party support for this new console at this year's show. :D

NintyMan

#10

NintyMan said:

If they return to the awesome commercials of the 80's, 90's, and early 2000's, then I will absolutely support it! There's still a few that I fondly remember to this day. And "hardcore" fans thought Nintendo was out of touch!

OldBoy

#11

OldBoy said:

I thought the UK marketing was awful which probably meant it did its job. Most things I don't like seem to be popular with the "masses" :D. I think a two pronged attack would work better ,one style for the "hardcore" and one for the "casual stuff". Throughout the Wii's lifespan I can count on one hand the amount of advertisments for the more traditional games that I seen. The reason stuff like LKS , Madworld ,No More Heroes...(the list goes on) didn't sell is partially down to lack of advertising IMO. In a medium with so much choice you really need to sell these kind of games to people.
If I don't have to see Ant n Dec and the Redknapps (WTF) waggling around though I'm all for the new Iwata way :) Bring it on

manleycartoonist

#13

manleycartoonist said:

I like the "Wii would like to play" commercials. Nintendo just needs to do more like PS3 does. Sell themselves and games at the same time... even if they didn't make the game.

MasterGraveheart

#14

MasterGraveheart said:

They make it sound like the Wii was an absolute failure... It did very well for itself in video game history. My only gripe was the third party offerings and online issues. Those NEED to be fixed for the next console.

Yosher

#15

Yosher said:

I honestly hope they'll return to the commercial style of back in the day of the NES to N64! Those commercials were brilliant. I don't even care if they make one for Japan and then slip a cheap translation over the international versions of the commercials.

That said the Wii commercials weren't all bad, but not really memorable either.

MeloMan

#16

MeloMan said:

I liked the "Play it Loud!" days. Nintendo was really kickin' tail during those days as they brought the SNES to a close :)

Nintendo has got everything they wanted this generation, built upon what they wanted to do alone: expand the gamer userbase and become the #1 selling console for the first time in eons. I agree with Corbie in that the one thing they dropped the ball on is the exact thing that devs and general gamers have complained about: give us a system that not only innovates but is also on par with its competitors... give a reason besides just a "hook" to develop for your system if you're a dev or game on you system if you're a gamer if not both.

Personally, I feel the last 3 Nintendo systems could've been stronger systems if there weren't intentional shortcomings (N64 - powerful system for it's time, stunted by cartridge use, GCN - powerful system for it's time, stunted by a limited optical disc and memory storage capacity and a joke of an online, Wii - "adequately" powered, "adequate game disc", storage still rediculously small and online better than GCN but still just "adequate" enough to be there). It's time Nintendo... it's time to just go out there, give us the best of everything with the money you made from the Wii and DS, and give the people what they want.

If you build it, they WILL COME "because" it's Nintendo... it's not rocket science :)

RaylaxStaff

#17

Raylax said:

"Now I am aware that we should not rely too much on ourselves."

**slow clap** Took you long enough, Ninty.

CaPPa

#18

CaPPa said:

@Corbs
I agree, I believe Iwata is referring to the way that 3rd party game advertising is always linked to either Sony or Microsoft, whilst Nintendo advertising was very self contained.

XCWarrior

#19

XCWarrior said:

I own 52 Wii games, more than any other system I possess, and I've owned systems since the NES. I think they did just fine,at least for hitting my tastes.

quino711

#21

quino711 said:

Iwata is afraid of the "social games" ,they have lost important customers and won customers that will end up leaving them eventually. MAaaaybe that's why he is regretting the marketing approach

Glade

#22

Glade said:

Wow he's in a state of depression recently... Anyway the Wii was still a huge success in my books. *^ million consoles sold. that aint something small :D

jerryo

#23

jerryo said:

They did fine no worries they boosted the company for new victories. wii is a huge success, and so is DS. no worries there! if they bring in extra help sure thing! the more the merrier :)

komicturtle

#24

komicturtle said:

I'm digging Iwata admitting things. Something Jack Tretton would NEVER do.

He has some bawls (if it's not appropriate to say this- sorry ._.)

Wheels2050

#25

Wheels2050 said:

They'd better lift their game - the 3DS ads here in Oz are awful. You literally watch someone standing there with a 3DS (all you see is the back of it) saying things like "wow!" and "that's amazing!".

Come on...

(Here's an example, the rest are exactly the same thing:)

PSICOffee

#26

PSICOffee said:

I wish Iwata means he regrets selling to the casual crowd, but I'm sure he really means he regrets not having 3rd parties promote their stuff with him.

Ren

#27

Ren said:

Yeah, it seemed fine because the console is great and it basically sold it self. But the marketing was still pretty substandard. Not the overwhelming blitz that Sony is better at. With the next machine they really will need to step it up unless they have another machine that does something new and unbelievable. Then again I wouldn't be surprised; the 3DS already feels that way for me, and I never see any ads for it anywhere. The experience sells it, though.

emiru69

#28

emiru69 said:

Those are some honest words. I think the best approach is some middle ground: meaning something between a Wii approach and the GameCube approach. GameCube had great titles and huge support from third parties but it didn't break records either.
Be water my friend! XD

aaronsullivan

#29

aaronsullivan said:

Loved the "Wii would like to play" commercials as well. They were pitch perfect for what the Wii brought to homes, including the quirkiness of it all.

That said, I think a fresh infusion of ideas for advertising is always good.

brainofj

#31

brainofj said:

Actions speak louder than words, Iwata. And while I enjoy many games on my Wii, the failure to court third parties for strong support, letting the system be bogged down with tons of shovelware, virtually abandoning VC and WiiWare without advertisement or promotion of any kind, and a plethora of gimmicks (balance board, Motion Plus) that were under-supported all contribute to where I am now: not interested in Project Cafe. You want my fanship back, put on your big boy pants and be a VIDEO GAME COMPANY again.

WaveyChristmas

#33

WaveyChristmas said:

Nintendo should take a giant look at their 80's and early 90's Nes, GB and SNES commercials and work off that. :D

Bring back the out of this world zany, whacky, ultra crazy and mondo fun commercials of the past I say.


I love how they used to show the console in an exciting flashy way, by adding crazy 80's thunder or making it stick out like it's larger than life. Nowadays things are sooo tame and bluh in comparison....Commercials are so lifeless and boring in this day and age. The commercials for Super Mario Galaxy 2, DKCReturns, KEY and Metroid: Other M were actually pretty decent though.

It's just the other crap like NIntendo's DSi commercials or their Wii franchise efforts that are completely roll eyes worthy. Not liking the 3DS commercials either.....The rap music in Street Fighter was purtyyy lame.

motang

#34

motang said:

Live and learn, I will be glad if Project Cafe will be marketed totally differently than the Wii was. Variety is good.

outrun2sp

#37

outrun2sp said:

Good to see that its acknowledged that there are more important things then how many units are sold.

Everytime theres a boast about sales figures on this site im like meh to it because what really counts is software sales and thats where the wii has been poor. Im gonna ignore those articles from now on.

Wii outselling PS3 and 360 doesnt matter to me because its not a superior machine and the audience actually buying them arent really sophisticated or serious about gaming. Nintendo has lost lots of street credibility that it had during the nes / snes / n64 days because of this.

Hardware units are sold quickly especially to children but allot of these people only have about 5 games including Wii sports and rubbish like carnival game pack. The people surely then move on and go and get PS3's later.

When the new nintendo machine comes out im sure it will be different.

Retrogamer88

#38

Retrogamer88 said:

well i hope this means we will see more games from japan come state side that would have otherwise not been released here,and yes motang variety is good,this could be a good thing because maybe we will get more people playing the wii insted of making fun of it as a "kids console" because it really isnt for those of us that know better but other than that maybe this will bring more greatness to the wii and future nintendo products

JimLad

#39

JimLad said:

"Now I am aware that we should not rely too much on ourselves."
That bit of self-realisation right there is worth countless millions.

daznsaz

#40

daznsaz said:

it annoys me when you hear the wii jingle on tv look up wanting to see a new game and all you get is some woman saying howmuch weight she lost with her wii board think theres a horror game coming that uses the board soon

siavm

#41

siavm said:

@Corbs
Third parties don't market systems. They market their games. I am sure he is talking about other places in the media that nintendo do not go for with the wii. And I mostly think he is talking about japan. Since so else in the briefing he said 56 games were made for japan last year versus 256 for the US.

Ryno

#42

Ryno said:

No Iwatasan, you did a great job marketing the Wii. You conviced me and many people to buy an upgraded Gamecube with motion controls and to repurchase overpriced Nintendo classics on the virtual console! Most of my money spent on video games has gone towards the PS3 but I still spent a good chunk of change on Wii products. Nice work, a raise is definitely deserved.

rjejr

#43

rjejr said:

I now regret that we didn't tie up with someone outside the company to market the Wii

Guess I'm weird, but I read "McDonalds" for "someone". Or Walmart. That shiny white vrtical book shape coudl have used some logos on the side. I still think they should let Netflix sell a Wii that looks like their red envelope. Still though, 86 million doesn't suck for the 3rd best hardware platform, but yeah, after reading years of comments about peoples Wiis collecting dust, they could have used more games sold. Not marketings problem, 3rd party HD games not being fairly ported to the Wii crushed some sales. If only it had been 720p powerful they would have gotten more support. Now they know, HD is not a question for Cafe, no matter how powerful the system is or isn't.

Kid_A

#44

Kid_A said:

I'd love to see a return of the super-cheesy-yet-super-awesome commercials of the 80's and 90's, with overly enthusiastic wrestling match announcers doing the narration. "SUPER COOL GRAPHICS! AMAAAaaaaaAAAAAZING MOTION CONTROLS! YOUR! HEAD! WILL! EXPLOOOOOODE! Wii Music 2, coming soon."

Henmii

#45

Henmii said:

As for the 3DS marketing: While I saw a rather cool American 3DS commercial, the European ones are very boring. In Europe you only see people that TALK about the 3DS, and after that you only see a very small piece of footage from one of the games. Very weak commercials.

However, to much "attitude" is not good either. I was very happy to see a Gamecube advertisement some years ago in a newspaper, untill I saw what it really showed. It showed a boy peeing on a fence, with butterflies of death flying around. It also had a very stupid slogan. This wasn't Nintendo at all! I don't want to see that again!!

Lobster

#46

Lobster said:

Yeah, chiming in with another, "I loved the 'Wii would like to play' series." Something about those commercials just made me want to get a Wii, or find someone who had one and hang out. It just really captured something and struck a chord. I can't really explain why I loved them so much, I just did. Every time I saw one, it brought a smile to my face.

That said, while I don't think Nintendo's marketing is doing anything wrong, I'm still excited to see how they revamp it.

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