Iwata: "Difficult to Launch Hardware Close to Its Announcement"
Posted by Trevor Chan
The timing of the 3DS and Wii U is certainly debatable
Everyone loves a bit of gossip, and what better gossip is there in the video game industry than what new consoles are capable of? That appears to be one of Nintendo's main problems when it's in the process of unveiling new hardware. Like the company and its products or not, many are interested in the way Nintendo moves.
During the 71st annual shareholders' general meeting, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata was asked why there was such a long gap between the 3DS's announcement and its eventual launch. Suggesting that Nintendo is slow on development, the shareholder posited that a product should be launched within six months after its announcement to avoid consumer interest fading. Iwata's response was:
If Nintendo could maintain the platform without anyone else's help or use past assets without any change, for example, enhanced graphics along with 3D view when Nintendo DS software is played on the Nintendo 3DS, then we could keep silent in the preparation of the platform and then announce, "We will launch it tomorrow, please buy one."
Iwata also noted the importance of having a strong software line-up for launch, but regarding confidential information on unannounced products, some just can't keep a secret:
In the past, when Nintendo did not receive as much attention as we do now, we did not have to worry about the spread of our confidential information since it did not have any value in society, but since the Nintendo DS and the Wii created a social phenomenon, "Nintendo's next move" commands great attention and extreme news value. Therefore, although we go to great lengths to ensure that this will not happen, there are cases where, even if a person receives information under a Non-Disclosure Agreement, the information is leaked because there is great temptation.
With the limited information we got about the Wii U at E3, it seems Nintendo is as cautious as ever with the console's innermost secrets. Iwata has in the past, expressed the importance Nintendo places on the ability to surprise gamers and new hardware like the Wii U is no different. In the build-up to E3, the Internet was bursting with rumours regarding Nintendo's next home console: some were correct, others turned out to be way off. It's this kind of disinformation that makes it harder to determine when something should be announced to avoid further leaks.
Even for the Wii U, some people may be aware, if they had been checking the Internet, that information with true and false rumors mixed together was spread on the Internet before the announcement. Therefore, as for new hardware, even if we wanted to, it is extremely challenging to realize a situation where a product is announced and then launched the next day.