News Article

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.

[via nintendo.co.jp]

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User Comments (27)

WaLzgiStaff

#1

WaLzgi said:

In other words, maybe next fall? Good! They need to reveal more stuff at the next e3!

Ernest_The_Crab

#2

Ernest_The_Crab said:

I get that, it makes some sense on why the console can't be released as soon as the announcement. That being said though, even if the 3rd party launch support isn't great as a result, shouldn't the first party do something to make up for it?

FonistofCruxis

#3

FonistofCruxis said:

I would hate it if a console was launche the day after it was announced. I like to know things in advance and it would make it harder for people to decide what launch games to get if reviewers didn't have time to review the launch games before release.

Blaze

#4

Blaze said:

'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'

So, why wasn't there a great line up for the 3DS? Come on Nintendo, give us some great games!!! :-)

James

#5

James said:

RE: saying "this console is out tomorrow," SEGA did that with Saturn. Remember how that turned out.

jediknight

#6

jediknight said:

Hopefully the next e3 they'll have more hints as to wether they will have a flash-player on it. Just wondering, and I highly doubt it...

dizzy_boy

#8

dizzy_boy said:

it`s easier to drip feed info for their next console to keep interest. i reckon it creates more sales.

WhiteTrashGuy

#9

WhiteTrashGuy said:

I believe in Nintendo. Since the 64 days I have realized that I buy their hardware to play their games. And with Nintendo being the most polished developer in the world that is fine by me. I hope that the horsepower of the Wii U is tantalizing enough to get third-parties interested in doing something different with what the new controller affords. Otherwise there is definitley the strong possibility that the Wii U will be the Dreamcast all over again. Luckily Nintendo's franchises are stronger than Sega; and the Wii brand is a cultural beast.

BalrogtheMaster

#11

BalrogtheMaster said:

Man, SEGA got everyone so pissed back in 1995 when they did that. KB Toys and Toys-R-Us refused to even sell the thing. 3rd party developers were even furious because they expected a release in the winter.

rjejr

#12

rjejr said:

So in the age of Twitter and the all-invasive internet new consoles are supposed to materialze onto store shelves? Even Apple gives a months notice. Yes, people are always saying - I want it now! - but even the biggest Ninty fanboi must realize you need time, if for nothing less than to build the systems, box them, ship them to stores,and get them on the shelves. Not happening overnight.

I still want my HD Wii ASAP, and even if I can' get it upon release as I'm not spending a week of my life sleeping on a sidewalk I still want it sooner rather than later, but Chrismats 2012 (Mayan calendar stuff not withstanding) works for me. Later than that and PS4 might come calling.

DestinyMan

#13

DestinyMan said:

I wouldn't mind if Wii U was released next fall so developing first-party games for the console can have time to grow. That way Nintendo can win E3 again by showing HD Mario, Pikmin 3, and maybe Smash Bros. if they were far enough in development to make a trailer. There was some interesting tidbits in this interview, especially when Iwata talked about the possibility of Nintendo expanding its market into China and India.

Vinsanity

#15

Vinsanity said:

What the heck are shareholders talking about? Console makers have ALWAYS talked about their new hardware, like, a year out from release. I remember this stuff from way back in the mid-90's, when Nintendo was talking about the SNES CD (which became the Playstation), and eventually the Nintendo "Ultra" 64. Sure, there was Sega, who announced the Saturn at e3 and then released it stores the SAME DAY (not the brightest move), but mostly, there's always a lengthy wait between announcements and hardware release.

Who gives a sh** though really? What's far more worrying is the massive gap in time between a hardware's release and how long it takes for a killer app to show up. I seem to remember Nintendo being able to launch with worthwhile games back in the day. Back when Mario would show up to a system's launch. Now though, it takes a year or MORE. And without games, who cares about hardware...besides those psychotic PC gamers who will spend thousands to upgrade their rig so Crysis 2 can run in DX11 mode and they can get slightly nicer reflection effects.

The Wii U better launch with some great stuff, man. Port ups of Wii games we were denied or are coming out late (Xenoblade, Skyward Sword, Dragon Quest X are all great candidates for a Wii U port up. If Sony can pull off the "HD Remaster" trick for PSP games on the PS3, Nintendo should be able to do something like that for Wii U), some cool original stuff, the eShop ready-to-go on Day 1, and good ports of other HD console games. Anything less is another slap in the face from the company.

timp29

#16

timp29 said:

Almosts sounds as if the only reason the Wii U went to E3 was because it was leaked by developers.

komicturtle

#17

komicturtle said:

@3DSNeedsRPGs

It's because 3rd parties wreck havoc on the launch. Nintendo gave them the opportunity and well, they bombed it. I would not be surprised if the original intention was the launch Zelda OoT and even Star Fox 3D with the 3DS.

I hope Nintendo doesn't allow it to happen again. Just release your big games at launch and don't worry about it intruding into 3rd parties. It was always fine.

wanderlustwarrior

#20

wanderlustwarrior said:

I don't really agree with what he's saying. With the WiiU, it seemed obvious to me that they announced something early to prevent from having a long, dead space. The "announcements" of the Smash Bros. games were confirmed to be that.

With Nintendo's past handhelds, considering they've launched a new handheld nearly every other year since the turn of the millennia, I'd more chalk launch failure recently up to fatigue of incremental upgrades combined with an already flooded market of DSs. At least with the DS and DSi, there were multiple things the predecessor couldn't do, right out of the box. With the SP, Micro, DS slim, iXL and now 3DS, there hasn't been as much of a reason to by it quickly.

Also, economics. Sure 3D and better graphics are nice, but I'm not going to shell out the money for it when I just bought a DSi 2 years ago.

Though one possible agreement is that a longer launch gap can give more reason to persuade a user to buy eventually, given enough reasons. There simply weren't enough compelling reasons for the 3DS. Two fighting games, one of which is out everywhere but nintendo products, isn't doing it for me anymore (again, economics).

eviLaTtenDant

#21

eviLaTtenDant said:

I have no problem when a console is meant to be released about 1.5 years after its announcement. Just make sure to reach the right people at the right time.
For people that really are into gaming it would be great to have new information on a regular basis. Maybe bi-weekly. I mean you could create a megahype for Smash Bros. Brawl why not do it the same way for a new console ? (How expensive it is to do such marketing remains the question though.)
Reach out / advertise for the "casuals" shorter before its launch with the biggest selling point.

All i'm saying is that if you have a good marketing plan an early announcement won't be a problem. People have to save up money for it anyway.


Vinsanity wrote:

What's far more worrying is the massive gap in time between a hardware's release and how long it takes for a killer app to show up.

At least with the DS and the 3DS. Best game for the DS was Super Mario 64 at that time. The best game for the 3DS now is by far "Ocarina". And i wouldn't have gotten it without the preorder bonus and the soundtrack aka i wouldn't have paid full price for the game alone.
Dragon Quest X would really be a great launch game. Pair that with Darksiders 2 and a very good racing game and you'll most likely have one really happy gamer here. I just don't know if Squarenix wouldn't want to wait for a bigger user base though.


wanderlustwarrior wrote:

With Nintendo's past handhelds, considering they've launched a new handheld nearly every other year since the turn of the millennia, I'd more chalk launch failure recently up to fatigue of incremental upgrades combined with an already flooded market of DSs. At least with the DS and DSi, there were multiple things the predecessor couldn't do, right out of the box. With the SP, Micro, DS slim, iXL and now 3DS, there hasn't been as much of a reason to by it quickly.

That's a really good point here. Haven't thought about that yet. But i do think the 3DS does many things the DSi should have done before...


jediknight wrote:

Hopefully the next e3 they'll have more hints as to wether they will have a flash-player on it.

If they want the console to play a leading part in families' living rooms they better integrate an option to watch youtube -like clips for free. With the browser portions of their E3 presentation it seems perfect to stream youtube videos "from the controller to the TV screen".

tovare

#22

tovare said:

One good game can make a console worthwhile...rest of the platform games a bonus. For me it's GameBoy SP - Metroid Fusion, DSi - Chinatown Wars, Wii - Wii Sports, 3DS - Ghost Recon.

siddharthbandhu

#23

siddharthbandhu said:

Im fine with the time Nintendo takes to start selling the console. It needs time to develop software. Nintendo is a company run by humans, not Robots

Skotski

#24

Skotski said:

@Pj1
It's so very, very true. Developers were outraged that their games that were planned on the console's release were suddenly pushed to rush. ...many 3rd party developers quit supporting the Sega Saturn after that little sales stunt.

It's a lesson for all companies from now and forever: It's better to be late with your release than ahead of its supporters.

MeloMan

#25

MeloMan said:

I guess this is why I'm not too concern about how exactly powerful the WiiU is. Til further notice the best we have is PS360 1.5, but we'll have to wait for an accurate measure. I will say I never expected the GC to have been the 2nd most powerful system in that generation, so everything is just wait and see.

hydeks

#27

hydeks said:

yay the Wii U coming out next year around may doesn't bother me. the saturn was an awesome designed system BUT failed in everyway with it's marketing etc. etc. but we can't compare Nintendo to Sega, Nintendo has always been a bigger company than Sega in all territories (well, except europe, sega use to be top there till sony came along).

I'll wait for the wii u and the wait for the 3DS wasn't as bad as they say, most consoles are announced like a year to 2 years before even released. Tell you honestly, I think the only reason they showed what they did of the wii u is because they don't have much to show other than 3DS and zelda stuff this year, and the fact that there was a billion rumors going around, might as well build on that hype.

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