The investor Q&A Nintendo held recently is throwing up all kinds of interesting stories. We already know that Nintendo President Satoru Iwata is warming to the idea of smartphones and has intentionally held back Wii U launch titles, and we now have some illuminating figures relating to the regular Nintendo Direct broadcasts.
Iwata told investors:
When we launched Nintendo Direct a year ago, we did not know how many people would care to watch it, but now it appears that as many as 600,000 to 1 million people watch our Nintendo Direct videos in a week.
Because Nintendo Direct can reach out to such a wide audience, we feel that it is definitely worthwhile to devote our energy to continuing our Nintendo Direct endeavours. In fact, each time we do a Nintendo Direct broadcast, more people visit the Nintendo eShop to download game demos and 3D videos, and it has become clear that it also leads to a higher use rate of the hardware, and even higher hardware sales. This convinces us that it is worthwhile to do regular broadcasts.
Iwata also revealed that Nintendo Direct is an important tool when it comes to communicating directly with players, and allows Nintendo to avoid having its message changed or altered by elements of the gaming press.
One important reason why we launched Nintendo Direct is that we had a very difficult problem where new game information that we announced was quickly distorted and then spread before we could put it up on the Internet.
Until recently, we simply had no other choice but to deliver our messages through the media, but today, thanks to the advent of the Internet, watching videos (online) is nothing out of the ordinary, and it has created new ways in which to make announcements.
Fielding questions from the audience, Iwata responded to a statement which suggested that the Nintendo Direct videos were only speaking to hardcore players, and that casual consumers were completely unware they even existed. Iwata refuted this argument:
It would be wrong to say that Nintendo Direct has no effect on a more passive audience who do not actively look for game information. And there are numbers to show that.
The Animal Crossing: New Leaf Direct video (Japanese only) that we broadcast in Japan the other day has attracted more than 1.1 million views. It is not exceptional for a three-minute music video to have 1 million views, but for a 47-minute video, which only explains in detail about a game, this figure is phenomenal, and what’s more, 65% of the views came from smart devices.
This means our audience goes beyond our fans who watch our broadcasts live for information. We can then, for example, attract those who are very interested in the Animal Crossing series but perhaps have no interest in Nintendo Direct, or those who know nothing about Nintendo Direct but heard about the video somewhere else.
Finally, in his typically self-deprecating style, Iwata stated that Nintendo would continue to produce these videos as long as people were happy to watch them:
I do not know when people will become bored with an average man in his fifties talking at length about games, but at the moment it appears that many people are enjoying and paying attention to our Nintendo Direct broadcasts, and while this is the case, we will continue to air them.