News Article

Reggie: Time Spent on Rival Devices is a Missed Opportunity For Nintendo

Posted by Damien McFerran

Company looks to offer a broader degree of entertainment

Nintendo is entering a unique phase in its existance, a period where its rivals not only include Microsoft and Sony, but also Apple and Google. Despite Nintendo's best efforts to deny the threat, mobile and social gaming is most definitely on the rise, and many predict that the traditional console market will suffer as a result.

Another concern is the move towards convergence, where your games console is no longer just for playing the latest action adventure, but also for surfing the web, watching movies, listening to music and looking at family photos. Consoles like the PS3 and Xbox 360 have already taken bold steps in becoming the entertainment and media hub of the entire home, and Nintendo is doing the same with its much-hyped Nintendo TVii service.

Keen to state his company's position in this shifting arena, Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime had this to say to The Seattle Times:

We’ve always been an entertainment company. I think what the Wii U does is further show that our vision is this broader entertainment landscape. Because in the end the time that consumer spends in any form of entertainment that’s not on our device is a missed opportunity for us.

It’s that type of thinking that led us to create Brain Age, same type of thinking that led us to create Wii Fit. It’s looking at the broadest landscape possible as to what constitutes entertainment.

Whether they’re 95 years old or 5 years old, we want to create entertainment that’s going to speak to that consumer. In our view whether we deliver it in a handheld device or in their home, it’s an opportunity to engage with that consumer, make them smile, give them something positive.

You look at the way we’ve managed the Mario franchise, the Zelda franchise, all our of our key franchise characters, utilizing a variety of different gameplay styles – it’s always been about driving entertainment.

I think that we already see ourselves as an entertainment company. I think that certainly as we launch the Wii U, as consumers experience Nintendo TV, I think consumers will also see us as a broader entertainment company.


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User Comments (38)



ajcismo said:

Really not much new or surprising there. But it is interesting how they are finally embracing this "all in one" philosophy that's taken years and nearly 2 full generations of consoles to figure out.



Bankai said:

So Nintendo thinks of itself as an "entertainment" company because it uses Mario and Zelda and has some casual game franchise for the grandparents to play along with. Good to know he can interchange "gaming" with "entertainment" when it suits his marketing message.

Reggie's fooling himself if he actually thinks that Nintendo has any potential play outside of interactive software. It's like, last, in a long, long stream of competition.



Lalivero said:

Miiverse should also help as a middleground, if it turns out to be what it's looking like.



Damo said:

@WhiteKnight Actually, I think you'd be surprised. Just think of how many Wii/Nintendo fans there are out there that have never connected their games console to an on-demand video service. If Nintendo can effectively communicate its message with Nintendo TVii, it could become a major player in this arena almost overnight - purely because it has a sector of the market in its hands which Sony and MS don't: the causal sector.



ajcismo said:

I'm still disappointed in the lack of DVD/Blu-ray playback on the consoles. I understand Big N doesn't want to pay consortium royalties, thereby keeping costs down, but I would have to think the sheer number of people buying the system because of disc playback would be full of profit.



Haywired said:

Does Nintendo really have the casual sector "in its hands"and MS doesn't? Maybe if it were still 2008 that would be right, but now I'm not quite so sure about that (surely if anyone has the casual sector in its hands right now it's Apple and Google/Android).



Damo said:

@Haywired The mobile sector has a lot of 'casual' players, but I think there's only a small amount of overlap between the mobile and domestic 'casual' audience. Most young kids I know have access to a Wii and DS, but not necessarily a smartphone or tablet.

Granted, Wii's audience has fallen, but it's still in a commanding position regardless. And Nintendo's name still holds a lot of cachet with mainstream gamers, lest we forget. I think Nintendo TVii could end up being a real surprise.



MAB said:

That child isn't playing a game. He is clearly trying to call his mummy to let her know that the parking inspector is starting to write up a ticket... Hurry back mother



Haywired said:

Yeah, but I think the point that Microsoft doesn't have the casual sector is no longer true. I think the days of the Xbox brand being seen as just for Gears/Halo hardcore shooters, etc. is long gone. The sort of things that were discussed in this interview for example are things that I would say casual gamers would associate with Xbox more than Nintendo.



TruenoGT said:

In my mind, any time Nintendo spends on things unrelated to gaming is a missed opportunity for a gamers. At the end of the day, I can't see Nintendo competing with the likes of Apple, Microsoft and Google simply because they'd have to get into music distribution, maps, cell phones and other things that the convergent market appears to want. Because of this, I wish they just focused on making the ultimate games machines even if the market is smaller, though I understand the broader strategy enables them to have a cash flow to support new and interesting games.

With all of that being said, IMHO, the Wii was light years ahead of the Gamecube in quantity and quality of games (though I don't think nearly as innovative and trailblazing as the NES-N64 eras), so I'm hopeful Nintendo will achieve a really good balance with the Wii U.



Chunky_Droid said:

The only way I'd connect the WiiU to a TV is if I can connect it via my television aerial ala PlayTV on the PS3.

I only get to download 8gig a month, so any streaming services are lost on me.



Bankai said:

Damo - how many content companies does Nintendo own? What resources does it have to scope out major partnerships?

This isn't a matter of just sticking a TV card into the console. If Nintendo wants to compete with Apple, Sony, Microsoft, the telecommunications companies themselves and a HOST of smaller niche players, then Nintendo is going to need to make massive investments.

That is precisely what Sony did - invest in being a content rather than device supplier, as content is the cruicial product in entertainment services. It has put the company in a dire financial situation.

At best Nintendo's non-gaming entertainment offerings is going to amount to a tenth-rung, substandard service. The only people that will ever bother with it are the people that don't use Apple, Google, Microsoft and other products. Ever.

That's almost no one, and certainly not enough to support any real push by Nintendo.



MAB said:

@ChunkyDroidster Sounds like you need the Telstra Home Ultimate bundle mate $130 a month gives you unlimited local/overseas calls, 200gig bigpond download, T-box with access to any TV/movie on demand whenever you like. make the switch today and you can thank me later



Chunky_Droid said:

@MadAussieBloke I can only afford 60 a month and I have no phone line, so mobile broadband is my only option. And where I live, Virgin, Optus and Vodafone only work properly at certain times of the day, it's truly frustrating!

At least the 8 gigs I get only slows down once I hit the limit.

Trust me, in 2 years when I get a teaching job, the first thing I'll be getting is that T-Box



NintyMan said:

The times are surely changing. Ideally, any gamer who's grown up the years before the trend toward internet and movies on game consoles would like to see consoles all about games alone, but that day's behind us. With TVii, Nintendo is going to be working with other forms of entertainment along with video games to reach a broader audience, as well as cater to the "causal" crowd. It'll be interesting to see how well it does.



rjejr said:

Baby steps. The Gamepad is their in. If the WiiU sells well then 5 years from now with the WiiXYZ they can offer a Gamepad that ISN'T connected to the WiiXYZ so people can take it with them and play casual games all day long. They just have to get their before Sony does it with the PS4 controller which will look suspiciously like the Vita, which Sony will claim Nintendo ripped off from them. .
On the handheld front, people complain you can't play games without buttons, but I claim I can't browse the web or read email well on the 3DS, so the tablet wins. Can somebody please buy Reggie a Samsung Galaxy Player 4.2 for $179 so he can see how well these things can be done on a system the same size and price. A 3DS XL for $199 should smoke a $159 Kindle Fire.



Chunky_Droid said:

I have painful troubles surfing the web on both the 3DS and tablets, seriously, filling out forms on a touch screen is awful.

I have a notebook, and a 3DS, I don't need a tablet (despite that Waltz might have seen me using one at the Expo if he saw me in the media room, lol)




I absolutely agree that Nintendo could consider themselves an entertainment company - heck the Famicom was marketed as the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) when released worldwide! How many people could honestly say they are not entertained by a Wii or a 3DS??

I would also strongly agree that Nintendo still has the majority of casual gamer's, especially in the UK. I see very little argument that MS has the majority, despite their efforts with Kinect.



Damo said:

@WhiteKnight Nintendo TVii uses existing services. Nintendo doesn't need to throw cash around to get all this content - it can just provide a central hub for TV networks and services like Netflix to populate. It's a mutually beneficial deal for both parties.



LittleIrves said:

The fact that Nintendo TVii is based on a pre-existing app, iTV, that works on other devices is somewhat worrying. I'm happy that it hasn't taken up resources from EAD or anything like that, so that's good.... although the magic of Nintendo software is its unique flavor, the charm that stems from their particular viewpoint (something like Swapnote, though flawed, is a good example). If a major facet of WiiU (at least in the West) is this TVii offering, that's not even a true Nintendo product, I worry it'll feel generic or tacked on or, worst of all, uninteresting. Hope I'm proven wrong.



Hokori said:

You know, Nintendo lost money last year, and we still don't know the full details, they might have actually made a huge investment on something big WiiU relate we don't know about, we just assume it was the 3DS not selling when it could have been something else, I mean if they arnt actually selling the "Big product" that's incorporated with the WiiU of course they'll lose money, as for the 3DS price cut, it could just so happen Nintendo wanted to cut the price so the wouldn't lose more money so they acted on it



DreamOn said:

Why can't the world just let Nintendo be Nintendo? You can feel the investor and media pressure in many statements Nintendo leaders make these days that they should be something more than the wonderful game and console maker they are. Times have changed I guess. I just hope nintendo's changing with it sees no compromise of the charm and quality I have always had as a consumer of theirs.



Morpheel said:

Sorry for using my TV, computer, iPad, PSP or doing real life activities for entertainment, Reggie .

Sent from my 3DS to not make Nintendo lose anything.



aaronsullivan said:

Well, it's interesting that he's saying this. To survive as a hardware company, Nintendo may very well need to become a big competitor in the wider entertainment landscape. As for blu-ray — and I love blu-rays-- those are for people who are serious enough about movies and TV to buy dedicated players. It was a boon for PS3, but now people are streaming or buying cheap dedicated players. It's a good time for Nintendo to get into this and the handheld screen linked to "everything" is a VERY good start. Our family actually has a Tivo, Netflix, and subscribes to Amazon Prime, so Nintendo TVii is a surprisingly attractive proposition for us. It's good Nintendo sees the potential there. If handled in the right way, Nintendo TVii could be the killer app for many casuals visiting friends houses.



aaronsullivan said:

Also, his examples of expanding past traditional games are valid. I think people forget how Brain Age was to DS what Tetris was to Game Boy. Wii Fit is the only other product for the Wii that got a huge audience excited in the way that Wii Sports did. These are games without the traditional core rewards played in a different way. Nintendo has tasted the broader market and has shown itself capable of tapping into mass market desires.

Nintendo TVii is just US though, right? Then, the Americas?



Morpheel said:

It's not like the US covers a big part of the Americas.

I can't wait to see Nintendo translate everything about the TVii to every single language spoken in the Americas just to add at the bottom of the page "Only availabe for the US/Canada".



meltendo said:

Nintendo needs to be in California a lot of parents have set up mobile phones for their kids--most of them iPhones. My niece has stopped playing with her DS and my friend's daughter has also given up her Wii and DS.



erv said:

Nintendo has a lot going for it in the console space. The handheld part is being threatened through many of our iphones because the same demographic, at least mostly, has been targeted and locked into other systems.

Being a specialized "fun" gaming company is their future, and somewhere they know it. They just realise they need to be a part of your living room experience to maintain that quality name. In the end, the gamer that likes the extra's is far better off than the potential consumer that might like games. And this is probably the best position nintendo could find themselves in.



scrubbyscum999 said:

Eh, I have mixed feelings on whether Nintendo can become a place for general entertainment just because the competition are literally these super giant monsters like Microsoft, Apple, and Google. I am on a computer that is running Windows 7. Maybe they can do it but it's an uphill battle and they have started pretty late in the game. They might want to just make the effort and try to market themselves as a mainly gamer console that is still accessible to everybody.



kurtasbestos said:

I hate the trend of absolute convergence in modern technology/society. I like using my gaming device to play games, my music device to listen to music, and my cell phone to forget to stay in communication with friends and family. Somehow I feel like being able to do all of those things on a single device cheapens any one of the given experiences. Or it just makes me lazy. It's too easy to just download crap (music, applications, games, whatever) and forget about it immediately without feeling like there's any big loss. I guess it's hard to explain why I'm so opposed to facebook phones (I mean, uh... "smart" phones), but at least where games are concerned, I like the way Nintendo thinks. Every time I buy a game for one of my Nintendo systems it becomes something to be treasured, not to be forgotten as soon as the next iteration is released or as soon as I find some other thing to purchase to replace it.



luminalace said:


I think Nintendo are not trying to do what Sony or Apple or anything like that! With the Wii they tried to make a system with news channels and the like and an intuitive user interface like the Wii Remote to try and get the whole family using the system, not just kids! With TVWii they look like they are trying the same thing. Even the design of the Gamepad is trying to be a device that may be used by even grandma's to broaden use of the system. I thin k it's a Trojan horse type strategy!

I honestly think Nintendo do these things to get more people playing games while MS in particular are making their Xbox to be a device that bring them in money from things other than gaming!



Zombie_Barioth said:

I hear ya @kurtasbestos. I think anyone who understands the enthusiast mindset would understand. Theres something about the "ritual" involved with say, dimming the lights popping some popcorn and plopping in front of the tv for a movie thats lost with just pulling one up on a tablet. having everything downloaded just makes you care less about it.

For many games there comes a point of "why play the first game when number 2 is better?" that Just rarely happens with Nintendo games. Most games in a series are different enough to make them worth going back to.

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