News Article

Satoru Iwata Aims for "Critical Mass" of Wii U Owners to Shift Perceptions

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

Also talks up the performance of the 3DS and eShop

Satoru Iwata has fielded plenty of questions about the Wii U and 3DS in recent months, with the latter providing some welcome positivity against what Nintendo itself regards as a poor 2013 for the Wii U. Of course a rough patch doesn't doom a system, as the 3DS demonstrates, and we're approaching the beginnings of a major attempt at re-vitalisation for the home console.

The Nintendo President certainly did the interview rounds during E3, particularly, and UK paper The Guardian has just recently published the results from its own chat with Iwata-san at the event. Much of the conversation follows the standard lines, with talk about a strong lineup driving sales through the rest of 2013, third-parties to hopefully be wooed back by a shift in momentum and others that have unannounced projects.

In addressing the struggles of the Wii U to sell its message, meanwhile, Satoru Iwata did acknowledge that Nintendo Land didn't deliver a Wii Sports-style impact, and admitted that as well as convincing consumers about the merits of the system Nintendo is tasked with improving its and the console's reputation and image in the wider market.

In the case of the Wii, for example, just by bundling Wii Sports, it was easily conveyed to the consumers that the Wii was a very unique and different system. But in the case of the Wii U, we have not come to that stage yet. We hoped that Nintendo Land would have been able to execute that kind of responsibility, but for those people who have only seen how other people are playing with the Wii U and Nintendo Land, they could not know how uniquely different the Wii U is from the Wii. As a result, Wii U is a machine for which the evaluation differs greatly depending on whether you own it at home or not. So, what we really need to do now is to launch software titles for the Wii U that can take advantage of its unique aspects, one after the other. So much so that a great number of people are able to touch the Wii U and feel how unique it is. We need to expand the number of such people. And once the number of people has reached critical mass, I think the public view of Nintendo will be changed.

On the happy subject of the 3DS, meanwhile, Iwata-san highlighted how performance in Japan is indicative of what the company hopes to achieve worldwide, but also that the system is holding its own in an environment packed with smartphones and alternative options.

Some indie developers have told us that when they offer the same software on iOS and Android, and in the eShop on Nintendo 3DS, the 3DS eShop version sells most. There are various theories that people often talk about, because there has been such an expansion of mobile devices, that handheld videogame devices won't sell any more. But the fact is, last year in Japan, approximately 5.5m unit sales were made for the Nintendo 3DS, and as you might expect in Japan, 2012 was a phenomenal year for smart devices. But when we look at any hit, popular handheld game devices, the only hardware which managed to sell more than 5m units in one year was the 3DS – that took the DS three years.

At the conclusion of the interview Satoru Iwata stated that the 3DS looks on track to reach its 18 million unit target for the year, and that a strong remainder of 2013 / early 2014 will hopefully see him return to E3 in stronger circumstances next year. Whatever happens, the company is going all out to convince gamers that Nintendo systems are still the best devices to own at home and on the road.


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User Comments (79)



World said:

I have faith in his vision, and admittedly Nintendo Land did not sell me on the Wii U.
However, it did me a twice-renewed urge to see Murasame Castle on the Virtual Console (first two times being Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Samurai Warriors 3). Perhaps some kind of promotion involving that game in connection with Nintendo Land (or a new game?) could bear fruit? I mean, he's there. It seems odd to ignore it.
I'd believe that people still want games on their handheld consoles, rather than phones.



Kirk said:

Yes, 3DS is doing fine, now.

Time to get the Wii U sorted...



Dormouse said:

The 3DS is for me, now the greatest handheld they've ever made! It's amazing. I believe the Wii U has the potential to be their greatest console ever! All these heavy hitters release by early 2014 just imagine what theyll have in another year or two from now? Mind blowing. Possibilities endless.



sonicfan1373 said:

That Wii U Sports tech demo in the Wii U reveal trailer at E3 2011 really sold me on the console's unique abilities (that trailer is what got me to get a Wii U plus some of the games promised by Nintendo is what made me purchase a Wii U). They should just make the Wii U Sports game, bundle it with the basic system, and maybe include a Wii Remote + Nunchuck. For the Deluxe Edition they should include a pro controller, a headset, and maybe make a deal with a company like Ubisoft to include Watch_Dogs.



moomoo said:

I don't see what Iwata is getting at here. He says "what we really need to do now is to launch software titles for the Wii U that can take advantage of its unique aspects, one after the other," but let's take a look at the current Wii U line-up:
Pikmin 3 doesn't require the Wii U gamepad
Donkey Kong: TF doesn't require the Wii U gamepad
Mario 3D World doesn't require the Wii U gamepad
Mario Kart 8 doesn't require the Wii U gamepad
Smash Bros doesn't require the Wii U gamepad
Wind Waker HD is a remake of a game that didn't need the Wii U gamepad
Bayontta 2 doesn't seem to require the Wii U gamepad

On the flipside, The Wonderful 101 requires it.

So if Iwata is talking about control methods, Nintendo isn't doing a very good job at getting consumers to buy into the "new ways to play" thing, since Nintendo isn't really incorporating new ways to play. If it's other things, like HD graphics and Miiverse... seriously? Those don't exactly make the Wii U that unique.

Don't get me wrong, I'm looking forward to many of those games (Pikmin 3 can't come soon enough) but I don't see what Iwata's getting at.



element187 said:

"That Wii U Sports tech demo in the Wii U reveal trailer at E3 2011 really sold me on the console's unique abilities "

@sonicfan1373 I don't Nintendo made a tech demo for Wii U Sports... i think you are talking about a sketch comedy team that were mocking the Wii U by creating their own video. is this the video you are talking about? Its not real.



jhohaness said:

Nintendo is too focused on attracting the casual crowd when they should be aiming to the core gamers,I hope they fail miserably on their endeavor to get the casuals on so they can realize the core gamers is what really matter when it comes to dedicated gaming devices,the casual crowd ca get their gaming needs satisfied on smartphones and tablets...



thesilverbrick said:

@jhohaness I agree. The casual crowd's interest in Wii was really a flash in the pan. They sold like hotcakes and quickly collected dust in living rooms. The only people who played Wii long-term were core gamers, and they felt kind of alienated by the constant casual fare, peppered with only a few hardcore experiences.

I'm not saying ditch the casuals entirely, but clearly by design the Wii U is more tailored to core gamers and less toward grandma.



element187 said:

@jhohaness I'm not following on your statement that Nintendo is attempting to get casuals.

Pikmin 3, W101, WWHD, DKCRTF, SM3DW, MK8, Bayo2, X, FExSMT, Smash are being directed at their core fan base..... The only titles I see coming for casuals is Wii Fit U and Wii Party U.... 2 whole titles for casuals vs. 11 titles for their core base.. Does not compute man.



Windy said:

@moomoo Me Either! Why don't they just bring out some games that are fun to play isn't that what most people want. They are way too hung up on this "we have to be unique thing". I'm going to say it again for Wii-U....................


I Want to buy a Wii-U but the current and future line up hasn't sold me. Nor has the Unique gamepad. To be honest there is nothing like a good ole fashion Sega Genesis 6 button controller.



rjejr said:

In 2006 they bundled Wii Sports in a $249 package against $500 and $600 systems w/ no games. And $249 didn't seem like much back in 2006.

In 2012 they bundled NintendoLand in a $349 package against the $249 PS3 and Xbox360 but you couldn't try out the demo anywhere except 1 store in midtown Manhattan. And $349 is a lot of money for many people these days.

When the $399 and $499 systems release this holiday the $349 system may look better, but it still won't look as good a value as the Wii did. And Nintendoland still won't look nearly as fun.

Holiday 2014 w/ Mario Kart 8, Smash Bros. U and a big price cut, and they may be able to get people to figure out what a Gamepad can do. Maybe NintendoLand will be a $20 Select by then.

Having a $299 system without NintendoLand wasn't a good way to get people to figure out NintendoLand. It was a good way to get them to spend their money on SMBU or ZombieU. The $299 system should have come w/ NintendoLand, $349 should have had Nintendoland plus 32GB plus stands plus Pro Controller.



Akira_1975 said:

I am starting to get very worried in regards to Nintendo's marketing efforts. Wonderful 101 is just right around the corner and you barely hear anything about it. When a game looks that great why can't they start promoting on TV with short teasers at the very least. It will be a real tragedy if they don't promote W101 properly in my opinion.



FiveDigitLP said:

No, I know what @sonicfan1373 is referring to. In the initial video for the Wii U at E3 2011 (I think), they showed a clip of someone playing golf and baseball (and maybe some other sports I can't recall) using the Wii U gamepad. The golf idea in that video is just like what Nintendo used in their video. I'll see if I can find it.

EDIT: Here it is -



Nintenjoe64 said:

@moomoo Well said! I do think that most games that don't require the gamepad are vastly improved by the 'Off TV play' though.

I think Nintendo needs to try to make its own ZombiU (not survival horror, just proper dual screening) and then they need to make their existing games improved by having 2 screen multiplayer options. A Zelda story with twin Links that can go on a quest independently but simultaneously or team up to take on tougher parts. Starfox where Fox uses a pro controller and TV and any of the other 3 characters can be played on the gamepad OR the gamepad player offers aerial support from the Great Fox.....

@Akira_1975 I worry too. They did this to the GC and watched it suffer. They need to be constantly paying off the media to promote it for them. Their Wii marketing was very strong but it has been non-existent on Wii U. Look at how much Sony must have spent to get the 'Last of Us' hype train going and Rockstar have not let up on the GTAV hype train for 2 years. Perfect 10s on IGN do not come cheap I bet



DerpSandwich said:

Is it terrible that I don't really believe there's a piece of software that can catch peoples' attention like Wii Sports did? I just don't think the Wii U has the same kind of appeal, regardless of what people are playing on it. Anyone could pick up a Wii remote and swing it like a baseball bat. But the gamepad just isn't the same. It's more complicated and it's less intuitive. Nintendo Land has been five times more fun for me than Wii Sports ever has, but that's because it's a better game and I'm a gamer. And that's Nintendo's problem--they've made a system that's really a system for gamers, and not casuals. Pick up a gamepad and you're going to have to listen to a lot of instructions about what you're about to play. Good for me and my friends. Not so good for grandma.

After Wii Fit and maybe a crack at Wii Sports 2, I think Nintendo should give up trying to recapture what they had with the Wii and focus on making games for us. At the end of the day it's what they do best, and it's what's going to really sell their system. If they really wanted to try making a successor to the Wii they should have just made it the Wii 2 with nothing more than better graphics and better motion controllers. But that ship has sailed and they're stuck with what they've got.



DualWielding said:

This is the truth they expected Nintendo Land to become the next Wii Sports and have had trouble adjusting to the reality that it wasn't....



wober2 said:

@sonicfan1373 I know right... The 3ds has so many interesting game experiences! Just looking at the specs I would of thought this would never work, the assortment of software really made that thing awesome!



SyFyTy said:

I look at the problem logically, I
ve been reading about the WiiU for a year now, daily, and I still don't understand how it is different from the Wii. Now If I, an avid reader can't easily understand the differences they've got thier work cut out for them. Besides, ANY PRODUCT in retail has only seconds for the first impression to sell it, it is basic business 101...the WiiU has lost those seconds already. PS I hope the best for it though...



fzerroo said:

If Nintendo made a Wii U Sports game it would be just as intuitive as Wii since it too has motion controls. You van swing the gamepad just as well really.



Zombie_Barioth said:

My thoughts exactly. On top of that if you want to take full advantage of Nintendo Land you'll need to buy 3 sets of controllers if you don't have any, so theres another potential $180 right there.

They need to either drop the price or release a nice bundle that offers a lot of value for the price.



Doma said:

@jayclayx Damn straight! The lack of any of those (including Metroid) in sight, has convinced me not to buy one anytime soon. Maybe in 3/4 years... (the end of its cycle, basically).



aj_fowl said:

Is that Audrey Drake in the background talking to Reggie? That might explain her sudden employment with Nintendo...



Yanchamaru said:

Does he realize that most people who bought a Wii are now playing games on smartphones and tablets. The market has shifted substantially over to mobile gaming since the Wii was first introduced and now these consumers have no plans of buying a Wii U no matter how many games Nintendo makes.



WebHead said:

I have a new personal policy when it comes to Nintendo: I'll believe it when I see it.



GrimSh said:

I can't wait for Nintendo to wow the world with their wonderfully creative usage of the Wii U's asymmetrical second-screen gaming!



rmeyer said:

@aj_fowl good for her IGN has gotten so despicable, I can't imagine what she had to go through being there. The best part about reading her articles is they were positive and honest. Best of luck to her.



banacheck said:


Perfect 10s on IGN do not come cheap I bet

Yes, saying that i wonder how much Nintendo pay's, but at the moment Nintendo are paying off some dev's to say nice things about the WII U, probably the reason ZombiU go a low score.



Geonjaha said:

"Some indie developers have told us that when they offer the same software on iOS and Android, and in the eShop on Nintendo 3DS, the 3DS eShop version sells most."

I think that acts well as proof that mobile/tablet gaming isn't always the best way to sell your game, and that some games are better on dedicated handheld gaming consoles.



Mahe said:

I own a Wii U and I need it to be more like the Wii. Nintendoland is ill-conceived, I hope the Gamepad isn't and there's still something worthwhile to be done with it. This is why word of mouth isn't spreading: even many Wii U owners aren't satisfied with the system, the Gamepad nor Nintendoland.



unrandomsam said:

@Geonjaha Don't think it applies unless the prices are fairly reasonable. It did for Gunman Clive. Doubt it did for VVVVV as its eshop price is a total rip off. (Maybe if I had not already played it then I might have got it on the eshop - definitely not for more than its Steam RRP though £3.99).



thanos316 said:

ummm haven't we heard this story before.. like say a 100 other times these past months since e3.. just advertise the games. stop all the chattering.. get some games out there and then let the system speak for itself. would've could've should've really sucks to hear right now for a nintendo fan. i mean you had the wii, it wasn't a great leap in specs, but it had some good games.. so all that time you should have been pushing the wii u, i mean whos in charge of ur advertising department.. you can't just sit on ur laurels and wait. you got to innovate.



unrandomsam said:

@thanos316 You don't even need to innovate you just have to make sure every game you release is the best one in that series ever made. (And ideally keep the difficulty at NES or SNES levels become totally not worth it paying full price for not enough game). Donkey Kong Country Returns didn't really innovate it was just the best one.



thanos316 said:

@unrandomsam i don't want a 10 out of 10 game everytime. i just want to play some games thats out on other systems. i don't want half assed games being pushed my way. i loved xenoblades, wii sports, bond and other games for the wii.. just put out some games and i will buy. and what i mean about innovate is that the wii u should have been a system with many good games. but i don't know what nintendo was waiting for to release their games. i guess its all business.. cause if the wii u was selling like hot cakes they wouldn't need to be pushing out games each month now.



lebad said:

In nintendo land the lack of online playing is the problem WHY they didn't let us play with other people ?????????? They say that is more accurate to play with people near you but it's a shame they did not want to say that they didnot have enough time to include online functionlity! Please take your time to make great games AND add online. (sorry for my bad english )



scrubbyscum999 said:

@lebad Your English is good.

Hey Nintendo, ADVERTISE. Buy TV spots, more posters in Gamestop, fricking billboard in Times Square. People STILL don't even know the Wii U exists.



cdude said:

Yeah, it sounds good, iwata. But you, shiggy and reggie always sound good. Its actually following through and delivering on your bs talking points thats been the problem... Theres no shortage of nice stuff to listen to and read from either of you. However, almost a year later, there are three games on this system of yours that are worth a crap and not one of them is worth the console purchase price.

Stop talking. Get back to the treehouse. Make stuff happen.



mercurio2054 said:

like i say, the game pad control your tv and cable box;
Take ETERNAL DARKNESS, and make a new one, this time the game pad will change the TV channel or the volume, like the ED from Game Cube, only this time it will be REAL. it's just an idea, but its more cool than the old time in GC



DaveC said:

@moomoo " If it's other things, like HD graphics and Miiverse... seriously? Those don't exactly make the Wii U that unique."

Even there they came up short. Wii U is barely HD as all of the games only run in 720P. The 360 and PS3 did that for years, hardly "next gen". I think Nintendo kind of blew it with the hardware, they should have made it more powerful, as it is the graphics will pale in comparison to the PS4 and X1.



Metal_Slugger said:

They have no idea of the potential of Nintendo Land. That could be a freak-in gold mine. DLC for it and add popular Nintendo characters to add on games. Throw in some sporting, summer, winter games as well. The sky is the limit throw in online as well and that thing would be insanely good. How about a NL Starfox attraction? Mario Mini Put Golf? Just a few ideas.



CAM290 said:

Wii Sport nevered interested me, i played it for maybe an hour and a half when i first got my Wii at launch. Nintendo land is so much more fun for me because it blends traditional gaming with Wii Style motion with DS style touch screen gaming. To me Nintendo Land is very overlooked.



JaxonH said:

@DerpSandwich That's actually a really good point. Wii U IS a system for gamers- anyone who owns one can attest to that. I know there's a lot of talk of Nintendo not utilizing the screens uniquely, but not ALL games should utilize it in a new fashion, just like not all Wii games should have had motion controls. Work it in for the games that it's a natural fit, just use standard controls for the others. It was the forcing of motion controls in games that it didn't fit naturally that really pissed people off. So I'm kind of glad not all Wii U games are going to have some crazy 2 screen thing going on- just some here and there as needed, as it's intuitive. But I like your idea of Ninendo doing a Wii 2, just for the casuals. That's brilliant- it would allow them to continue chasing that market and it would purify our gamer's console. But yes, that ship HAS sailed, for now at least.

On a side note, I think it was the myriad of shovelware party games (if they even qualify being called "games") that TO THIS DAY continues to damage Nintendo's public image. When customers walk into Best Buy, or Walmart, or shop online for Wii U games on Amazon, it is IMPERATIVE they not drown in shovelware, dance, party and fitness games. It will only solidify people's perception that that is all Nintendo is good for. Nintendo needs to take whatever steps are necessary to ensure that people see a dominant library of robust, exciting, hardcore, in-depth, quality games. THAT is the only way people will dare to question their misconceptions, and form a more positive opinion of what Nintendo has to offer. In my opinion, that is THE number one thing Nintendo can do to help the Wii U sell.



DerpSandwich said:

@JaxonH You're completely right--if anything, I'm glad Nintendo hasn't been bashing us over the head with the two-screen concept. There were way too many games that used motion controls on the Wii that really just shouldn't have, even from third-party developers. (Nothing made me more angry than shaking the Wii remote to JUMP in de Blob. XP)



Morph said:

Shame they didnt just launch wii u 6 months later, would have given them time to get the system update ready from the off, the virtual console, a good catalogue of eshop titles. Could have had a really good launch lineup with a fairly steady stream of games till after christmas, and not had all these bad words from devs.

its just a shame they got this launch so wrong, and didnt learn from the 3ds, hopefully if anything this will finally teach nintendo about console launches. It does seem like they've made giant strides over the last few months, lets hope it continues



Ren said:

Translation of the above from Iwata: No one gets it because, well Nintendo land wasn't very good and we didn't have anything else ready for our own launch so, uh... If somehow a few people buy it anyway and everyone they've ever met is forced to watch them play it, then, uh maybe they'll want one too. Meanwhile we're happy to report we've figured out what HD stands for and have some exciting new games coming in Q4 2014.



sdcazares1980 said:

If Mr. Iwata can convince Namco to release the HD remake of Soul Calibur 2 (the GameCube version was the best seller for goodness' sake!) and Capcom to release Strider, then I'll listen.



Windy said:

Stop talkin and Giving us the Be patient treatment and Bring us some Games. Heck just loading up the virtual console with Classics would be a start. Then bring out the Regular games. The system is capable I have no doubts. Nintendo has been in a funk since the Wii came out. It's just that simple. But Being patient is getting old and was old when the Wii was rollin. They kick so much butt with the 3DS why cant they get the Wii-U off the ground?



ollietaro said:

"I hope they fail miserably on their endeavor to get the casuals on so they can realize the core gamers is what really matter..." @jhohaness

I think they will fail to attract the casuals b/c they are not gamers. They play cell phone games during their commute or in waiting rooms, but when they get home, they are not playing video games. I think all game companies have shown how remarkable console gaming is, so I'm sure some casuals convert to console gaming. But I feel like a crossover of the 2 markets is tricky, and I don't know what Nintendo is trying to do but perhaps take something from the other market that can add to the experience for the console gamers. Think about it: you can have cell-phone style games with console-quality graphics for a similar price. We'll start worrying when cell phone graphics catch up. I predict in a future console gen that there will be two Nintendo devices each called the "Nintendo Phone" and "Nintendo TV" b/c as technology evolves, the two devices will merge: Cell phone with console and television with console. I also think it will go a step further so that there will be gaming tvs with universal tech able to play all microsoft, sony, and Nintendo games.



VeeFlamesNL said:

@BestBuck123 Is that a good read? First and foremost, it's natural for a lot of us to play Ninty IPs on a Nintendo console, and shouldn't change just 'cuz of a banged launch. Heck, he didn't even say anything regarding 3DS or any other handheld that may make an impact on their business.



FullbringIchigo said:

i have faith that the WiiU will be ok but i can see Nintendo moving to their next console sooner than they would like to and the WiiU having a 4-5 year life max, which is a shame

but in good news for the big N the 3DS outsold both the PS3 and the 360 in the UK that's got to be good for them

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