With its recent Q1 results and sales revelations, much commentary has inevitably swirled around Nintendo's approach with its hardware and software, which is delivering happy times with the 3DS; there's the obvious goal to reproduce that success on Wii U, too. It's always a topic of interest at any time of the year, as Nintendo's games continue to offer gameplay styles that are relatively unique in the mainstream retail market. So many third-party titles are striving for greater storytelling, gritty visuals and a focus on mature themes, yet Nintendo's upcoming Wii U plans include party games, 2D and 3D platformers, bonkers action strategy games and an adventure game with colours so bright that corneas will be burnt.
In a recent interview with Toyo Keizai Online, translated by Kotaku, Satoru Iwata outlined Nintendo's development philosophy, and the overall message was simple — Nintendo seeks to deliver entertainment for a wide audience, rather than concern itself too much with artistic expression.
Nintendo developers are extremely insatiable when it comes to whether what they make resonates with customers or not. They'll do anything to achieve it. Both Miyamoto (Shigeru) and I repeatedly say, 'It's not like we are making pieces of art, the point is to make a product that resonates with and is accepted by customers.'
Creating is like an expression of egoism. People with a strong energy to create something have a 'this is the strength I believe is right' sort of confidence to start from. Their standpoint is that 'this is the right thing to do, so this must be what's good for the customer as well.' But the final goal of a product is to resonate with and be accepted by people. You can't just force your way through. By saying 'the point is to be accepted' I mean, if you go to a customer with your idea and you realize they don't understand it, it's more important that they do and you should shift your idea.
These seem like positive ideas, and they've arguably shone through in some strong recent releases on 3DS and, most recently, Wii U. Naturally, though, critics will point to the Wii U's recent sales figures to criticise the approach, but the Nintendo President is maintaining his confidence that the system will win through.
It's difficult to say 'the Wii U is a system that does such-and-such' in a simple manner, and understanding it takes time. While we unfortunately had a period in the first half of 2013 where releases were sparse and hardware sales have lulled, I don't think that the concept and potential of the Wii U have been rejected.
For some, Nintendo's approach to game development — particularly in how these games stand out in the modern market — is exactly the reason why they are fans of the company's systems. What do you think of Satoru Iwata's comments, and his emphasis on producing entertainment products as a priority over creating "art"?