News Article

Satoru Iwata Outlines Wii U Holiday Target Audience and Aim for a "Unique Approach"

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

"Imitating others is the kind of reasoning that Nintendo tries to avoid"

Last week Nintendo revealed its Q2 financial results, which delivered a narrow profit but showed a largely downward trend in performance, particularly as the Wii U endured a poor Summer. Nintendo has now released the official translation of the financial results Q & A that followed, in which investors took the opportunity to quiz Nintendo President Satoru Iwata.

When asked about marketing activities for the Wii U in North America and Europe, a subject on which we've asked your opinion, Iwata-san explained that the content on offer this Holiday season represents an entirely different proposition to the PS4 and One, something the Nintendo President considers to be a potential positive.

We have an offering of software for the end of this calendar year that encourages family fun at home. Nintendo is preparing a number of Wii U games for next year that greatly appeal to highly skilled users, but at the end of this calendar year, we have quite a few offerings that can be played by the whole family, dad and the kids, or grandparents and the kids. Other companies will launch new consoles (in the overseas markets at the end of this year), but I think they focus on targeting highly skilled users. Therefore, in that sense, though the competition will heat up because new game consoles will come out and there will be a “war of the game consoles” played out in media articles, we wonder if the target user will actually be the same. The games available at the end of this calendar year, “Super Mario 3D World,” “Wii Party U,” “Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games,” “Wii Sports Club” and “Wii Fit U,” all lean more toward family use, and we are targeting those who bought Wii and would be interested in the Wii U offerings. That is slightly different than what other companies are aiming for. Thus, in the sense that we attract consumers interested in this category of video games, I think the launch of other video game systems is also good for us because they energize the video game industry as a whole. Though there are some who take the view that intensified competition means overseas competition will be tough for Nintendo, no matter how Nintendo does domestically, I do not necessarily see it that way. This year, what Nintendo is promoting is, conversely, to stand out in the game industry for individuality. I believe we have become a unique value.

On the subject of offering a unique product, Iwata-san returned to the theme when asked about the subject of Nintendo maintaining its financial projections, third-party support for the Wii U, the system's failures in attracting some content and the company's potential investment to bring more games to the system from external companies.

I believe that my ultimate responsibility is to maximize the long-term corporate value of Nintendo. That is how I view my role, but on the other hand, I am not saying that the current financial forecast has become unattainable. As I remarked just a while ago, the annual financial performance of a video game company rests heavily upon its success in the year-end sales season. There would of course be a significant difference between the most optimistic and the most pessimistic scenarios. This is the inevitable fate of any video game company, and even if one may hope it to be more foreseeable, we operate in an environment where it is impossible to know the outcome of a product we have produced until consumers have tried it for themselves. What is more, how players influence the value of our products and turn them into hit titles through interacting with each other, and thereby creating buzz in society, is simply beyond our reach. All we can do is offer the best entertainment that we can and do our best to motivate our consumers to talk about our products, but there is inevitably a fair degree of uncertainty in our performance. Therefore, I do not think that it is the right time to change our financial forecast.

In terms of how we view our relationship with third-party publishers, I think it is natural that there is a difference between publishers who have the software development resources like Nintendo’s to build a software lineup of their own and publishers who do not. Since former President Yamauchi passed away, I have been considering what he taught us in the end, and his words that the worst thing we can do in entertainment is to follow what others are doing spoke directly to my heart. Following and imitating others is the kind of reasoning that Nintendo tries to avoid the most, and while we certainly do not have a negative attitude toward strengthening our ties with third-party publishers, employing the same methodology as the other manufacturers would only lead to the most simplistic competitive approaches, such as price wars or money-giving that would never end. We would like to take a unique approach of our own and build sustainable relationships with our third-party publishers.

For better of worse, Nintendo is continuing its policy of going its own way, and by extension standing out against rival systems from Microsoft and Sony. What do you think of the tactic of targeting families this Holiday season, as well as Iwata-san's comments on maintaining a unique approach and avoiding the imitation of others? Sound off and let us know in the comments below.


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User Comments (68)



GalacticMario28 said:

I agree with Iwata completely. I don't think it makes sense for Nintendo to do exactly what other companies are doing. They should do what they feel is right, which happens to be what has worked for so many years. If someone wants realistic graphics and tons of blood/gore/death, they can buy a PS4 or an Xbox One. If someone wants fun that the whole family can enjoy, they can buy a Wii U.



rjejr said:

He says all the right stuff, but you still need to ADVERTISE. Hard-core are waiting for PS4 and X1 casuals are playing on their phones, all that's left is the family. And at $299 w/ 2 games - Mario and Luigi - and SM3DW, family is what they should be aiming for. The hardcore will come back next year for MK8 and SSB and X and Bayonetta 2. The holidays are all about gift giving and the $299 Wii U is the perfect family Christmas gift. All Nintendo has to do is tell the parents it exists. It's that simple



Aaronzord said:

I'm trying to decide if this comes across as confident, endearing or hilariously arrogant.

Having big third party titles skipping Wii U doesn't make the platform look makes it look inferior. Iwata can try to put a spin on third party devs jumping off the Wii U ship, but there really isn't a positive side.

Yay for being unique, but I know I'll have to buy a PS4 or Xbox One if I want to keep on playing stuff like the NBA games. Nintendo have failed - yet again - to keep the third party devs onboard.



rmeyer said:

@rjejr Nintendo is smart in not going against the advertising storm. They'll wait until it's over promote some software to forbes and mostly people that don't watch a lot of TV.



Diz93 said:

Nintendo, you're already doing something completely different. The Wii U is obviously different, but you gave us that Pro Controller for a reason. I understand we want to sell to families, there is nothing wrong with that, but what about your loyal fans that keep buying your products over and over in hope of you releasing something that captivates their interests. I am the only one that plays video games in my family, I am also in college, I don't want to brag to my friends that I have a game made to play with Mom and Dad. Where are the creative minds that made Metroid, Starfox, Ocarina of Time, Twilight Princess, F-Zero, and so many of your "Highly Skilled" player franchises. Where are the engaging stories that make me want to play non-stop until I finish the game...



MrGawain said:

I think his commitment to excellence and uniqueness is fantastic.

Unfortunately the majority (consumers, journalists, and publishes) don't.



gatorboi352 said:

@GalacticMario28 "If someone wants realistic graphics and tons of blood/gore/death, they can buy a PS4 or an Xbox One. If someone wants fun that the whole family can enjoy, they can buy a Wii U."

Well guess what, in today's day and age of gaming, there are a lot more "sombodies" in the X1/PS4 camp (as you describe them here) than there are in the Wii U camp.



BossBattles said:

Don't care. The Wii U has my most anticipated games coming out for the foreseeable future (besides dark souls 2)



zeldagaymer93 said:

Here's the problem. Nintendo wants to grab the casual audience however they aren't throwing ads their way. The only ads for Wii U I see are on gaming websites, which I'm sure most casual family players don't view. Families watch TV together. Get some advertisements on popular TV channels. Advertising on gaming websites is doing nothing because if you're on a gaming website you know the Wii U exists.



Sentinator said:

I can't wait to see one of the two have a car crash just because every Wii U basher on the internet will eat their words. When you are after the same person your gonna have a bad time.



Rezalack said:

@BossBattles My thoughts exactly. That's the only game I am really looking forward too that's not on the Wii U and I'm feeling the need to pick up a system that can actually play it.. well, that and the new Castlevania.



Blast said:

Wow... Iwata is a good and smart guy. The PS4 and Xbox One are vastly the same and thats a good and bad thing. The Wii U can be family friendly fun and for highly skilled users at the same time. I just want more 3rd party support. Thats it.



glitch256 said:

This is not arrogance. Its respect and belief in nintendos past president. To boldly step outside of the box for better or for worse is a proud action and shows nintendo is not following the masses and aattempting its own path. Many people should follow suit in their lives instead of being a follower just to feel part of the clan. Kudos Nintendo. I dropped my ps4 preorder and got a Zelda Wii U bundle and I love it to death.



Marshi said:

Fantastic,but one small thing. None of the wiiu's uniqueness and diference from the competition mean a thing if you dont ADVERTISE WHATS SO UNIQUE AND DIFERENT ABOUT YOUR SYSTEM!



Sir_JBizzle said:

I think this is a good strategy. Concentrate on family games for the holiday get them to buy in, (since the Holidays are all about family getting together and having fun) then next year, concentrate on the games for the "core" gamers when the XB1/PS4 launch hoopla simmers down.

Though they need to ADVERTISE. If they don't do that it's pointless to talk about all this..



N64ever said:

Here's the answer to the problem. There is no answer, society is unpredictable we change our minds about what type of games we want to play all the time. Nintendo is doing its best to entertain us and keep us happy if they want to chose the family market so be it. I actually enjoy their family games. My only side note is to add some advertising to appeal to the family market. If I want a non family game I go to my steam account on PC.



marko said:

oh Nintendo you are such an underachiever...
imagine if you built me a console with true next gen graphics and your unique gameplay styles. I would only need to pay for one system..
sadly I will purchase a ps4 to sit next to my wii u... you build me a powerful system 3rd party support will come and i won't have to spend another 400 bucks on a ps4... I can spend that money on more 1st party games..
It bothers me that I will have to wait until 2014 and 2015 to play your best hardcore games by than the technology will be 8 or 9 years old...
you can do sooooo much better



Cyberbotv2 said:

I respect Iwata's view on this. Thats the first time I read through what he had to say because I was reacting to the media blurbs this weekend. His reference to Yamauchi was also telling. This company is solely dedicated to innovation and invention.



Cyberbotv2 said:

@JQuest : I was thinking about the advertising. I think Nintendo is waiting for the launch of the other two systems and will finally attack. I got that from Iwata's statements here. This is a different time where impulse rules. Advertising late may actually prove very beneficial.



Cyberbotv2 said:

@Aaronzord: you don't need a ps4 or Xbox one to play your nba games. Keep your ps3 and Xbox 360 and you'll have your nba fix for the next few years.



JimLad said:

This seems like a very admirable way of saying "we're selling out this christmas, up yours longtime fans"



Blast said:

@Falco Bayonetta 2, Super Smash Bros U, Monolith's X, Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem, any other suprise that Nintendo has planned...



electrolite77 said:

"that the worst thing we can do in entertainment is to follow what others are doing". Yes, tacking the ubiquitous 3D onto an existing console is hugely original. While splicing the popular tablet computer into a console that looks like a home version of your own handheld is mind-blowingly fresh.



TechnoEA said:

I find it hilarious that fanboys still believe the whole "you want blood gore and graphics, shooters go buy a PlayStation or Microsoft"

For Microsoft yeah that makes sense, since they cater to that demographic more/mostly.

However PlayStation has always been a variety company, from family friendly to hardcore and meduimcore to casual. They don't have a main demographic, they have games that suit every taste. I'm not sure why people don't understand that. They AREN'T a HARDCORE company, they are a VARIETY and have always been.

Anyway I really hope the Wii U takes off, I'm itching to buy one after I get my PS4, Zelda Wii U and Wind Waker HD are on my to do list, along with Mario and Wonderful 101, might pick up Zombi U.



BakaKnight said:

Liked the speech and glad Iwata is the president of our beloved Nintendo

Said that... Whatever target they aim they better shoot for real >O<
I can agree with all those words, surely those games has a chance to sell a lot to casual gamers, but no family will even consider a WiiU this Christmas if they don't even know about all this >.>;;;



Savino said:

I want to know what approach he will use with the thirdies.... So far I only see they fleeing wiiu like the plague!!

Watch Dogs is probably the last thirdie-partie (big)game that we will see in a while!



PekoponTAS said:

If you ask me, the answer to Nintendo's financial problems all rests upon the eShop. I've totally been converted to an eShop player, and I haven't looked back since. The eShop is really awesome, but most websites don't even cover it. Nintendo should make an effort to pump up support and advertising for the eShop, and add more Club Nintendo eShop games to redeem each month.



IxnayontheCK said:

Ok, I do GET what he says. But, you have to be hip to the times and create a product that is slightly future proof. Not to mention a complete lack of advertising. I commend Nintendo's refusal to confirm and turn the industry into 3 identical consoles, in fact I love them for that. But they seem to out of touch with the public...



Apple5 said:

Maybe they should stop trying to still flog off the wii and start pro-actively advertising the wii u. In Australia, the latest Christmas toy catalogue has an ad for the wii with mario kart for 50% off.
No sign of wii u anywhere. They are definitely missing a trick. How hard is basic advertising???
Earlier in the year they had a competition on camp orange on Nikelodeon and one of the prizes was a wii...not a wii u...come on your eyes.
I love Nintendo but it saddens me with the way it is promoted and run, though honestly it's been the same since at least the N64 days.



briwipdx said:

he says all the things i would appreciate in a boss/leader. keep ur own path nintendo, im sure-as-sh*t following it. theres never not room for U.



DarkKirby said:

Silly Nintendo. The gargantuan casual audience that you had on the Wii U has gone to smartphones and tablets and they aren't coming back.

If Nintendo wants the Wii U to be successful they're going to have to realize this some day. They're clinging to the past.



JuleyJules said:

@GalacticMario28 I completely agree with you! I love my Wii U so I can play with friends and younger family members. At the same time there are some games for older gamers that I enjoy like AC3/4, Bayonetta 2, Zombie U, COD:Ghosts, Splinter Cell:Blacklist etc.



GalacticMario28 said:

@gatorboi352 I agree, but that wasn't really the point I was trying to make. I was just trying to say that I agree with Nintendo's approach, making the games they want to make rather than mostly making the games that will appeal to the majority, even if they could potentially make more money by doing the latter.



TheLilK98 said:

Can someone please answer me this: why be different solely for the sake of being different? Even if it means undermining your own success?



Kolzig said:

Nintendo just needs to do a lot of aggressive and visible advertising all around the world for Christmas and sort out the price problems with the console in Europe.

I'm so jealous about people in USA, you get the console for 220 euros, but europeans have to pay 379€ for example in Finland so no wonder it's not selling. Only some places have it for 299€ and it's still 80 euros more expensive than USA.

I know many people who are avoiding Wii U because it has the account problems that there is no unified account system. I myself also would buy a lot more eShop stuff on my 3DS if it would have a unified account system not tied up to the one particular console unit. They need to combine Wii U & 3DS and release the mobile eShop&Miiverse app for mobile phones so people can buy remote stuff on their Wii U and 3DS.

Connecting the consoles to Club Nintendo isn't an option to solve that since that Club is only in few selected countries.



glitch256 said:

@Conocotarious the guy that runs video game outsiders podcast did the same thing too. It must be the back and forth between sony and microsoft. I got stressed and got a wii u. The e3 nintendo direct looked promising and seeing the amount of quality 1st party games being pounded onto the hoping they'll do the same to increase sales of wii u in 2014-15



Artwark said:

Well Iwata, so far Nintendo is doing great with the 3DS so all you need to do is announce the Nintendo Direct date and TELL US THE NEXT SONIC GAME!!!!!!



Shade_Koopa said:

@Aaronzord Nintendo has been doing great without third party support. Why should they start now? They do not need it. They are the only company that has very good First Party titles. I do not see that with Sony and Microsoft (Microsoft especially).



DualWielding said:

the problem is the Wii U misses the price mark for the casual market of the Wii even after the price cut and the gamepdad just doesn't appeal to casuals the same way motion control did (I hated wii motes but I can't deny they were a great commercial success)

@Shade_Koopa the quality of first party titles is something subjective. Are you familiar with Sony and Microsoft's first party titles? I wasn't until rec'ently when I landed a PS Vita for cheap on ebay and then decided to buy a PS3 and have been exposed for the first time to Sony's first party lineup and I have found lots to like, just like with Nintendo not all their games appeal to me but several do and although I give Nintendo the historical benefit if we go only by the 7th gen not counting handhelds (PS3 vs Wii) I think Sony's first party support for the PS3 greatly outshadows what Nintendo did with the Wii quality wise (commercially there's no denying the mass appeal of Wii whatever titles but I just never found any of those titles appealing)



tripunktoj said:

Ive always said I prefer failing because I did things my way than having success by following the crowd with no reason. And Im glad to see Nintendo do the same.



Shade_Koopa said:

@ferthepoet Sony has nothing to offer me. I have a PSP and it had a lackluster library, which is what the PS3 has now. I feel I wouldn't get my money's worth. I am only getting a PS3 for Tales of Symphonia HD remake. Now, I did love the PS2 but PS3 just doesn't have the same appeal. Microsoft 360 was fine, but had way to many shooters. Least with Nintendo console, I have lots of variety and plenty of games to play with anyone, not just the hard core gamer.

That being said, Nintendo will be just fine without third party support. They didn't need it back then, they don't need it now. ^^



eza said:

@ferthepoet @Shade_Koopa A friend recently pointed me towards this list of platform exclusives ( ) when I asserted to him that I thought Nintendo had a monopoly on good platform-exclusive games. I was amazed to see how many there are that I didn't know about.
I still believe that there are higher-quality exclusives on the Wii than the other two, but I'm biased

@electrolite77 you're saying they weren't original? I don't know of any other handheld console with 3D, or any home console with a tablet-style controller...
(Ah ok I just remembered the Virtual Boy, but Microsoft's hastily-released Smartglass doesn't count)

@TechnoEA You're quite right about the incorrect perception people have.
Also, both Sony and MS have gone after the younger market with Move and Kinect games.
BTW, I found Zombii U pretty heavy on the blood and gore (and the stress. and the terror!). It's a shame that game wasn't more successful as I think it had a lot to offer the gamers who were after a more 'hardcore' experience.

@NoOneInParticular: Nintendo's market share is being assaulted on all sides like no time before in its history.
The only way it can survive is by brute strength or by originality.
Sony and MS are going for the brute strength approach again, however when the XB360 and PS3 came out they had, for a brief time, the best graphics available on the market. You couldn't get an equivalent graphical experience on the PC at consumer-level prices.
Today they don't have that graphical advantage any more.
Nintendo's going for originality again, and while they're not going to repeat the success of the Wii any time soon, they're still making a profit.

Final thoughts: Nintendo don't need to conquer the market to be successful. If you look at niche PC games such as simulators and point-and-click adventures. These games still have an audience, they may be few in number but they still make a decent profit and stay in business.
Example 1: RailSim's Train Simulator and its famously expensive DLC.
Example 2: Eagle Dynamics' Digital Combat Simulator, with its free base product - DCS World - and not-so-expensive DLC.

So Nintendo can just keep on doing what they're dong and they'll be fine



Yasume said:

I've yet to hear a single reason to pick up a Wii U, Iwata. I've got a Wii, a decent system, but don't feel the need to pick up a Wii U. Why? Lack of software, overpriced software, lack of VC support, lack of 3rd party support, lack of an online achievement system, lack of a unified account system etc. etc.

Stop the stubbornness and stop the need to be different, because that clearly isn't working out.



electrolite77 said:

@eza Yes I'm saying they're not hugely original.

DS-two screens, one of them touch. Big new idea.
3DS-the same but with 3D tacked on, like the 3D that TV manufacturers, Sky etc. we're pushing hard and the PS3/360 already does. Bandwagon jumping.

Wii-motion controls, clear idea, totally new thing, brought gaming to the masses.
Wii U-well it's a bit like a tablet, the ones that you see everywhere, it's a console with two screens, like the ones we already make, and it allows Remote Play, like the PS3 and PSP/Vita (and yes I know it's much better but it's still not new).

Being original is great if you have a brilliant eye-catching idea. Being original for the sake of it doesn't seem very clever. Knowing when to be original and when to assimilate other peoples ideas is good business.



BlasterMaster said:

Nintendo is so desperate right now its almost sad. The release of the crappy Wii mini and new 2DS is a clear sign. Nintendo which prides itself as a innovative gaming company is now regurgitating old tech, which it has done with some success in the past. I am frankly tired of how Nintendo does business. If the Wii U did well they would've come out with an HD Wii U controller by now. Nintendo spoonfeeds us "innovation" and now its catching up with them. What's this whole focus on the family gaming crap too. Its been known for years that Nintendo needs a bigger hardcore gamer market. I wish I could walk into the Nintendo boardroom and slap some sense into somebody.



electrolite77 said:


1) Every console manufacturer needs 3rd party support. The NES, SNES, Gameboy, DS and Wii got tons of third-party games. Look at the list of best-selling consoles-PS1, PS2, 360 all up there. Enthusiastic third-party support.

2) Sony do pretty well with games they publish, including plenty of games that wouldn't look out of place on a Nintendo machine e.g. Journey, Ratchet+Clank, Sly Raccoon, Little Big Planet, Jak and Daxter, Puppeteer, the Pixeljunk games, ICO, Gravity Rush . It's not all run-and-gun.



eza said:

@electrolite77 good points, well-made; I accept all that
The Wii U does feel a bit like an oversized, detatched DS at times.

Actually, that reminds me of something that's annoyed me for a while now: in the days of the Gamecube and GBA, it seemed to me that Nintendo really tried to push the link-up capabilities of the systems, even though you needed to buy link cables to do it.
With the Wii and DS there were a handful of games that used both systems. The best one for me was the Band Bros DX Wii channel - a perfect, lag-free, wireless mixer for 3DSes connected to it.
Now we're on to the Wii U and 3DS, and the only form of link-up so far has been to transfer a Mii.

Wii Fit U could accept steps data from my 3DS, which I take everywhere while walking. But no, Nintendo want me to buy a Wii Fit Meter, don't they?

Nintendo are missing a lot of opportunities with system link features, especially when it's easier than ever before thanks to wireless networking.



electrolite77 said:


That's a good point, I hadn't thought of that with the 3DS and Wii Fit. The networking is another thing they're missing out on. I know they say they're working on Miiverse and a unified Account system but they need to happen quickly.

It seems to me they could do something with the VC cross-system too. Maybe a subscription model giving access to a much bigger back catalogue and the ability to transfer games and saves between the two. Maybe MK8 and Smash Bros will have levels where players with either machine can play together either gathered round the Wii U or online.....



DualWielding said:

It bothers me that some fanboys fail to acknowledge innovation in anything not made by Nintendo... I'm pretty sure if sony had come with no glasses 3D and Nintendo had come with rear touchpad, they would be criticizing sony for using a visual gimmick that doesn't enhances gameplay and praising Nintendo for an innovative gimmick



BestBuck15 said:

What Nintendo are trying to do; is compete in the video games industry on a budget and they are disguising this with this BS, That's what is coming out of Iwata's mouth.
Games for the family are made on a shoestring and Nintendo like this. We have games for next year for highly skilled users! What kind of cr*p talk is that? And as for we won't follow Sony and M$ lead? Because Nintendo don't want that kind of investment; they know they wouldn't be able to get a return on it.
Shrewd businessmen, but like all businessmen they talk cr*p.



Shade_Koopa said:

1) You just said Sony and Microsoft have great third party support. I do not deny that. But Nintendo doesn't need third party support. Their ace in the hole has always been a first party IP(s).

2) Sony can make some good games. I loved my PS2 and do not regret getting it. I regret getting a PSP do to the lackluster library. Same if I would get a PS3. PS3 has only 4-5 game that would peek my interest. Vita, nice powerful handheld, but lackluster library. I have no interest in Xbox1 or PS4. I care about games, and lots of them, not the power of the hardware.



rmeyer said:

@BossBattles seriously Nintendo needs to do everything they can to get a Wii u release of Dark Souls 2 and other major 3rd party games like this. They really dropped the ball with Gta and Bioshock infinite.



ScorpionMG said:

I Have to agree with iwata on this one, it's a smart move, get the families together then the so called 'hardcore' gamers





If the Wii U sales start to pick up to a good amount, third party support will return. These devs will find a way to get their games on to Wii U if the install base is big enough, trust me.



Wolf_Link said:

I completely agree with Iwata. Nintendo really needs this "family strategy" this Holiday. Like I said in a previous article, wii u's saving grace for years end are wii sport, wii fit, multi-player Mario and bundles. Don't mind hardcore gamers this Xmas, that ship has sailed, at least for this year. In 5-6 months if they managed to establish the system and rival consoles have similar issues like wii u... Then they should bombard us with tons of ads featuring x, bayoneta, mk8, ssb and the likes.

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