Following an E3 in which Nintendo won the day in terms of social media buzz, courtesy of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, focus is shifting to the future once again. Even that title, showcased on the Wii U, has the sub-context of being a key NX release in 2017, a point of view reinforced by Nintendo of America's executive vice-president of sales, Scott Moffitt.
Speaking to Financial Post, Moffitt was asked about lessons learnt from the Wii U and 3DS, and how they'd be applied to the NX. He outlined a few key factors, and pinpointed Breath of the Wild as a key selling point for the next-gen system.
First, it's really important to have the right content. Software drives hardware. We've proven that multiple times. The right game can really lift a system. With The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild being among the titles we're working on for NX, we're very excited it will be an immediate reason game fans will want to buy the hardware.
Second, it's important to have clear positioning for your proposition and be able to explain it to consumers in a simple and easy way. Those are among the things that we are working on for NX. Third, we need to showcase all the things that make Nintendo great. When we bring out a title it has to be of exceptional quality, it has to be fun, it has to be an immersive experience, and put a smile on families' faces. As long as we stay true to those things, we'll deliver what we want.
And certainly there are other factors, like third-party content. Our mission is to create the largest install base possible so that third-party developers will want to bring their content to our systems.
The issue of third-party support wasn't dodged by Moffitt. He cited a few 'strong relationships', but also acknowledged that Nintendo needs to deliver the right hardware and sales to make NX a strong option. He also emphasized, encouragingly, the need for the hardware to be easy to work with, which has arguably been an issue with 3DS and Wii U - to different degrees - in the retail space.
There's a tendency for people to focus on certain publishers or certain titles. But when you step back and take a look at it, we have great publisher relationships with companies like Ubisoft – which had some exciting announcements this week – Capcom, and Warner Bros. They have been strong and will continue to be strong partners in the future.
Having said that, what will attract even more partners to our platform — which, of course, is something we'd like to do — is having a piece of hardware that provides interesting ways for these companies to bring their game creations to life, one that's easy to program and work on, and that has a large enough install base of game fans that are looking for a variety of content.
So, for an avid gamer a game like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is one of those that you can't not play. It's a new high point for the franchise that offers gamers incredible freedom. Your gaming arsenal will not be complete without a Nintendo system and this game in your house.
Moffitt was also quizzed about the upcoming Wii U line-up, and he remarked that with manufacturing focus shifting to NX fans should grab a system while they can - this reinforces Nintendo's announcement in May that it's expecting to ship less than one million Wii U systems this financial year.
We've announced that The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will be coming out on both Wii U and the NX. Released at the same time for both. But it's not the only game we're working on and have in development for Wii U. This week we're showing Paper Mario: Color Splash, a fantastic new game in the Paper Mario series. We're also showing Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE, and we have content coming from Ubisoft and others.
And the library of games on Wii U for fans who haven't played them all has never been more affordable thanks to the Nintendo Select line of games priced at $19.99, which continues to grow. There's certainly plenty of content for existing Wii U owners, but there's plenty of reasons for people who've never owned the console to grab one now while they last. We will be transitioning production to NX, so our message to fans is to grab a Wii U while you can, because they won't be around forever.
What do you think of these comments from Scott Moffitt? Are you reassured by his remarks on NX, or perhaps disappointed to see such a stark reminder of the Wii U's demise? Let us know in the comments.
With thanks to Benson for the heads up.