Satoru Iwata: Nintendo Needs To "Change" In Order To "Keep Pace"

At a recent financial results briefing, President and CEO of Nintendo Satoru Iwata admitted that Nintendo has been relying too much on their own internal development teams, and claimed that culture may have to change if Nintendo is to keep pace with the rest of the industry.

"It is a great honor to succeed in a business by making the best use of our own unique strengths," claimed Iwata, "but on the other hand, it is a shame to fall behind the times clinging to it. I believe that it is the key to Nintendo, which develops both hardware and software in-house, to create new experiences which have been neither enjoyed nor requested by consumers, and let them say, "This is the very thing I have been wanting to play" once they have actually tried it. The more we depend on outside resources for this point, the more strength Nintendo will lose.

"On the other hand," he continued, "it is not true that Nintendo is able to internally develop everything and keep up with the current pace of change. In fact, some of the software titles published by Nintendo are developed by outside developing companies, called 'second-party developers' in this industry. There are already a lot of companies which receive various advice from Nintendo in the process of software development and whose products are sold under the brand of Nintendo, and for instance, I was working for one of such companies, HAL Laboratory, Inc., which developed "Kirby's Dream Land" and "Super Smash Bros." Considering the existence of such companies, Nintendo is not totally based on the policy 'Jimae-shugi.'"

'Jimae-shugi' roughly translates as 'lifting yourself up by your bootstraps' and, while Nintendo has had an incredible amount of success by relying on their own strengths in development, it seems like Nintendo is more willing now to accede to a more relaxed style of dealing with second party and third party developers.

It will be interesting to see how this affects, firstly, Nintendo's relationships with other developers and, secondly, their own research and development. We're extremely keen to see precisely what Nintendo has up their sleeve at this year's E3 and how this fits into its new, slightly adjusted, corporate attitude.

Financial Results Briefing for Fiscal Year Ended March 2011 [Nintendo]


    Maybe we could possibly see more decent 3rd party titles on the Wii that could attract as much attention as Nintendo's own franchises.

    Or they could just get right with their upcoming Wii 2.

    Hopefully the pay off from this will be seen as soon as E3.

    Wii is dead in the water. The DS, while selling well won't hold up forever and the 3DS tripped and fell at the starting line.

    This has been my issues with Nintendo all along (relying too much on existing franchises). I am hoping that this simply leads to more competition among Sony and M$ which is ultimately a good thing for gamers.

    Nintendo are great innovators of hardware so allowing external software have at it is a great thing.

    I personally think that Nintendo really needs a couple of new in-house IPs. They've been using the same first party franchises forever.

    Nintendo is selling consoles but not selling games Lol 3DS has done well considering it has such poor launch titles.
    As for Wii I've been waiting for the next Zelda, in between then there has been nothing great since Monster Hunter Tri (which I still play) >_<

    An actual online experience like Xbox Live and PSN (Actually, maybe just Xbox Live, recent events considered ;D) would be a very nice start.

      If they do... it will be subscription based.

      Microsoft have proven that not only can you charge for it, but that it can be hugely profitable. PSN has cost Sony a huge amount over the years and I don't see Nintendo getting into that.

    It doesn't sound like they're willing at all. He sounds very reluctant.

    Isn't Nintendo universally unliked by 3rd party developers?

    All the way back to Rare and Goldeneye they were infamous for how much control they wanted, how much 'cut' they took...

    I'd hope this new console allows proper multi-platform games... but I'm not sure that Nintendo isn't its own worst enemy sometimes.

    Just keep churning out inhouse titles, they're already playing on retro/pop culture value for the most part anyway, and it's worked for years so far.
    (I'm not saying they're not fun or well made, but they have kind of flogged most of their franchises to beyond death so far.)

    Nintendo releasing the 3DS with no estore or web browser hasn't sat too well with me. Along with the abysmal launch title lineup, it's had a slow start. I believe they'll change that, but 3DS's release felt premature. I check mine for system updates every single day, hoping they'll roll something cool out. No joy yet. Bring me Ocarina of Time, web browser and estore loaded with GB classics, and all will be forgiven.

    Unless the new pad has dual analogue sticks as standard, they can't hope to get all of the cross platform 3rd party titles.

    That, and if the next ps and xbox don't come out for a couple of years after the next nintendo launches, that would mean they would be significantly more powerful and again, those 3rd party multi-platform games would very likely be totaly absent (eg. wii).

    They say this before the launch of EVERY console... I'll believe it when I see it!

    This change of attitude is what i have been hoping for from Nintendo for the past decade. Now we just have to hope that the new controller is something people can actually use and we could be onto a winner.

    Oh well. Them being the only company that isn't stingy with online services, I'd rather have a friendcode than have to pay.

    Well, unless the successor to the Wii causes a paradigm shift in gaming, they're gonna have to either expand their franchise base or fail altogether. They've capitalised on two big hardware innovations - some might say gimmicks - in the form of motion control and 3D, but Sony and MS have adopted the former and the novelty of the latter may soon be wearing off. They're going to have to give those who place Sony's and MS' catalog above theirs a damn good reason to consider a purchase in the form of massive hardware upgrades and a huge change to the way they make and release games, or they're gonna have to do something new that'll make the casual market they cornered with the Wii froth at the mouth for something new - which is gonna be damn hard to do.

    What people need to remember is that this insular attitude from Nintendo is something they've always had, way back to the NES days when they were really restrictive to the number of games third-parties could make. The reason its lasted this long is because they've always sold enough of their own games to make tons of money, with third-party royalties just being icing on the cake.

    The people who love Nintendo games (I'm one) will always buy them. Nintendo knows that. But the people who want other games will never go to Nintendo, or even buy the version on a Nintendo system. That's the situation with the Call of Duty and Resident Evil games. I think Nintendo's realizing that too.

    If Nintendo really wants to welcome third-parties, and court hardcore gamers, it would take a risk and make its own (first or second party) hardcore game. I'm talking like an FPS or horror game or open-world sandbox game under the Nintendo label. That would show people Nintendo really believes in having that kind of game on their system. I'm not holding my breath though. From what I've read, Nintendo hated Metroid Prime at first. Yet, every game in the MP series has sold far, far better than the Japanese-developed Other M.

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