Iwata: Nintendo Neglected Core Audience, Intends To Rectify This With Wii U And 3DS

Iwata: Nintendo Neglected Core Audience, Intends To Rectify This With Wii U And 3DS
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At a recent investor Q & A, Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata spoke quite frankly about the issues Nintendo is currently struggling with, freely admitting that Nintendo didn’t make enough effort to retain its core gaming audience. He also claimed this is something Nintendo is looking to rectify with the Wii U and the 3DS.

According to Iwata — gaming as an industry is in better shape as a result of Nintendo’s efforts to expand the gaming population, and Nintendo should continue trying to grow its market base, but not at the expense of those for whom gaming is a “hobby”.

“[T]he Wii was able to reach a large number of new consumers who had never played games before by bringing hands-on experiences with its “Wii Sports” and “Wii Fit,”” said Iwata. “However, we could not adequately create the situation that such new consumers played games frequently or for long, consistent periods. As a result, we could not sustain a good level of profit.

“Moreover, regrettably, what we prioritized in order to reach out to the new audience was a bit too far from what we prioritized for those who play games as their hobby. Consequently, we presume some people felt that the Wii was not a game system for them or they were not willing to play with the Wii even though some compelling games had been released.”

According to Iwata, Nintendo doesn’t want to make the same mistake twice.

“Once consumers have a notion that “this system is not for us,” we have learned that it is extremely difficult to change their perceptions later,” claimed Iwata. “Therefore, in promoting the Nintendo 3DS and the Wii U, we have announced that we would like “width” and “depth” to coexist. With the Nintendo DS and the Wii, the approach of “width” was well accepted by many people; however, what we did in terms of “depth” was not satisfactory for some consumers. This time, we would like consumers to be satisfied in both aspects.”

But, interestingly, Iwata believes Nintendo should focus on ‘depth’ first, and broadening the market second.

“[We]e started to work on the “depth” aspect first, and the current and existing software you can see for the Nintendo 3DS is based on that idea.”

Interesting — but if Nintendo wants to appeal to a ‘core’ audience with the Wii U, why attach the Wii name to the product? It’s possible that the strength of the Wii brand is too difficult to ignore, but I wonder if some gamers will avoid the console simply because of that attachment. Time will tell.


  • “Interesting — but if Nintendo wants to appeal to a ‘core’ audience with the Wii U, why attach the Wii name to the product?”

    this was exactly my mindset after reading the 3rd paragraph

  • Nintendo Neglected Core Audience, Intends To Rectify This With… Mario, Zelda, Metroid, Kirby and Golden Eye HD.

      • In the end I don’t think too far from the truth though. As a Nintendo fanboy, will you be more excited for something like Assassin’s Creed on the WiiU (aimed at the ‘core’ demographic) or a new Zelda/Mario game?

        • Theres nothing wrong with Nintendo making the games they have been making for years. Nintendo should stick to what its good at.At the same time however attract more ‘mature’ (more violent) content from third party developers. Thats what they need to do instead of trying to make their own ‘mature’ games. That way third party developers dont need to compete with Nintendo for the ‘mature’ games market, its theres for the taking.

          Considering how crap the third party support was for Wii, Nintendo need to do some serious changes for the Wii U to make it a more attractive proposition.

          As a Nintendo fan i still want the games with that Nintendo magic, but crave the more ‘mature’ games that are the mainstay on other consoles/pc.

  • I see we are at the “The new Nintendo console will be amazing and change the way we think about games” stage of the Nintendo console release cycle.

    I look forward to the upcoming stages:

    – The exciting launch
    – The inevitable disappointment once the novelty wears off
    – The game drought while we wait for a Mario/Zelda game
    – Playing the amazing Mario/Zelda game
    – The game drought while we wait for possibly another Mario/Zelda game
    – Nintendo announces a new console

    • Firstly the novelty HASNT worn off. Every one has motion control now and its practically in all consoles including upcoming the Wii U. If the novelty was ‘wearing off’ as you say then the next gen of consoles wont have that feature. Wii U has it and im sure the next xbox and playstation will also have it.

      Game drought was real and ever present reality of the Wii console. I hope its not the case for the Wii U

      Im sure if the Gamecube did well Nintendo would have never resorted to something like the Wii. But it didnt, and they had to do something drastic to survive, the Wii was it, It saved the company and brand from extinction and made a handsome profit too, and now they are in a position to try to retake the some of the market they helped create along time ago. Will it happen? Not completely. it will take time for gamers to come back to Nintendo, but the main thing is to make those small steps without alienating the casual market that brought them such success. At least there is recognition on Nintendos part regarding the Approach for the Wii and the intention to make change. Lets hope its not just talk.

  • Yeah the damage has been done, I don’t think it will be easy trying to appeal to the ‘core’ people again. Especially on a competitive level.

    Their controls are weird…

  • I hope this works tbh. I’m sick of all the Nintendo hate.
    I’m sick of the opinion that Nintendo games aren’t “real” games.
    It’s complete crap. I mean, Sin and punishment was bloody hard and lots of good games come out on the wii. I hate that they’re dismissed just because of the console they came out on.
    Also I think the only reason they kept the “wii” name is because some people are morons. At least they know what the wii is, so when buying for kids they won’t stuff it up.

    • I am sick of it too……….but like cliff from epic says

      “the minority of forum haters can say whatever they want, at the end of the day they own a nintendo system”

  • It pains be to say it, but I’m done with Nintendo. I love Mario, Metroid and Zelda, but I just haven’t gotten a good return on investment from their consoles since the SNES. I’ve bought 3 Nintendo consoles now to play maybe 20 games. I’m not particularly discerning. I buy about 40 games a year. The wii was the worst: I’ve played four games to completion. Of those four, I’d have said only Mario Galaxy was a great game. The rest were merely good. I bought on day 1!

      • Yeah – I’m open to picking one up second hand on the cheap as a Zelda adapter. However, it may never happen. I wouldn’t really rate any of the latest entries in those series -Skyward Sword was a huge disappointment for me. I’ll have to take it on a case-by-case basis.

    • IMO the NES, SNES and N64 were all great, since then it’s been better to just go with PC gaming as good console exclusives are few and far between and not worth buying the console for.

      • I like my N64, but then they just abandoned it. There were basically no games for the two year before the GC got released. The only one I recall was Conkers.

  • Everybodys calling the new control a gimmick but just remember, shoulder buttons, rumble, analogue controls, d pad, all we’re “gimmicks” first brought the the market by Nintendo now all industry standards

    • I’m just glad that the controller has all the buttons and sticks you’d expect to find on a regular controller, hopefully this means that all games will have regular controls as the standard, with waggle control as an optional extra rather than the other way around like on the Wii.

  • I’ll believe it when i see it 😛

    Nintendo are still pretty great.. but yeah… i have ~80 xbox 360 games and only ~20 wii games – and i had the wii well before the 360…

  • I don’t have any hate for Nintendo…I just don’t see the point of buying what looks to be a Stop Gap Console.

    I don’t have any interest in the Wii U…sure it would be nice to play a HD Mario game…but its the third party that I just have no interest in. I just recently built a Gaming PC, I have a PS3, I have an Xbox 360…I don’t see the point of buying a console that is only slightly more powerful then the PS3 and 360….especially when the rumor mill is already starting to turn regarding the PS4 and the next Xbox

    I still love Nintendo, I still love my 3DS…but right now, I have absolutely no interest in the Wii U…I just don’t think its worth my money or time…not unless they can come out at E3 and really sell me on it…but for now, I don’t see the point, it seems like a Stop Gap Console…I’d rather just wait for the next PlayStation or Xbox

    • how much you will like to pay for that, add the TV for a 4k pixels resolution, you got money man. when you find some developers that want to spend money for that just tell me.

    • I see the WiiU as something to savour my “buying th new console” experience which I havent experienced for 6 years! (Though, I did get that feelin abit when “upgrading” to the Xbox360 S)

  • Pretty positive stuff hearing that from the horses mouth. Time certainly will tell. I think you’re spot on about the Wii naming thing too, really would benefit them with a completely new identity for the console.

  • I will wait patiently to see what they come up with.
    When it first came out, I thought the Nintendo DS was the dumbest idea ever. I couldn’t have been more wrong!

    • You weren’t the only one:
      Phil Harrison on the DS “But I fear that it won’t have a lasting impact beyond that of a gimmick – so the long-lasting appeal of the platform is at peril as a direct result of that.”

  • To little, to late.After the Gamecube and Wii and to a lessr extent the N64 Nintendo had well and truely lost the “core” gamer crowd.They shouldnt even bother and just concentrate on the youth.
    And they need to drop that Wii-u name as the casual game crowd dont even know what it is, is it new controller like Wii fit?Or a Nintendo tablet computer?

  • They’d be fools to completely go 180 degrees and abandon their casual line-up. Those games did sell millions of consoles and made them a mountain of money. That said, there was a serious imbalance with all the shovelware and mini-game collections. No matter how big a base they had, there were huge gaps in their first and third party software lineup that were never addressed. I don’t care about the name. Wii U’s fine. I just hope Nintendo takes a few more chances software-wise. Yes, we’ll have Mario and Zelda and Mario Kart. That’s a given. You want to show me you’re serious Nintendo, how about taking another shot at horror?

    • The problem is, casual gamers are a finite resource. They don’t keep playing more and more games like the hardcore audience. They’ve had their fill with the Wii (and to a lesser extent Kinect and Move), and probably won’t feel like buying anything else for some time. Especially now that smartphones have control of the casual audience.

      IMO Nintendo should distance themselves from the Wii as much as possible, and consider their next console a complete reboot of their brand, and remember what made them great in the first place (brilliant platformers and action-adventure games with that crazy japanese nintendo magic). I would love to see a return of that greatness, plus new franchises in the same vein. I think they need to think about expanding their development studio so they can pump out more quality games than just one or two every few years (this means more game teams for more consecutive projects, rather than pumping out one-year games like Activision). Plus they need to be compatible with developers making games for the other consoles, so they can have a taste of the big AAA multiplatform releases.

      Oh, and something resembling a normal controller would be wonderful.

      Maybe they’ll get it right after the next console cycle :/

  • Hopefully the new Mario game is out at launch too. Aparently it’ll be a cross between the Mario 64/Sunshine and Galaxy styles. Still love platformers, and Nintendo is really the only company left who knows how to make them properly.

  • My only fear is how much power the thing will have. If it’s not capable of handling games like the PS4/Xbox3 then I fear the WiiU will just be playing catchup with ports of PS3/360 games with an extra screen used for inventory, just like the Wii got ports of PS2 games with waggle and ‘unique’ versions of the modern games.

    I shouldn’t expect much, I only buy Nintendo consoles for their exclusives and play everything else on other platforms.

    • i would worry. Dont expect ps4/720 to be powerhouses like their predecessors were. Both consoles put both sony and microsoft in debt, only profiting recently (barely enough to cover what was invested) not to mention the attempt to keep the consoles alive with new motion control devices which im sure wasnt cheap. And for all that financial pain neither console outsold Nintendo and looking form past trends theres no guarantee that trying something similar will make them the top selling console next generation.

      Secondly if (and i really hope its true) the Wii U can maintain full HD for all games what will the next playstation or xbox do above that. 4K resolution screens wont be around for a long time so im sure that wont be a selling point, so full hd 1080p would seem the likely standard for all next gen consoles. Im sure the graphics next playstation or xbox will look better then the Wii U but with all consoles at the 1080p the wow factor just wont be as noticable compared to the ps3 and 360’s HD graphics compared to Wiis SD graphics.

      The Wii U just needs to introduce new ways of interaction in games, Inventory screen is one way but not the only way it can be implemented. Im sure the best developers if they really put some thought in int should be able to utilize the controller screen for more impressive and intuitive ways that make gaming on the Wii U unique. If that happens the Wii U will be a success.

      • Nintendo Wii was a boom…for a few month’s till people started either trading them in or selling them to other people. That actually caused nintendo to discontinue the Wii since they saw it a waste of money to produce when it wasn’t being bought. The Wii U (in which works with the Wii) is practically their “saving” act to make up for the difference in profit and production. Nintendo isn’t in much of a care for the graphics but they willing said it’s about the way it looks and is it functional. Sony and Microsoft both but mind in both functional aspects and Graphics. Yes 1080 p HD is coming up to be the new resolution but your forgetting that the hardware Nintendo uses isn’t as powerful as Sony’s and Microsoft and not all consoles are required to have the 1080p HD resolution.

        Neither Console outsold Nintendo but it isn’t just about the sell price, Nintendo lost more money they Sony and Microsoft after the decline of the Wii. People were still buying PS3/Xbox360 normally, while Nintendo took the hit. It’s a big difference when you realize your losing money making when people stopped buying.

        Oh and if your like me (which by that I mean a majority of the world) a hardcore gamer the Wii U wouldn’t be up the alley only because the Nintendo actually made more family games (The 3DS is actually their one success to make it about hardcore gamers but thats about it) and people (even casual gamers) would like nice graphics and functionality to their experience.

        Honestly I predict that the Wii U will have the same result as the Wii, a big boom from the start with an utter fail and loss of money to where they discontinue the product. Reason being is Nintendo has been slacking big time lately and their afloat cuz the 3DS but even that is starting to waver and decline. and so it be known I did have the Wii, got rid of it cuz it was paper weight, I do have a 3DS, and a Vita and a PS3. I did have an xbox and a 360 but got rid of those to. I currently also have the N64 (which is still an awesome system by the way), the classic Nintendo system and a sega Genesis. So I aint going with one or the other but giving a fair input.

  • If Nintendo want the core back, they are going to have to take it back with something surprising. Zelda, Mario and Metroid are simply not going to cut it. Neither are ports from third parties. They need to create something brutal,different and engaging in much the same way that Halo, God and Gears of War and Uncharted did for their consoles and then MARKET IT HARD. Nintendo needs a brutal new IP. Maybe Retro or Silicon Knights may be able to provide it, but it needs to be exclusive.

  • Won’t be buying it till it’s on sale and there is a decent catalog of the normal franchise titles available.

    Wii U’s got another gimmick…How bout get a proper online presence Nintendo (fkn friend codes) and build a console that can actually display current generation graphics).

    You’ve already lost your core gamers, I bought Skyword Sword 4 months ago (as I collect the series), still haven’t played it, why? Cause I hate your ****ing console.

  • The ds and wii were great for the core gamer

    The best exclusives on any system

    Iwata is very smart, hes trying to play both frields………..

  • So, they abandoned the core to chase the dollars (typical, microsoft is currently doing much the same with kinect) and now your system isn’t selling anymore so you’re going to grovel and suck up to the loyal fans of your system who you previously abandoned? No thank you. Don’t need you anymore. I bought a 360 and ps3 and never bought the wii, having bought just about every nintendo system up to that point. If microsoft continues down the b.s. path they’re on, it will be sony and whoever else enters the console realm next, perhaps apple or google. Who knows. Nintendo, you’re on my [email protected]#% list. Microsoft is working on being added to that list.

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