Nintendo Just Wants to Change the World
Next-gen consoles are still whirling around that damn rumor mill. However, the only company that’s really acted on it has been Nintendo. With the Wii U set to release before the end of this year, Nintendo is going to be the first to take that step forward.
In an interview with Gamasutra, Nintendo President Satoru Iwata said that being first isn’t the point here. “Being first in the next generation race is not important at all,” said Iwata. “One of the reasons we believe this is the time for Nintendo to launch the Wii U is it’s going to be important for the world.”
In defending such a lofty claim, Iwata pointed out that second screens like iPads or smartphones have become pretty commonplace in living rooms the world over today. The Wii U’s unique GamePad will be attractive to consumers, and according to Iwata, will offer an alternative to the expensive gadgets.
With the company reporting its first corporate loss in its history, Nintendo knows that it has to up the ante with the Wii U. Iwata doesn’t expect the losing trend to continue next year, notably after the release of their next console.
“Our intention is to return to profitability after just one year of losing money,” said Iwata. “I just cannot say that it’s a good thing for Nintendo at all to record an annual loss for two or more years in a row. …The [loss of the] past year is due to the 3DS hardware sales. We were selling hardware below the cost, so this year we are already recovering and improving the profitability of the 3DS.”
An official launch date, despite online leakage and general speculation, has yet to be announced by Nintendo. A price point hasn’t been released either, but Nintendo has already learned a hefty lesson with the 3DS launch. Thanks to poor sales, the company found it necessary to cut the price on the handheld due to poor sales in the U.S.
“The pricing of the Wii U is going to be one of the most important elements when it is going to be launched,” said Iwata. “The environment is different. Wii U is going to be launching in a different environment than when the Wii was launched. Also, the involvement surrounding [mobile and social] businesses is different than several years ago.”
There’s definitely been mounting doubt against the Wii U’s capabilities. With forum goers, industry analysts, and other developers saying that the Wii U simply can’t compete power-wise with Microsoft and Sony’s consoles, Iwata says that ultimately these aren’t Nintendo’s biggest concerns.
“Even when we were going to launch the Wii system, there were a lot of voices saying ‘Nintendo should stop making hardware’,” said Iwata. “The reasoning behind that was Nintendo would not have any chance against Microsoft and Sony. The fact of the matter was: I did not think Nintendo should compete against these companies with the same message and same entertainment options for people.
“We have not changed our strategy. In other words, we just do not care what kind of ‘more beef’ console Microsoft and Sony might produce in 2013. Our focus is on how we can make our new console different than [others].”