From the Experts
SIP Trunking News
[July 06, 2011]
Mercury News interview: Satoru Iwata, Nintendo president [San Jose Mercury News, Calif.]
(San Jose Mercury News (CA) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) July 06--Nintendo had a surprise hit when it released the Wii console in 2006. Now the venerable game maker is hoping for an encore with the Wii's successor, the Wii U.
The new machine, which Nintendo President Satoru Iwata unveiled at E3 last month, will include an innovative new touchscreen controller that looks something like a tablet and will also support high-definition games.
Iwata said he hopes the Wii U, which is expected to hit store shelves next year, will appeal to both the audience of so-called casual gamers that bought the Wii, but also to game enthusiasts. One step in that direction was announced at the conference: Video game giant Electronic Arts (ERTS), which makes many games popular with core gamers, announced a partnership with Nintendo to support the Wii U.
After the announcement, Iwata spoke to this newspaper about his vision for the Wii U, the console's hidden capabilities and the Wii's flagging sales. The conversation was edited for length and clarity.
Q: How will the Wii U better appeal to game enthusiasts than the Wii? A: When we considered what to do with the graphics capability of the Wii, we put more attention and focus on the ability to create new experiences rather than the quality of the graphics. For popular genres in the Western world such as the shooter games, the picture quality is actually very important. And as a result, we have not been able to provide hardcore video game players with the option they really want with the Wii. That sort of picture-processing issue is going to be solved this time around.
These hardcore gamers are the ones that are looking forward to something brand new, some brand new entertainment. With Wii U , we will be able to provide them with that.
This new controller is going to be very intuitive, but at the same time it can be very sophisticated. And together, I think we will be able to offer a new form of entertainment that can satisfy the needs of the core gamers.
Q: Is the Wii U going to support 3-D? A: If you are going to connect Wii U with a home TV capable of displaying 3-D images, technologically, yes, it is going to be possible, but that's not the area we are focusing on.
When it comes to 3-D, we already have the 3DS, and each owner of the Nintendo 3DS is capable of viewing 3-D images. However, when it comes to the home console, it depends upon the availability of 3-D TV sets at home, which, unfortunately, is not expanding enough. And rather than pouring a lot of energy into that kind of area, with the Wii U we'd like to focus more on each Wii U owner being able to have an equal opportunity to enjoy it.
Q: What is the significance of your partnership with Electronic Arts for the Wii U? A: I understand that the reason why (EA CEO John) Riccitiello was kind enough to come up on the stage is probably because EA thought that with Wii U they'll have a better opportunity for software creation.
When we approached EA and provided them with the concept and the possibility of Wii U, I believe they thought, OK, with this machine, they'll be able to do something that they really want to do.
Q: Are you worried in the short term about sales of the original Wii? They've been weak lately, and now you've announced a new console, which could depress them further.
A: Well, of course, no single entertainment device can enjoy eternal popularity. And when it comes to Wii, we have to understand that any potential sales are going to be affected by the seasonalities much more than before.
If we cannot sell as well as we expect to during the holiday sales season, it's going to be a grave concern for us. But right now, I think it's premature to say, in terms of the current sales, what the one-year sales (result) will be like.
It's nothing new. Last year and two years before, many people were very much concerned about the future of the Wii around this time of the year. However, the fact of the matter is that it ended up being the top-selling home console hardware of the year two years in a row, each year exceeding the previous record. That's simply because the Wii was able to enjoy great sales during the holiday season.
Contact Troy Wolverton at 408-840-4285.
Satoru Iwata Age: 51 Birthplace: Hokkaido prefecture, Japan Position: President, Nintendo Previous jobs: Head of corporate planning, Nintendo; president, HAL Laboratory Education: Tokyo Institute of Technology Source: Nintendo ___ To see more of the San Jose Mercury News, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to
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