The Wii U hasn’t done nearly as well as Nintendo would have liked it to. That fact can’t really be disputed. On the heels of Nintendo’s downgrading of Wii U and 3DS forecasts last week more news about Nintendo’s future is expected this week when their investor’s meeting goes down. Ahead of that meeting it’s being reported that Nintendo executives will be taking a paycut.
According to AFP Nintendo President Satoru Iwata is expected to take a 50% paycut, but he won’t be the only one doing so. Shigeru Miyamoto and Genyo Takeda both will be taking salary hits of 30%. Other directors at the company will be taking a 20% cut.
This isn’t the first time that Nintendo executives have done this. During the struggles of the 3DS first year the group also took paycuts. These moves aren’t necessarily financial as these salaries wouldn’t make a huge dent in the company’s financials. It’s more of a symbolic gesture and one that these people wouldn’t necessarily have to have done. They are taking responsibility for the failures of Nintendo’s hardware and doing so while not having to fire or lay off any of the employees below them. Nintendo’s not hurting for cash and these employees didn’t need to cut their salary. Sometimes symbolic gestures are what you need.
Stay tuned here for more information about all of Nintendo’s financial news as it unfolds this week.
Animal Crossing is one of those titles that everyone on the staff is eagerly anticipating. It’s going to completely grind anything on this site to a halt but we can’t wait. There have even been emails about people contemplating importing a Japanese 3DS to play the game early. The franchise is known to have lots of special events with items avaliable to players throughout the year and Animal Crossing: New Leaf is going to be no exception.
Nintendo has some ambitious things in the works and they’re even partnering with real world designers to bring different items, like clothing, into the game. If you’re worried about Nintendo charging for any of these items, have no fear. While Nintendo is getting into the business of paid DLC, Nintendo President Satoru Iwata had the following to say about paid DLC in Animal Crossing:
“That sort of element is absolutely not being added.”
While it would have been very easy for Nintendo to start charging real world dollars for these virtual items, and fans would have bought them, they’re not going that route. Everything in the game will remain free.
Nintendo has already said they’re going to be talking about the Wii U more in September when they announce the launch date and price point of the system. They’re also going to take time to talk more about the third-party support the system is going to have. E3 showed a lot of third-party support, but most of it was ports or adaptations of games that are already on consoles; or will be before the Wii U is launched. There wasn’t much other support announced. Companies like Capcom and EA were surprisingly quiet on the support they’d have for the system. Mr. Iwata says that more announcements are on the way.
…before making the Wii U public we had to proactively go out to those third-party publishers because otherwise we would never have something for the launch of our system.
I think some of these projects have already been announced at E3, but there are other games in the works that haven’t been announced yet and in the autumn, when we announce price point and timing of the launch, we will also be able to announce some more third-party titles.
So, there will be more third-party titles announced for the Wii U. Many of these will probably not be launch titles, but some of them could be. I think the Wii U is primed for a good holiday run this year and if these titles are new announcements, or even exclusives to Wii U, it will only be good news. We’ve got a couple of months until we find out.
Back before the 3DS launched, and for essentially the first year of the system’s life, Nintendo was all about the 3D. They mentioned it every time anyone talked about the system and made sure it was a key focus of the marketing campaign. Now that the 3D boom has proven to be less important than people initially thought, Nintendo is backing down on 3D as a key marketing feature.
During E3 this year they hardly mentioned 3D and focused on the games themselves. Now, according to The Independent, Nintendo President Satoru Iwata has confirmed 3D will be less of a focus for Nintendo going forward.
“I think when we launched the 3DS there was a kind of 3D boom, which is perhaps slightly on the wane again, but there are plenty of people out there that create 3D video and I think that some of those who create and distribute 3D video would be very interested in the 3DS XL, but as human beings are this kind of surprise effect wears off quickly, and just have this 3D stereoscopic effect isn’t going to keep people excited.
I think it’s an important element, it makes graphics more impactful, it proves a sense of immersion that 2D doesn’t have, so I would say generally that 3D is better than 2D. It’s nice to have good graphics but not necessarily on their own, so I don’t think we’ll present [3D graphics] as one of the key features of our consoles but will probably stick with 3D as one of the minor elements of our consoles in the future.”
What do you think this means for the future of the 3DS? Is there going to be any real change in the system, or the games that are developed for it? I think it’s a great enhancement to the experience and I still — to this day — play with my 3D slider all the way up. Have I seen any games that absolutely require the feature? No, but it has an effect on the way you interact with some of the games and I do think it makes the whole experience more immersive. It’s nice to walk into a game environment and feel the environment take up real space. It gives me a better sense of depth and positioning in some cases. I also think ,in most cases, it actually makes the visual parts of the game look better.
I hope this means developers, especially Nintendo as they’ve been one of the better users of 3D on the system, won’t move away from 3D and we still get plenty of titles that really use the 3D to good effect. I was unsure about 3D before playing the 3DS as I didn’t want to wear glasses over my glasses, but the experience on the handheld has been good and I’m excited to see the possibilities on the 3DS XL later this year.
There’s been a lot of speculation over the last 24 hours based on the information that came out of Nintendo’s Investor meeting. People, myself included, are looking for hints about anything Wii U related. Satoru Iwata did say, as we reported yesterday, that there will be no official announcement of the release window or pricing for Wii U at E3. Many of the quotes from Nintendo representatives over the past few weeks have hinted at a late year release for their next home console. This additional quote from the meeting hints even further that a mid-late November release seems likely.
“I believe that you are most interested in the details of the Wii U. Since the Wii U will be launched in Japan, the U.S., Europe and Australia in the year-end sales season… as we did for previous platforms that were launched in the year-end sales season, we will announce the launch date and price in each market sometime after E3.”
The evidence continues to mount. The year-end sales season generally refers to the Thanksgiving holiday, at least here in North America. Does this quote seem to support a Thanksgiving release for the Wii U? Could it be earlier than that or maybe even be pushed into December? We won’t find out at E3, but it’s fun to speculate.
There was a surprising reaction to Wii U when it was revealed at E3 a few weeks ago. Many people, including developers, were excited by the possibilities. Critics were initially unsure whether the controller was a new Wii peripheral, a new console or something else entirely. Stockholders were less enthused as for two days straight Nintendo’s stock prices fell more than they had in many months. Nintendo would later say that they botched the reveal and could have made it easier for everyone to understand, but they also said that they’re no strangers to this type of reaction.
During a recent investor’s conference Nintendo President Satoru Iwata said that the reaction to the Wii U was not unlike what happened with both the DS and the Wii. When talking about the reaction to Nintendo’s dual screened handheld he said reactions were like:
“It seems like Nintendo is saying they will have two screens on a handheld console! Are they all right?” and “What are they going to do with this way out stuff?”
I can say that I was less than impressed by the Nintendo DS when I first laid eyes on it. I was very much a fan of the Game Boy family and what it had represented for so long. I also know that as time went on Nintendo proved that the system was a wonderful step forward and developers really figured out how best to handle the system.
He then went on to talk about the reaction to the Wii when it was revealed to the public. According to the Nintendo executive people were saying thiings like:
“The remote can be used for new gameplay, but what else can you make with this?” or “Is this going to sell in the home console market at all?”
When addressing the share holders about Nintendo future, the Wii U and the Nintendo 3DS he said that he felt many investor’s were attending the meeting to tell Nintendo to “do something”. He urged those members in attendance that people who have had hands on experiences with the Wii U were very positive and that the new system will sell even better than the Wii.
During Nintendo’s E3 press conference this year Mr. Iwata talked about a game that was going to be cross compatible in some way for the 3DS and the Wii U. That game was Super Smash Bros. and it sort of got the fans buzzing about what we would see and how the features would be implemented. Apparently, we’re going to have to wait some time before that comes to fruition and Nintendo may have announced a game that hasn’t even been put into development.
According to Masahiro Sakurai, who was the Executive Producer of Super Smash Bros. Brawl, the game has not begun development yet. The following comment comes from Edge when he was asked about the game:
“We’ve got no plans whatsoever. We’ve got two new games out in the open when there’s no extra time to work with them at all. It makes me cringe, and I’m not sure it’s the smartest thing to make gamers wait for several years, but the early announcement was made chiefly in order to attract new team members.”
So Nintendo is showing off a game at the E3 press conference that doesn’t even exist, outside of some speculation on what the title COULD bring when it gets released. I’m not quite sure what to think about this one. Obviously, Nintendo wants to make this a flagship game that would bridge the handheld and the console worlds, potentially even allowing for cross platform play. A similar thing happened with Brawl, but this game could still be as much as three years away, assuming that they haven’t even begun pre-production on it.
Is this a smart move on Nintendo’s part? I have a feeling that announcing a game so far out, and having members of what would be the development team saying it doesn’t exist could hinder the overall good feeling that people would have for the game. Sakurai has said in the past he doesn’t want to do a Smash Bros. game that’s just a roster update, but the fans want more from Nintendo’s fighting franchise. What do you think? Should Nintendo be talking about games that don’t even exist to demonstrate a new platform? Are you excited about the possibilities that a cross platform Smash Bros. could bring?
Many times, when you go to a store to make a video game purchase one of the factors that you weigh when making your decisions is the price of a game. Sometimes you might feel that the content of a game isn’t worth the price that the publisher is asking for. That can ultimately be harmful to developers, publishers and the game franchise itself. How many times have we seen a good franchise doomed to die because it didn’t sell well enough to warrant a sequel? How many times could that fate have been avoided by simply launching the game at a different price point.
This has been one of those issues that has plagued both game makers and game buyers for years. Most titles, it seems, are obligated to come out at a certain price point. Right now the standard default price for games on the high definition consoles is $60, while the default price for most Wii games is $50. Publishers of games for the Xbox 360 and PS3 both justify that additional cost by saying how much more expensive it is to create games for those systems compared to the Wii. Sometimes software comes packaged as, what we like to call, budget software that will sell for around $10 less than the standard price. This is also usually accompanied by the belief, sometimes false belief, that those games aren’t as good as their higher priced cousins.
Nintendo President Satoru Iwata has been no stranger to GDC. He’s been a keynote speaker at the event a few times in recent years. Back in 2005 he made some announcements about the Wii and what would power that system. In 2006 he made a speech about disrupting development and bringing gaming to the masses. Last year was the announcement of a new Zelda game.
It’s just been announced that he will also keynote this years event, which happens to be the 25th anniversary of the event. The keynote will be titled “Video Games Turn 25: A Historical Perspective and Vision for the Future.” You can bet he’s going to be taking that time to talk about the 3DS and how developing games for that system will change that way people look at the industry.
The Game Developers Conference will be held from February 28th to March 4th.
Nintendo’s said that the next home console is still a ways off. Recently Mr. Iwata said it could be three years or eight years from now. Whenever it comes you can rest assured that you’ll have your mind blown. During recent discussions Mr. Iwata said it would have to be more than just an HD console and that you need to be surprised. Metroid Co-creator Yoshio Sakamoto has even more to say on the topic:
“At Nintendo we always have the obligation to surprise users with a new game console,” Sakamoto told website 3D Juegos in a recent interview. “We have never done what others have. We prefer to create something new that catches attention, and I think this will continue this time as well. Surely the new Nintendo machine will leave you all with your mouth open.”
So, we know that Nintendo doesn’t do things halfway. The next system will leave you as surprised as you were when you finally got your hands on the Wii and chances are it will do something to innovate, yet again. We don’t know when that next system will come. We know it will come and according to the higher ups at Nintendo, we’ll like it when it does.