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2010 E3 Expo Analyst Q & A Session - June 16, 2010
Q & A
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Q 7   We haven’t heard a lot about how the WiiWare and DSiWare services have been doing. Could you give us an idea of how you feel these services are performing? And will we see a similar service on the Nintendo 3DS?
A 7


 The question of what our plans are for digital distribution is one that’s very important to us. And I do think that we do have some topics of discussion for ourselves in terms of how we can, with WiiWare and DSiWare, try to capture and focus consumer attention on those products.

  Of course, I think that it’s very difficult to devote significant marketing dollars to individual titles. So I don’t think there is a whole lot of reality behind the idea of us doing a lot of TV commercials for specific DSiWare or WiiWare titles.

  The other thing that we feel quite strongly about is that we need to find ways that platforms like Wii and Nintendo DS can appeal not only to people who are proactively going out and seeking that content, but also to those who are not actively seeking them.

  So in the presentation yesterday, I spoke about some new attempts that we’re doing with Nintendo 3DS on the communication front that would allow the device to receive information without the consumer having to actively download it. Instead, it would happen automatically and update itself.

  I can’t go into detail on what the plans are today, but of course, with a device like Nintendo 3DS, we do intend to offer some type of digital distribution. What I can say is that if that type of digital distribution is not something that is very new and fresh compared to what we have done with Nintendo DSi, then I think we’re going to have a hard time reaching out beyond the audience that actively seeks out that type of digital content.

  So up until now, much of the digital distribution focus has been on more of a "pull type" where the consumer goes out, gets the content and pulls it to themselves. With Nintendo 3DS, we’re looking at a model that would be more focused around the "push type," where we’re able to push information or content out to the device. And with a model like that, what it means is that because the consumer doesn’t have to actively seek out the information themselves, it gives us a venue for creative new ideas of our company or of our developers to reach consumers much more easily.

  And ideally, if it is possible, we would like to try and find ways to customize that functionality as much as possible to meet our consumers’ tastes. Unfortunately, we can’t go into detail on that today because there’s still a number of questions about the degree to which we’ll be able to do that. But I would like to say that we are thinking seriously about strengthening digital distribution.

Q 8   Piracy (infringement of IP like illegal copy products) has become a huge issue on the Nintendo DS platform, particularly in Europe, and it seems to be impacting your financial performance, but maybe even more importantly, it seems to be producing the desire for third parties to not develop for that platform. So I’m wondering what steps you are taking with the Nintendo 3DS to prevent this serious problem.
A 8


 I am in complete agreement with you that piracy is a serious issue. Unfortunately, the piracy issue has reached a threshold where it is no longer easy for us to completely put a stop to now.

 Naturally, we are taking a two-pronged approach, from both a legal and a technological angle, to try to do what we can to combat the piracy issue. Although we have made some progress, unfortunately, it’s kind of like a game of "Whack-A-Mole" where you hit one over here and it pops up over there, and it has been a bumpy ride.

 On the Nintendo 3DS, when the new hardware is launched, various measures can be taken. So, we’ll continue to take advantage of technological attempts. In the case of Nintendo DS, the pirates work to find ways to then overcome that and enable it, but we’ll continue to try to do what we can to limit the amount of piracy that’s going on. We will pursue these two routes.

 Then there’s also a group of countries where perhaps the laws in those countries are not currently strong enough to allow us to go after piracy. In that sense, Nintendo strives as part of the overall industry, rather than on its own, to work with those countries to try to get them to strengthen their laws to enable us to combat piracy from the perspective of protecting valuable IP.

Q 9  With 3D getting a lot of attention this year, what are your plans for stereoscopic 3D output from the Wii console? Do you also have such plans to allow 3D output from the Nintendo 3DS to a television set for the 3D photos and video that can be seen in that device?
A 9


  It’s been more than 15 years now since we first started focusing on 3D. I’m sure all of you here are aware of the Virtual Boy. And even back in the Nintendo GameCube era, we were experimenting with 3D functionality as GameCube, with its 3D compatible circuit, was able to output 3D visuals to a 3D LCD screen attached to GameCube.

  But unfortunately, considering the current penetration rate of 3D television sets in ordinary households, we don’t think that there’s much reality in creating a new hardware system that would support 3D visuals as a home console.

  Of course, at some point in the future, when the installed base for 3D televisions is such that it’s no longer a rarity for people to have one, then certainly, when that point in time comes, whichever console Nintendo would release at that point would most likely take advantage of 3D technology.

  On the other hand, the advantage of a handheld device is that the hardware of the handheld device and the screen are a single unit. And what that means is that anybody who purchases that device, or 100% of the installed base of that device, can experience the 3D visuals. This is the reason why Nintendo is first introducing 3D games with a portable game system.

  Because a 3D home console video game machine can really be created at any point in time, once there is an installed base of 3D TVs that would be able to support such a console, we would like to think about what we will do. For now, we would like to think about functionality for sharing 3D photos taken by a Nintendo 3DS with other Nintendo 3DS. We currently have a very hard time seeing any other type of standard coming about. Once a standard arises, then perhaps we’ll look at what we can do to allow our 3D content to be shown by that standard on other devices.

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