There is another important element for continuously expanding the gaming population. That is, the need to produce products that can not only satisfy veteran gamers but also please novice game players. Without satisfying both, the number of people who regularly play video games will not increase on a continuous basis. The common belief in the video game market was that we needed to categorize video games into ones for novice players and ones for veteran players. Then, we were supposed to further narrow down the potential customer groups to fulfill a dedicated software lineup. With this approach, as games became more and more sophisticated within a narrow category, the size of the potential customers also narrowed and the number of those who actually played also declined. I do not need to dwell on what has happened with shooting games and fighting games in Japan which used to be dominant in the past in this country. Of course, it is not an easy job to make one software title that can be enjoyed by both novice and veteran players alike. However, with the belief that such a stereotypical thinking might have been narrowing down the video game market by narrowing the targeted audiences, we have decided to squarely face the challenge of breaking down the psychological wall separating veteran and novice players.
We launched Legend of Zelda for DS, "Phantom Hourglass", in June this year in Japan, and we have squarely tackled this challenge of a game that can suit everyone. The Zelda franchise is almost synonymous with games for many veterans. The novice players would find most Zelda games very difficult to play. But this time around, with the unique DS feature of touch pen control, we thought that we would be able to appeal both to veteran and novice players. Of course, some fans were concerned about the prospect of Zelda being able to be played with touch screen control. Previously, games like Zelda were said to enjoy great sales only during their launch periods, followed by sudden declining sales immediately afterward. This DS version of the Legend of Zelda is showing constant sales in the market.
This is the data from our Club Nintendo, and it shows that more adults than before are playing with this Zelda DS, and...
The Zelda series used to be played mainly by male players, but Phantom Hourglass increased female players’ registration with Club Nintendo. And because fewer female purchasers than male purchasers traditionally register with Club Nintendo, actual female purchasers of this game certainly are much higher than this . In particular, there are many female users from their late teens to early 30s. Also, among Club Nintendo members, we see that a number of people who started gaming by purchasing New Mario Brothers or Animal Crossing then went on to play their first Zelda game. We believe that not only novice gamers were satisfied with Zelda DS, but Zelda DS was also able to cater to even those who had some concern with touch screen control.
Super Mario Galaxy, which is now well-known as an authentic 3D action game, is going to be launched at the beginning of the year-end sales season, and we'd like this game also to challenge the barrier separating novice and veteran game players. This game has dared to challenge the common belief that 3D action games are too difficult for novice players.