Nintendo Co., Ltd. - Corporate Management Policy Briefing Q&A

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You raised "Playing=Believing" as your E3 message. What kind of approaches are you conceiving so that many people will have hands-on opportunities?

Iwata: There is a Japanese counterpart for the English saying of "seeing is believing" This Playing is Believing is not just a pun from it but has turned out to be very persuasive slogan for those who have had the hands-on Wii experiences. In fact, those who have had played Wii were all showing happy smiles. I'm sorry that I couldn't see you when you were playing Wii today, but according to our employees, you appeared to enjoy yourselves. As you could tell, Wii was accepted very well by those who have actually played. There is a difficulty of promoting Wii hands-on that is different from the case of promoting DS. We can bring DS hardware anywhere and show it to anyone, but we cannot do so with Wii. On the other hand, there is a thing Wii can do better than DS. When a player is enjoying playing DS, it is hard for other people to know what the player is actually doing. When DS hardware is held horizontally like a book, it may tell the player is doing Brain Age, but that is about it. When a player is playing some other game, others cannot even see which software is being played on the screens. Wii is far more obvious. Our first mission is to encourage people to see the motions of a player or players when they are playing with Wii. And then, we will provide opportunities for those who want to play Wii. If we can expand this hands-on opportunity to a critical mass, people will voluntarily encourage others to enjoy what they have enjoyed themselves. When we can reach that stage, then we can leave behind such issues as, "Wii is the unprecedented entertainment so marketing Wii requires extra effort." I said today that we are intending to produce and ship 4 million Wii hardware by the end of this calendar year. If we can do so, and if these Wii units can satisfy the purchasers, this Playing=Believing message shall be thoroughly understood by a wide range of customers.

You said you are hopeful that those who have Wii hands-on experiences will volunteer to spread the good news by word of mouth. When will you launch such software?

Iwata: If Wii Sports is the only such title we can sell on Wii's launch date, it will be difficult for good news to spread by word of mouth. In fact, we are intending to launch multiple such titles on or shortly after the Wii launch date. It may be sold as packaged software, or it may be downloaded as Virtual Console software. These will be the titles which can be played by anybody even if they do not have past game-play experiences, knowledge and techniques. As soon as people see the software and are given the Wii Remote, they feel that they can do it. Those are kind of titles I am talking about. WarioWare has been a hit Nintendo game series in Japan. This kind of software should be launched by the end of this year in Japan, I believe.

How will you allocate your resources between Wii and DS? Isn't it hard for consumers to purchase both?

Iwata: As a matter of fact, several people told me at E3 after they had praised Wii that Wii's biggest rival is DS, not the competition's hardware, or that consumers may not care anything other than DS now that DS has become a social phenomenon. In Japan, more than 8.5 million people already own DS but more people are willing to buy one. We should take the situation as an opportunity to sell Wii, rather than as the rival of Wii. More specifically, now that a number of people are now starting to become continual game players with DS, how can we persuade them to understand having Wii at home will enable them to have more fun experiences or to make their DS experiences even better? If we can do things right, we will be able to take advantage of DS, rather than cannibalize DS. If we need to sell DS and Wii from scratch and to market both products to the households which own neither of them, we may need to be more careful. However, DS already has a huge installed base and, in addition, the number of Wii hardware we can ship this year is limited, just as I said, so we will be able to craft smart marketing to sell both products.

Mr. Miyamoto, aren't you facing any issues when you are making software due to the fact that Wii is not HD-ready or haven't you felt the Wii does not have high enough spec? How about you, Mr. Takeda?

Miyamoto: I have made demo software for E3 and I have been making Wii titles now, but I have never felt that Wii needs more processing power. Actually, whatever spec numbers you may be talking about, there are always some technological limit. If anyone makes a game for HD, the hardware machine power must become more than quadrupled just to make it HD applicable. A similar thing can be said about the memory size. When developers are told that they can use as much memory size as they want, someone use them indiscriminately without thinking how it will affect other development activities, and it is becoming difficult for game directors to control the whole game development process. Such uncoordinated activities by each developer make the hardware work less efficiently and unnecessary development efforts must be taken for these activities. What we are trying to do is to create brand new freestyle entertainment that can be enjoyed by all the family members as well as by a single player. In making such entertainment, I have never felt stress about the power of Wii. Honestly, I have not been able to use 100% of GameCube's power yet, so I am very happy with Wii's far superior functionality.

Takeda: I don't think we have any problem about the hardware. It's just the matter of how you use the available technologies. We could use technologies to effectively process HD. In fact, Wii is using 90nano, SA and other state of the art technologies as well as DRAM integrated technology that others are also doing. Only the difference is, we are using these technologies differently from the others. Each company has its own idea on how they should use the technologies, and we believe our ways are the most desirable one for software creators.

Iwata: I am still a developer at heart, so allow me to add my comment. I think it is just a matter of the balance. As I said earlier, the notion to be able to make more beautiful graphics is tempting. High-resolution sounds tempting too. I myself can tell the resulted difference in these areas even if many others can't, and I don't say I don't like technologies. I am one of the engineers so I am excited with new functionality. However, if I only listen to the voices of my engineer spirit, the resulted machine will be bigger in size, will take a longer time to start playing after turning on the switch and must be pretty difficult to employ such unique functions as WiiConnect24. So, we made the decision by asking ourselves, "which would let us make more attractive proposals to the consumers?" and "which will be the more balanced way to use the technologies?" We did not include some functions but it is not because we couldn't do so. It was just that we eliminated them to make Wii a better proposal. Of course, we have had very heated discussions. Now that we had decided to take this approach, after attending E3 and having listened to the feedback from so many people, we are convinced that the decision we made was the right one. Of course, 5 years from today or 10 years from today, we will need to review and determine the new balance in order to come up with our new proposals in terms of the actual needs of the customers and many other factors including affordable price. I am not saying that Nintendo will never launch HD-ready hardware. Rather, it can happen. However, when we seriously look into the current penetration ratio of HD TV, the need to take a long time to start software applications after turning on the power, the big console body, heat, power consumption, etc., etc., we had to make a more well-balanced machine. So, we have no regret about Wii in terms of its well-balanced nature.

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