Nintendo on its magic and being creative, future of consoles, more - Nintendo Everything

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Nintendo on its magic and being creative, future of consoles, more

Posted on November 18, 2017 by (@NE_Brian) in General Nintendo, News

A little while back, Wirtschaftsforum interviewed Dr. Bernd Fakesch. Fakesch is the general manager of Nintendo D-A-CH (Germany – Austria – Switzerland). During the interview, Fakesch commented on Nintendo in general terms. He was asked about the company’s magic (and how it applies to Switch), Nintendo’s approach to being creative, and the future of consoles.

We’ve prepared a full translation of Wirtschaftsforum’s interview. If you’re interested in the topics that were discussed, continue no below.

Wirtschaftsforum: Dr. Fakesch, Nintendo is one of the pioneers of the video game console and, after several ups and owns, revolutionized the gaming market with the Wii. Now your newest product, the Nintendo Switch, has conquered the market. Can you explain the magic of Nintendo?

Dr. Bernd Fakesch: I think this magic is a combination of experience and the company’s philosophy. Nintendo has been making toys for nearly 130 years and has been on the forefront of the gaming industry since its beginning as well. Long before the Nintendo Switch and the Wii, we were setting industry standards with the Nintendo Entertainment System, the Game Boy and the games that were released for these systems – and we managed to capture the hearts of consumers. Thanks to years of experience, being able to create fun gaming moments is practically in the DNA of our hardware and software developers.

This is enhanced by our company philosophy, which puts a special focus on the player. Our developers always start with a certain gameplay concept. They evaluate what a new game or a new console needs to be capable of to ensure that it’s as fun as it can possibly be in order to make the player smile. Only then do we think about the technical details that are necessary to realize this, and which of our characters would be a good fit. This often produces unconventional and surprising results.

This is also how the Nintendo Switch was developed, the first home console that can be played on the go thanks to its integrated display, even when you’re not near a TV. The best example for the kind of unconventional thinking that’s common at Nintendo might be Super Mario though. He’s kind of an anti-hero, a blue-collar worker who’s capable, but is essentially the antithesis of the conventional superhero – but he’s nonetheless had great success for over 30 years, whether it’s with racing, sports or saving princesses. There are a whole bunch of other unique characters and franchises like The Legend of Zelda, Animal Crossing, Yoshi and Splatoon which embody this idea of fun – and this certain kind of Nintendo magic.

Wirtschaftsforum: Your industry is driven by innovation. How is Nintendo managing to be constantly creative and how quickly are new projects realized?

Dr. Bernd Fakesch: As soon as a new console is on the market, development starts for the next console generation. The same is true for the games as well. In both cases, this can take several years since Nintendo values challenging, varied games – ideally multiplayer games – which our fans can enjoy for a long time.

Maybe one advantage that Nintendo has comes from a specific aspect of Japanese culture. In Shintoism, even inanimate objects can have a soul, which is why they need to be made and treated with care. This can be seen in traditional Japanese craftsmanship, but also in the production of tech like video game consoles. This perfectionism is definitely one of the reasons why Nintendo games are so immediately accessible and intuitive.

Wirtschaftsforum: An increasing digitalization is becoming kind of inevitable. Will consoles be capable of more than just playing games in the future?

Dr. Bernd Fakesch: Nintendo consoles have always been capable of more than just playing games. For example, the Game Boy could be connected to a printer and the GameCube had online capabilities. Ever since the Wii and Nintendo 3DS, it’s been possible with our consoles to browse the internet, watch videos, go shopping, communicate with others and much more. There’s also software that teaches cooking, drawing tools and software that allows you to read classical literature on the screen of the Nintendo DSi.

However, our focus definitely still lies on delivering fun gameplay experiences. Nintendo consoles and games are developed first and foremost for one purpose: to make the player smile. We’re convinced that pure gaming consoles can achieve this better than other devices for which gaming is just one function among many. This will likely be the case for the foreseeable future. Now, what will game consoles be capable of in the future? The sky is the limit if you consider the possibilities of Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality. Let’s wait and see.

Wirtschaftsforum: You’re the author of a book about leadership via employee participation. How exactly are you enacting this method in your position as General Manager of Nintendo?

Dr. Bernd Fakesch: Right. “Führung durch Mitarbeiterbeteiligung” (“leadership via employee participation”) is the title of my dissertation, which was published in 1991. The kind of company management described there and the kind that I’m also putting into practice here at Nintendo Germany is characterized by co-operative leadership and flat hierarchy. I simply rely on the expertise and the ability to act independently of our employees. This speeds up processes and makes them more flexible and more productive. This would not be the case if one person at the top were to make every single decision himself. Especially in our industry, quickness and flexibility are key.

This can only be implemented in a company that has a positive, trusting office climate. For example, you need a certain kind of error culture. People only show motivation and initiative if the joy of succeeding is greater than the fear of failing. Generally, companies that involve their employees are more successful than those with rigid hierarchies.

Wirtschaftsforum: Finally, a personal question: what game do you currently enjoy playing in your free time?

Dr. Bernd Fakesch: At the moment that’s definitely Mario Kart 8 Deluxe for Nintendo Switch. This tumultuous cart racing game allows for races with up to 8 players at the same time. Varying levels of skill can be adjusted thanks to several tools like smart steering or auto acceleration. This makes Mario Kart the ideal game to play with family and friends.

My wife and my kids are currently enjoying another new game for Nintendo Switch: ARMS, a strategic kind of boxing game that uses motion controls. You control your character by holding a controller, a Joy-Con, in each hand and swinging them like boxing gloves. What’s interesting is that you can give each character a different set of Arms which all have their strengths and weaknesses. This means that strategic thinking is important, in addition to quick reactions and accuracy. I think that ARMS is a good example of the way Nintendo can put a new and exciting spin on an established idea. Even in the boxing ring, magic can happen.

Thanks to Uwe for the tip and our own Matt for the native translation.

Leave a Reply

  • JasonBall

    Thanks for translating this! Interesting to see perspectives other than Reggie’s sometimes.

  • Tomo910

    I wonder if instead of a dedicated handheld Nintendo will release something with ar and vr

    • Justin McQuillen

      I’d bet on a beefed up Switch model in early 2019 that has a new key feature as its selling point, whether it be stereoscopic AR, VR, or both. I want stereo AR like the 3DS but with better graphics. Considering the popularity of the tech now it’s a no-brainer.

  • Mark

    I would be interested if Nintendo execs would admit to playing games other than what was designed and published by Nintendo. I loved hearing that Eiji Aonuma enjoyed Skyrim, The Witcher 3, and The Last Guardian. If more developers did this, it would tell me a little more about what kinds of games, mechanics, and stories they find interesting and might draw inspiration from, rather than just sound like “Hey, I tacked on an advertisement for Mario Kart 8 and ARMS at the end of this interview!”

    • TrueNeko Fighter

      I personally am still waiting for another Mario strikers game and I think it would go perfectly with the switch.

  • GoldenTriforce

    “The best example for the kind of unconventional thinking that’s common at Nintendo might be Super Mario though. He’s kind of an anti-hero, a blue-collar worker who’s capable, but is essentially the antithesis of the conventional superhero ”

    …….

    Are you serious? Mario is the furthest you can possibly get from an anti-hero. He has one character trait, and that is that he is always happy, even when he shouldn’t be. He has no flaws, no depth. He doesn’t even fit the definition of an anti-hero, which, according to dictionary.com, is “a protagonist who lacks the attributes that make a heroic figure, as nobility of mind and spirit, a life or attitude marked by action or purpose, and the like.” He isn’t even blue-collar, he hasn’t been a plumber for decades, his job is literally being a hero… or a doctor, which also isn’t blue collar. In almost every game, all he does is save the princess. That would make him the most stereotypical hero possible, and also one whose character never changes.

    • MajoraMan28

      Indeed, that comment was preety weird.
      Mario and Link are portrayed by definition as classic characters, in other words, don’t show any flaws to the audience, don’t speak to permit a much more relatable and stronger connection to the player (due to how easy one can put themselves in the characters’ shoes and experience the journey and story of their franchises). They are always sided with Good and the Light. They never once demonstrated any kind of ill behaviour toward another character that isn’t a villain. And, both of them are faithful to their heroic cause: to free their loved ones and their world from evil and its tyranny.

      Link and, specially, Mario are both the best examples of classic heroes. They have nothing to do with anti-heroes.

    • awesomeparadise3

      I’m not being entirely serious but he does punch Yoshi in the head in Super Mario World. He’s essentially punching the… man? Woman? He’s punching the thing that raised him in the head. And bricks in the OG Super Mario Bros. (not sure if it still applies to the bricks in newer games) used to be Toads, so when he breaks those bricks he’s essentially killing Toads. He also cages DK in Donkey Kong Jr. and torments his son as he tries to rescue his father.

  • link2metroid

    “Dr. Bernd Fakesch: Nintendo consoles have always been capable of more than just playing games. For example, the Game Boy could be connected to a printer and the GameCube had online capabilities. Ever since the Wii and Nintendo 3DS, it’s been possible with our consoles to browse the internet, watch videos, go shopping, communicate with others and much more.”

    Then along came the Switch. Plain biscuit Switch with no internet browser, no apps, no Virtual Console, no backwards compatibility, no proper voice chat, no camera, no microphone, no Miiverse, etc. We’re supposed to progress with technology, not go back in time.

    • Radish

      I’m pretty sure backwards compatibility is how you stay in the past. And do you honestly think we won’t get any of those other things you listed on Switch? (Other than Miiverse because that’s Wii-era.

      Also, last I checked Hulu is an app.

      • miiverse aint from the wii honey
        frankly this seems behind the wii era considering the lack of just about anything that makes it modern
        it’s got downloadable games and hd, that’s it
        hell, so did the wii

        • Radish

          Miiverse isn’t a Wii-era feature? Troll exposed.

          Miiverse was a good idea for building communities and whatnot, but it was implemented poorly. The fact that whenever you turned on the Wii U and were forced to go through the Mii plaza before you could even play a game was one of the many things that killed the Wii U.

          You’re right. The Switch is not modern at all. In fact, it’s more primitive than the Sega Saturn. Okay. That’s why it’s selling so well.

          I look forward to your damage control next year when they unveil Switch’s online service. You’re already ignoring the fact that it has Hulu.

  • Adrián Alucard

    Yec, start charging for hard modes is creative and unique

    • Radish

      Hard mode was included with the game. Fusion mode wasn’t. Not many games have a fusion mode, you know. Yet we don’t say they aren’t complete lol.

      • Adrián Alucard

        Hard mode was not included in BotW and other Zelda HD games unless you pay for it. Unlike, you know NES TLoZ, where the “2nd quest” mode was free. Can you believe it? Nintendo offering games with extra modes and replay value for free, that’s crazy. Thank god that does not happens anymore. Adding extra value to products for free sounds like comunism, and comunism is bad.

        Also, yes changing the “very hard” name to “Fusion mode” while adding some minor changes is very creative too.

        • Radish

          I’m sorry to hear you didn’t get your money’s worth with Breath of the Wild. Hope whoever has a gun to your head forcing you to buy games can chill.

          Oh yeah, and better make sure Amiibo have no value cause that’s how you run a business.

          • Adrián Alucard

            Yeah, better to force your customers to buy those crappy plastic figurines if people want to enjoy the full experience.

            Gaming was perfect without amiibos/DLCs

          • Radish

            Really? I wasn’t aware your stores had Nintendo employees holding a gun at you forcing you to buy something you don’t want. Sounds like a bad situation in your country.

          • Adrián Alucard

            Yes, if I want to enjoy the full game I’m forced to buy amiibos. But since I don’t buy crappy figurines (whose main purpose is just to stay on the shelves collecting dust) and I don’t buy unfinished games with content locked behind paywalls I just don’t buy videogames like Metroid, Zelda, etc.

            Thanks greedy Nintendo, you lost a customer and a loyal fan thanks to your unsatiable greed.

          • Radish

            Except the game was finished. You can play the full game 3 times on different difficulty levels without buying an amiibo.

            You must have given up playing video games then, because DLC has been a thing for most of this century. Have fun not playing Xenoblade 2 as well! 🙂

          • Adrián Alucard

            Oh, yes, I play a lot of videogames. Playing Etrian Odyssey V right now. It only have a few of cosmetic DLCs, nothing of value, thats all.

            Also, EOV has a main story and a free post game story that I won’t need to wait to play it, when I finish the main game the new story will start, unlike Xenoblade 2 where you must pay that “new” story and wait one year…

            And of course, most publishers (except Nintendo) usually launch
            Complete Editions. I just wait a few extra months until the game I want
            is complete. Paying 50-60€ for an early access game and then keep paying until you obtain the full game not a good deal.

          • Radish

            Yeah, and then after the “complete edition” they make a remastered version. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe includes all DLC, higher resolution graphics, and includes extra modes and more items. But you probably complain about that too. The fact is that since PS360 we now expect DLC in games. Nintendo would be stupid not to cash in on it, but they would be stupid if they did what EA did.

            You are not a wise consumer if you pre-order your games. You should wait, then you won’t have anything to complain about.

          • Adrián Alucard

            Yeah, remasters are bad too, instead of making a new game or a proper remaster, lazy publishers just relaunch the same game…

            And yes, Nintendo should be stupid to don’t try to sell DLCs, but consumers are stupid too if they buy DLCs or preorder games, it just make the videogame industry worse, just feeding a beast called greed and making it grow and grow…

        • R.Z.

          Hero mode was available from the get go in both WW HD and TP HD …

    • Nhat Anh Hoang

      Yeah, because without it, you can’t play the game and it is too easy even with the hardest mode possible but you still need DLC hard mode for free to beat the game

      • Dunno if you’re being sarcastic, but yes, Nintendo games are way too easy.

        • Nhat Anh Hoang

          I know right? Zelda BoTW is too easy that you can close eyes and use one arm to beat the game in just 1 hour even with the hardest mode (barring DLC hard mode)

  • Peris kope

    The fact that you read and commented on this artical demonstrates the power of the Nintendo Magic in full effect. Disrupters won’t always prosper, but always remain relevant.