Reggie on attracting core gamers to Wii U, third-party games, supply chain, Nintendo Power, and more

Posted under General Nintendo, News, Wii, Wii U
September 24, 2012 by (@NE_Brian)

Below the break is another Q&A with Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime.

Reggie tackled lots of Wii U topics, including attracting hardcore gamers, third-party games, the supply chain, and more. He also addressed other areas such as the possibility of returning to Nintendo Power in the future.

Reggie on how Nintendo can convince new gamers to become return consumers…

“Well, what we’ve seen is that these new entrants to the market really have broadened their own gaming experiences. They started by playing Wii Sports, but then they graduated to games like Mario Kart and New Super Mario Bros. Wii. Then they continued on to experiences like Donkey Kong Country Returns or The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. So their gaming tastes have matured.

“So we’ll continue to have all the family-friendly fare like Nintendo Land and New Super Mario Brothers U… but in addition, we’re going to have more active gamer content, which was something that was missing other than from Nintendo’s first party titles. Maybe these new entrants will find their first opportunity [to play] something like Call of Duty now that it can be delivered through Wii U.”

Reggie on how Nintendo can get hardcore gamers to take the Wii U seriously as they might take a new Xbox or PlayStation…

“We showed that [with the announcement that Activision's Call of Duty: Black Ops II will be released for the Wii U]. You’re going to have the beautiful graphics. You’re going to have the online multiplayer, and now you’re going to have a same-room two player experience that you can’t get anywhere else, because I’ll be playing on the game pad, you’ll be playing on the big screen T.V. That’s a huge innovation… there are a series of innovations that we’re bringing for the more active gamer.”

Reggie referring to a comment made that Nintendo had issues winning over hardcore gamers because big third-party games didn’t come out on Wii…

“I think you have to peel the onion back and ask why. And the why is that publishers creating these types of games have wanted to leverage their assets amongst multiple platforms. So when they created HD, online-driven platforms, it took them a significant amount of work to bring it on to the Wii. And that’s why we didn’t have those games. Now that we use HD and have strong online capabilities, we’ve broken the biggest barrier that the third party publishers had. Plus now we’re giving them this fantastic new tool called the GamePad to create new experiences.

“So I mean you’re seeing it here –50 games in the launch window, demonstrated support by three of the biggest western publishers, plus all of the great support out of Japan. So we’re confident that we have this system that really will draw the best of third party publishers.”

Reggie on whether or not Nintendo can attract more big third-party games to become Wii U exclusives…

“Are there going to be Wii exclusive active gamer titles? Absolutely. We’ve announced a number already, with [Sega's] Bayonetta 2 and [Ubisoft's] Zombi U. I mean these are active gamer experiences that are exclusive to our platform.”

“Plus we’re going to have what we do best, which really are bigger, broader, key fan franchise driven games leveraging Mario and Zelda and Donkey Kong. And I’ll tell you what’s interesting –if you look at this current generation, for all of the noise around core gamer games, the best selling titles, the top four selling titles have all been Nintendo-published, first party, exclusive to the Wii games.”

Reggie on how Nintendo will sell people on a different kind of gaming, instead of just a bigger, faster machine…

“This challenge is a challenge we’ve faced before. Getting consumers to understand the two screen experience on the Nintendo DS is an example. Getting consumers to embrace motion gaming when they had never seen anything like a Wii remote before. Our approach is to partner our marketing teams with the product teams, and make sure that we identify those key product-based selling points, and then communicate them as broadly as possible.

“So for example, you will see much more focused marketing that showcases this two screen experience, and why it’s so much fun. You’ll see much more hands-on activities for consumers, so that they can experience it themselves. We’ll be in malls across the country beginning right around Black Friday, to help consumers understand what this experience is all about, and to get them to advocate for it.”

Reggie on how Nintendo will address the fact that Wii U will be the most expensive console on the market…

“We’ll see what our competitors do and where they are… but we’re going to be going after different consumers. With the Wii U, Nintendo will be speaking to the active consumer looking for the latest in a gaming experience… but we’re also going to be speaking to a much broader mass market consumer with games like Nintendo Land and new Super Mario Brothers U, as well as the innovative Nintendo TVii. So we believe that given everything we’re offering, the price points we’ve announced –$300 for the basic set, $349 for the deluxe– represent incredible values to the consumer.

“And all of the things that we’re including for free, others charge you for. The Nintendo TVii service, video chat… all of these capabilities are built into our proposition. So we feel pretty good. But in the end the consumer is going to vote.”

Reggie on whether or not consumers will buy a box that only has one controller…

“If we’re talking about Wii U-generation brand new consumers, we think absolutely they will buy this system, and we believe that they will buy additional remotes, just like the Wii generation did. We’ve sold over 100 million remotes. If you do the math on an install base of 40 million systems here in the United States, that’s over two per household. We know consumers will buy an additional remote.

…It does (raise the price). But what we have found is that as long as the consumer sees the value, they’re willing to pay an extra $40 for an additional remote. And we wouldn’t have sold the numbers that we did if we didn’t represent that type of value. So we believe that given everything you get in this system, the pricing we’ve announced is an incredible value.”

Reggie on how the supply chain looks like for Wii U…

“We’ve learned a lot of lessons from the launch of the DS, the launch of Wii and the launch of 3DS. And our supply chain is solid. My job is to work with retailers, work with other business partners to create demand for the product, and have the consumer get excited. And I think we’re well on the way to doing that.

“My expectation is that we will do a phenomenal job helping the consumer understand the benefits of Wii U, and that our retailers will do a wonderful job of merchandising the product and getting it into consumers’ hands. We want to satisfy all of the demand that’s out there. That’s our goal.”

Reggie on how the marketing message will change with the Wii still in stores…

“The broad marketing for the Wii is not going to change. The Wii is focused against today the late adopter, the consumer who is spending $149 or less to have a gaming experience. And we believe –not only in the U.S. but through all of the Americas– there’s still millions of these types of consumers available. So it’s a sizable opportunity. But that’s a different consumer than who is going to look at the Wii U and get excited by the latest graphical capabilities, all of the services that are included, and new types of games. We see these as two different market opportunities.”

Reggie on whether or not Nintendo has learned anything from watching Sony’s continued success selling the PlayStation 2…

“You know, PlayStation has done a phenomenal job driving sales on what is a [twelve] year-old machine. They’ve done a phenomenal job, and they have been able to address different marketing over time, to build an incredibly large install base. We believe that the Wii system, similarly, will keep selling for quite some time. They’re going to be different addressable markets, not only from a U.S. perspective but from a global perspective… [but we'll] hopefully continue to drive sales at a historic rate.”

Reggie on whether or not Nintendo has any other plans for the Nintendo Power licence…

“We had a fabulous relationship with [Nintendo Power publisher] Future. When we made the decision a number of years ago on who would be the best publishing partner to work with, hands down they were the right choice, and they did a phenomenal job.

“But this is a tough time for the print industry. And so mutually we came to the decision that Nintendo Power in a printed form didn’t make sense today. What the future holds, we’ll all see. But right now that December issue is going to be the last one. I’ll make sure to have my copy. I was a subscriber to the publication before I worked for the company, so the Nintendo Power brand personally is very meaningful to me. It’ll be a sad day when I open up that last issue.”

Reggie on whether or not Nintendo Power could return as an online-only publication…

“We have nothing to announce today and there are no plans that are currently in place, but you said it. The Nintendo Power brand is very strong.”

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