Nintendo’s full comments on E3 showing, acknowledges disappointment with announcements
Whereas Nintendo’s E3 showing was generally well-received in 2014, the same can’t be said of this year’s event. A number of fans have expressed disappointment in terms of what Nintendo brought to the table during its latest Digital Event last month.
Nintendo president Satoru Iwata and Shigeru Miyamoto both addressed the reaction to the company’s E3 2015 presence at a recent shareholders meeting. The two of them noted the following:
E3 this year was held a week later than it has been held in the last few years, and it was held right before our general meeting of shareholders. Including the preparations for this meeting, I prioritized my works in Japan and did not travel to the U.S. to attend E3. As a representative of our board of directors who attended E3 this year, I would like to ask Mr. Miyamoto to talk about it. There will be a video that I would like to show afterward.
Shigeru Miyamoto (Senior Managing Director and General Manager of Entertainment Analysis & Development Division):
E3 is the annual industry trade show that is usually held around May or June in the U.S. It is true that E3 has the aspect that the shareholder just mentioned. It actually started as a trade show for the U.S. market, and due to the spread of the Internet, the information dispatched at E3 spread around the world. Nintendo views E3 as not only an industry trade show in the U.S. but also as an occasion with which the entire Nintendo group should be involved.
For this year’s E3 in particular, Nintendo focused on the products that are significant for our doing business in the U.S. this year. However, depending on the year, we focus on not only the software that will be released immediately after E3 or right after the turn of the year but also the products that will be released much later or experimental demos to showcase future possibilities. For example, during last year’s E3, we highlighted some of our experimental software to demonstrate the unique attractions of the Wii U hardware because its appeal had not yet been sufficiently conveyed. Because compared to last year, we now see people in the U.S. are gradually realizing the compelling nature of Wii U hardware, we decided to showcase a number of products scheduled to be released that will have a direct effect on our business in the near term. On the first day of E3, Nintendo aired its online video presentation “Nintendo Digital Event” and introduced to the viewers software that the company would showcase at our E3 booth. Since we mainly included the software that would be released before the end of this year, the entire software lineup appeared to be small. And because we did not include a number of third-party titles, we must’ve ended up giving people the impression that not so many titles will be released on our platforms in future. As for future titles, since we only introduced the software to be sold early next year, we acknowledge the criticism from our fans that we failed to excite them with new proposals. On the other hand, when we looked at our booth at E3 this year, I had a solid feeling that our trade customers appreciated the very fact that they were able to play the software which soon would be released into the market and that many of them were Nintendo-like software titles. Other than Nintendo, the major hardware manufacturers, Sony and Microsoft, also had booths, and I got the general impression that they were showcasing not only the products for this year but also many products for next year or the year after and, because of that, introductions for many of their software titles were done visually, not with playable demos. Also, many demonstrations for virtual reality devices have been conducted at recent trade shows, and at this year’s E3, I noticed a number of dream-like demonstrations for which the schedule and format for commercialization are unknown. The current software for these virtual reality devices cannot be played simultaneously by a number of people, and since it is generally expected that the development for the applicable software for a high-performance device will take two to three years, there were a number of visual demonstrations for virtual reality devices. Amid this atmosphere, because the visitors to our booth were able to pick up the controllers and try out the playable software, I believe they were able to appreciate, among other things, our focus that Wii U is a home video game system that we would like people to enjoy in their living rooms. I have participated in a number of media interviews, and the comments from reporters also attest this impression.
We recognize that we have let down a number of the online viewers of this year’s E3, especially the avid Nintendo fans, because we did not show what they had expected. On the other hand, since E3 was originally a U.S. trade show, when we consider what kind of messages we should dispatch and in what fashion, while we have to take into consideration the impression that we may give to people outside the U.S., we have been very mindful about how we can maximize our immediate business in the U.S. this year. While it is not so often reported in Japan and may not be possible to correctly convey everything we did at E3 this year, here is a video that I would like you to watch.
(While showing the video) This is the footage from the E3 show floor. E3 takes place at a venue called the Los Angeles Convention Center, which you may want to compare with Makuhari Messe in Japan, and this is Nintendo’s booth. One thing I should say about Nintendo’s E3 booth is that, unlike the other booths in general, most of the visitors to our booth were smiling and actually picking up the controllers and playing with our games. So, this was one big difference because a number of the visitors to other booths appeared to have spent a lot of time just watching game videos. Other than these show floor activities, Nintendo did not hold a press conference this year, but we did air our “Nintendo Digital Event” Internet program, and even before the Digital Event, we aired another video presentation to announce the new content of “Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS/Wii U.” We also broadcast our event titled “Nintendo World Championships 2015” live via the Internet. This event used several Nintendo game software titles to decide the world’s most skillful player. There was a lot of excitement from the visitors and the contenders. So, we listen sincerely to the voices of fans who were not happy about the announcements we made in the online Digital Event, and we will have to make further efforts to improve. But when it comes to the reactions to our E3 activities overall, the reactions from trade customers and the media were not that unfavorable. I hope you will understand it.
Once again, about the reason why at E3 this year we focused on the titles that will be released in the near future, as Mr. Miyamoto just said, which points we should focus on at E3 change every year depending on the development status of each product and future deployment schedule. When we think it necessary to discuss future products even if the release timing is yet to be determined, we may do so without being able to discuss the details, and when we have more concrete proposals on the products to be released in the near future, we will try to explain the appeal of that product as best as we can. Since we determine our E3 theme each year, you might have had quite a different impression this year in comparison to last year. We are listening to people’s opinions and we will try to improve next year and beyond.