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Reggie: 3DS for DS and PSP crowd, HD not big enough leap for next console, hypes up new online plans, much more

Posted on June 22, 2010 by (@NE_Brian) in 3DS, DS, News, Wii

Reggie on competing technologies…

“You know, candidly, my personal reaction to what our competitors are doing is meaningless. In the end, the consumer is going to vote with their time, and the consumer is going to vote with their wallets and pocketbooks as to which products and experiences are the most compelling. From that standpoint we’re confident that the consumer will continue to choose Nintendo not only from a home console standpoint but also from a handheld standpoint. In terms of what’s providing the most compelling experiences, the best value in terms of what you get for what you pay, and certainly the multiple lines around our booth would seem to suggest that that should be true.”

Reggie on any interest in 3D console gaming…

“You know, the reason we focused on 3D in a handheld is because, first, we could control the experience, meaning the screen is part of the device. We provide a way for the consumer to individually tune into that experience with the depth slider on the side. And for us that’s the best way to bring a 3D experience to the consumer today. In the future, when there are set standards for 3D television sets, when the prices for those sets come down to reasonable levels, certainly there may be a 3D experience in the home, but then the last hurdle will always be the glasses. And you know $125, $150 a pop, which is what they’re running today, for a family of four on top of everything else, that’s a huge commitment. So, there are a lot of open questions in our view as to whether 3D in the home is going to be the same type of “wow” that 3D in the hand is.”

Reggie on why we haven’t heard launch details/pricing…

“Well, the reason we haven’t announced a launch date or pricing is that, first, we wanted to get reaction here. Secondly, we’ll be making individual market decisions in terms of what’s happening in Japan, what’s happening in the Americas, what’s happening in Europe. The one thing, for sure, is that we will launch in all of our major markets by March 31, 2011.”

Reggie on whether the 3DS is more of a hardcore/mature push…

“Well, first, to correct a misperception, you can’t sell over 120 million devices across the world by only focusing on a ‘kiddie’ market. So, the Nintendo DS is a very broad machine, enjoyed by, yes, consumers who are seven years old, as well as consumers who are ninety-seven years old. The way I would describe the market for the Nintendo 3DS would be the launch market that we had with the Nintendo DS plus the launch market that maybe PSP had. And the reason I frame it that way is we will attract all the Nintendo fans and all the Nintendo early adopters with products like Kid Icarus, and then we’ll incrementally add the consumer who loves Metal Gear, or the consumer who loves Resident Evil. That’s why in my view ‘DS plus’ is a probably a better way to think about what the addressable market is.”

Reggie on what he’s heard from retail/publishing partners…

“Well, what all of our partners have been saying is, first, the Nintendo 3DS delivers on its proposition and delivers in a big way. If I had a dollar for every ‘wow’ I heard in one of our partner meetings, I’d be a very, very wealthy man. The fact of the matter is that in addition to the Nintendo 3DS, we’re also getting very positive comments on Zelda, on Kirby, on Donkey Kong Country Returns. We’ve had fantastic receptions to Epic Mickey, as well as Goldeneye. So, essentially, what our retail partners and all our business partners are essentially saying is, “Look, how do we get even closer to you both in the near term, coming into this holiday, as well as over the next number of years, because in our view Nintendo is going to be continuing to drive the industry?”

Reggie on whether the Wii will be upgraded to HD in the future…

“You know, the Nintendo 3DS is a perfect example of our design philosophy, and that is we create next systems when we have great game ideas that can’t be executed with the current system. That’s when we make the leap. And candidly, in our view, simply taking a game and making it HD is not a significant leap. And candidly, if you look at the marketplace, the consumer has voted with their wallets and pocketbooks that HD games by themselves are not a ‘wow.’ We continue to reinforce that the next home console for Nintendo will not be simply be an HD upgrade. It will fundamentally do so much more, because that is our philosophy in how we bring new products to market.”

Reggie on the Wii’s remaining lifecycle…

“So, let me answer it this way. In the U.S., our benchmark is the PS2 performance. Why? Because it’s the best that’s ever been done. And I give the team at Sony and PlayStation a lot of respect for what they accomplished on the PS2, but the fact of the matter is after our third calendar year on the marketplace, the Wii was progressing at a pace 1.7 million units faster, more sales. By the end of last year, the fourth calendar year, that gap had widened to almost five million units; five million unit faster pace. And so how much more life does the Wii have? In our view, it has a lot more life, and it’s going to be driven by products like Donkey Kong Country Returns, and Zelda, and other products that we have yet to even share with people that we know will be coming out in the years to come. So, we see a continued very strong pace for the Wii.”

Reggie responding to a remark that the competition now have motion controls and HD…

“You know, what I find disappointing in what you’ve highlighted is that it seems like publishers really haven’t learned much in the four years plus that we’re in this current cycle, and it’s that technology, by itself, doesn’t matter. It just doesn’t matter. It has to be about the experience, and if you look at the games that have sold in massive quantities in this generation, they’ve delivered fantastic experiences. Kudos to Activision [and] Call Of Duty. It was a fantastic experience that led to its phenomenal worldwide sales. Wii Fit and Wii Fit Plus are fantastic experiences. New Super Mario Bros. Wii is a fantastic experience. Wii Sports Resort is a fantastic experience. If all publishers are going to do is focus on is the technology, then unfortunately there will be continued tough times in this industry, at least for those companies.”

Reggie on Wii Fit competitors like Your Shape, other fitness games…

“First off, any of these titles that are on our platform, we want them to do exceptionally well. So we’re very pleased, for example, with Sports Active and how well EA has done with that title, and as long as they continue to bring great experiences to the consumer, I think they will do well. But, the risk is as products become “me too” and as products lack a defining element between them, again, I think that the consumer reception is going to be poor for those types of experiences.”

Reggie on the report that claimed Iwata said that Apple is the enemy of the future…

“…because those were not attributed quotes. You know, we’ve gone back to the reporter and challenged them as to where they got this information, because they never talked to him. These are reported quotes that never happened. The fact of the matter is, and Mr. Iwata and I are completely aligned on this, we compete for consumers’ time. And our challenge is to provide more compelling experiences for the consumer to invest their valuable time. And we look at it this way because every day the consumer has… every consumer has the same amount of time, and the time pressures are increasing for every consumer. To get one incremental minute of the consumer playing with the Nintendo 3DS or one incremental minute of the consumer playing with their Wii home console, that’s market share that matters, and looking at it from that way, we compete with a wide range of different companies. Not only the ones that you’ve mentioned, but we compete with magazines, we compete broadly with the internet, we compete with free games on the PC, we compete with a plethora of different experiences, and we have to be more compelling for the consumer to invest their time.”

Reggie on the surging iPhone business…

“You know, the fact of the matter is in this entertainment business, multiple companies can be doing well at the same time and that’s because there are a lot of different consumers out there looking to invest their entertainment time. In the end, they’ll do what they’re going to do. And, in the end, we have to continue to innovate and bring great experiences to the consumer.”

Reggie on Nintendo’s future online plans…

“Well, first, one of the things that I love about Nintendo is we constantly are reviewing our performance. I completely agree with you that the online… or let me state it more broadly, the digital area is an area where we can improve, and we’ve made a commitment to dramatically improve in that area. Now, what that looks like I can just about guarantee is unlike anything that our competitors have done to date. The reason for that is it wouldn’t be innovative, it wouldn’t be distinctive, and therefore, it wouldn’t be Nintendo. Our approach will be to enable the consumer to discover our digital content much more easily. Our focus will be to have a range of digital content that is compelling for the consumer. Our approach will be a digital business model where every participant is financially moving in a positive direction, and our approach will be to make the consumer say ‘wow’ in the end. That’s what we’re trying to do.”

Reggie on whether he was surprised to not see anything really new from the PSP…

“You know, I think to get into the PSP business, you need to talk to [SCEA CEO] Jack [Tretton]. All I can tell you is that NPD has put out data only through April so far. January through April, this year, Nintendo has growth on our DS family of products versus last year, and last year was a record year. And so, unfortunately for Jack, my priority is to dominate the handheld market, even more than we’ve done to date, and so we will continue to put pressure and drive our Nintendo DS business very aggressively because the bigger we can drive that base the even more effectively we’ll be able to launch the Nintendo 3DS.”

Reggie’s advice for getting into the games industry…

“Into the games industry as a developer, into the games industry as a marketer…You know, my strong counsel about people wanting to get into this business is, first, they need to recognize it’s a business. What I mean about that is there are a lot of people who are passionate players of games, but maybe aren’t as knowledgeable about the business side of it. By that, I mean you make a game, you invest time, money, and resources to make it, you invest more to market it, you need to price it at a point where your returns are larger than your costs. Pretty basic philosophy, but yet how many games make money? It’s a risky proposition. Whether you’re looking at it from the marketing side, from the development side, or from the operations side, you’ve got to recognize that this is a business. You’ve got to think about it as a business and then share those thoughts. If you have compelling thoughts, come visit us in Redmond. (Laughter)”

Reggie on the Vitality Sensor…

“We made a conscious decision recognizing the excitement this show generates and the excitement that our product lineup generated not to show the Vitality Sensor because inherently that product is about relaxation and getting in touch with your body and, you know, to take someone like yourself who’s running from interview to interview and it gets you to relax for thirty minutes before you’re even ready to participate in the game, we just didn’t think would be a great way to show it off. The product continues very well with its development, and we will showcase it; we’ll do it at a very unique event. We just didn’t want to have it be here in an environment where it really wouldn’t be best displayed. What I can tell you is when we’re ready to show you, we’ll show you.”

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