Nintendo Addresses Wii U Game Delays, System Power
Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has explained the reason for recent Wii U game delays, plus addressed concerns about the system’s power. During an investor Q&A, Iwata was asked by a concerned investor if other titles could be delayed in the same way Pikmin 3 was.
We decided to take time to add the final touches to ensure that consumers fully feel that they are valuable titles.
“The reason for the delayed release of our first-party titles was the fact that completing the games released at the same time as the launch of Wii U required more development resources than expected, so some staff members from development teams working on other titles had to help complete them,” Iwata answered. “In short, the development teams of Pikmin 3 and other future games were understaffed during that period. We do not simply have one easily identifiable bottleneck in software development.”
Elsewhere in the Q&A, Iwata addressed the current lack of Wii U titles, explaining “we originally planned to release a few first-party titles for Wii U during the first half of this year, but no big titles are scheduled for release before Pikmin 3 in July [August in North America] because we decided to take time to add the final touches to ensure that consumers fully feel that they are valuable titles. The brand of a franchise would be completely degraded without customer satisfaction. This is why we delayed the release schedule of such games.”
Iwata explained that “these days it is becoming increasingly challenging to determine the minimum development resources required for customer satisfaction. The point I am trying to get across is that currently it is more challenging to sell packaged software for around $50-$60. On the other hand, we can offer digital games in other formats.”
It is a fact that some software development companies assume that Wii U is not powerful enough.
“It is true that it is becoming increasingly challenging to meet the expectations of consumers who are willing to pay $50-$60 for a game,” he continued, “and it is difficult to break even unless a huge number of units is sold all over the world, so it cannot be denied that software development is becoming more challenging. Among such packaged software, however, the sales of popular games are much larger than in the past. Therefore, if we create more hit games, the software development business can still be very profitable. All games break even if they sell millions of copies worldwide, so we will continue to do our best to develop games which have high sales potential.”
Iwata added that Nintendo is hoping to “expand the range of software developers for Wii U,” pointing to support for the Unity engine and the Nintendo Web Framework as new avenues for development (pointing to Google’s Wii Street U as an example of the latter). “We believe there will be something novel and fascinating from their development work, thereby expanding the range of the software available for Wii U,” he said.
Finally, Iwata addressed the perception that some developers feel the Wii U lacks the power of other consoles.
“It is a fact that some software development companies assume that Wii U is not powerful enough,” Iwata said. “On the contrary, some developers say in interviews that Wii U has a different architecture from other consoles and that, when utilized in the right way, it can perform well.”
“At the moment, there is a great deal of contradictory information,” he added. “Nintendo is required to make more efforts to dispel such a misconception. In fact, some software companies are actively supporting Wii U and others are not. It is important to have supportive companies enjoy successful sales of a game and feel that their decision to develop something for Wii U was correct. We understand that this cannot possibly be achieved overnight and it may sound unconvincing under the current slow sales of Wii U. We would like to work to revitalize the Wii U market and show you favorable results for third-party software from this summer.”
Andrew Goldfarb is IGN’s news editor. Keep up with pictures of the latest food he’s been eating by following @garfep on Twitter or garfep on IGN.