The lights are on
Nintendo recently published a large Q and A posting on its website where stockholders were able to direct questions at the company's president Saturo Iwata and Shigeru Miyamoto. The questionnaire discusses everything from the Virtual Boy, to the food served in Nintendo's cafeteria, and the state of the Wii Vitality Sensor.
In response to Nintendo's somewhat limited E3 presence, Nintendo promised more unannounced games, and spoke of the unexpected development manpower necessary for current-gen game creation:
At the start of the E3 show this year, we announced our Wii U software lineup until 2014 mainly through Nintendo Direct, rather than holding a large-scale presentation as we did in previous years. However, we did not announce all of the games to be released during this period.
When it comes to the scale of software development, Wii U with HD graphics requires about twice the human resources than before. Please allow me to explain that we may have underestimated the scale of this change and as a result, the overall software development took more time than originally anticipated just as we tried to polish the software at the completion phase of development. However, we are almost out of this phase, and we are also trying to create something unique utilizing an easier development approach called “Nintendo Web Framework.”
Miyamoto also addressed criticisms of Nintendo never creating anything new:
It is sometimes said that Nintendo has recently had no new franchises. At E3 this year, some said that Nintendo is always showing the same series of games, but this is because we mainly featured the characters from our franchises in our exhibition booth. There were six featured areas of our franchises in our booth, including Zelda, Mario and Donkey Kong, and the visitors were able to take commemorative photos with these characters. Considering that visitors will not enjoy less well-known franchises in such areas, we did it in this way, which resulted in such a criticism, I think.
One of Nintendo's investors asked about the possibility of Virtual Boy games appearing in the 3DS Virtual Console. Iwata didn't offer anything concrete, but he did offer some hope for people interested in playing Virtual Boy games on their 3DS:
I cannot talk about any unannounced products on occasions like this, but Virtual Boy is a game console Nintendo launched in the past that allows players to experience a 3D world in black and red only by just looking into it. It was not a commercial success, but some say that it was an attractive and extremely unique product by the standards at that time. I believe your comment is that we should take advantage of our software assets from Virtual Boy and I would like to take note of that advice for the future.
Nintendo addressed the disappearance of the Wii's Vitality Sensor. You may assume the device has disappeared into obscurity due to lack of consumer interest, but it actually has to do with the device only working for approximately 90% of users. Iwata does not feel comfortably releasing a product that does not work universally, so the devices future is in question:
After a large-scale test of a prototype inside the company, we found out that for some people the sensor did not work as expected. We wondered if we should commercialize a product which works as expected for 90 people out of 100, but not so for the other 10 people. Though I am sorry that we did not give any specific updates after this product’s initial announcement, I would say that knowing that a product has a problem we should not launch it for the sole reason that we have already announced it.
In any case, its launch has been pending because we decided that the Wii Vitality Sensor’s current result is insufficient as a commercial product.
One investor asked about rumors of Nintendo's cafeteria being sub-par:
As for our company cafeteria, we regularly hear the same opinion when we gather feedback from employees. However, opinions vary considerably by individual and not all the employees agree with this. Still I examine such an opinion as an issue of the company because we receive such feedback constantly. Thank you.
Iwata also addressed why Nintendo has not laid off any employees, despite mediocre sales numbers:
If we reduce the number of employees for better short-term financial results, however, employee morale will decrease, and I sincerely doubt employees who fear that they may be laid off will be able to develop software titles that could impress people around the world.
The quotes featured here do not address all of the questions asked by investors. You can check out the full questionnaire by heading here.
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