Iwata: Nintendo makes games, not art

Nintendo president Satoru Iwata believes it can right current poor Wii U performance by making games that resonate strongly with players.

Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has explained why the company focuses on making games, rather than art, in a three-part interview with Toyo Keizai Online, as reported by Kotaku.

Iwata began by restating the Wii U’s current place in the games market, acknowledging that while the system hasn't yet seen the mass adoption the company had hoped for, and that software support has been limited, Nintendo believes it can remedy the situation.

"It's difficult to say 'the Wii U is a system that does such and such' in a simple manner, and understanding it takes time." Iwata said. "While we unfortunately had a period in the first half of 2013 where releases were sparse and hardware sales have lulled, I don't think that the concept and potential of the Wii U have been rejected."

The Nintendo president believes the key to turning around the troubled Wii U is to focus not on making games into art, but rather on creating games that strike strong chords with the audience.

"Nintendo developers are extremely insatiable when it comes to whether what they make resonates with customers or not. They'll do anything to achieve it." Iwata said. "Both Miyamoto [Shigeru] and I repeatedly say, 'It's not like we are making pieces of art, the point is to make a product that resonates with and is accepted by customers'."

Iwata went on, saying, "Creating is like an expression of egoism. People with a strong energy to create something have a 'this is the strength I believe is right' sort of confidence to start from. Their standpoint is that 'this is the right thing to do, so this must be what's good for the customer, as well.' But the final goal of a product is to resonate with and be accepted by people. You can't just force your way through. By saying 'the point is to be accepted', I mean, if you go to a customer with your idea and you realise they don't understand it, it's more important that they do, and you should shift your idea."

While Nintendo’s Wii hardware recently celebrated passing 100 million units sold, its more recent counterpart the Wii U managed to shift just 160,000 units worldwide during the April-June quarter, taking the struggling system’s lifetime sales to 3.61 million units.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Did you enjoy this article?

Sign In to Upvote

751 comments
Nintyfan95
Nintyfan95

Nintendo makes ports not art is probably what they meant to say. 

SKErwin
SKErwin

Iwata crying again...what's new today?

vault-boy
vault-boy

Its shocking to see how few people know what art means.

Enforcer246
Enforcer246

Everyone knows that as soon as the Wii U gets completely hacked it'll sell more.

orthodox1976
orthodox1976

C'mon Nintendo, you want to "turn the Wii-U around"? You know exactly what you have to do: Release a damn ZELDA and METROID!

Shiat...

orthodox1976
orthodox1976

@Nintyfan95 The opinion of ONE person... It's all good, nobody says you have to like it. I completely disagree with you.

deviant74
deviant74

South Park makes a lot of money and there is almost no art in it at all.  We want to make all our games like South Park.  Ok, let's fuck some chickens while our anal probe is sticking out of our ass.  I put what Iwata said into my culture translator and that is what it said, he said. 

frylock1987
frylock1987

correction

"Nintendo makes sub-par games with sub-par hardware"

GSJones1994
GSJones1994

@frylock1987 ^^^^Possibly another case of a Sony fanboy spewing lies around just to try and get a point across.

abHS4L88
abHS4L88

@frylock1987 

True if "sub-par" means high quality that appeals to millions of people, because that's usually the result of Nintendo's software and even their hardware. 

bionickraken49
bionickraken49

Did anybody even read this right? Iwata said that they aren't going to focus on making artistic games until the Wii U sells more. He didn't say that they were going to stop making artistic games.

megakick
megakick

@bionickraken49 They don't have any artsy hipster games... So they are going to lower the graphics more?

bionickraken49
bionickraken49

@megakick @bionickraken49 They don't? (Hotel Dusk:, Mother series, X Scape, Fire Emblem series, Trace Memory, Startropics, Battle Clash, Custom Robo, Sin and Punishment, Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem, Chibi Robo, Odama, Xenoblade, The Last Story, Drill Dozer, etc.)

Hurvl
Hurvl

Art is good, but it isn't profitable. If you say you're making an art film, almost anyone would assume that you're not looking to make any serious money off it. It'll probably have a very low budget, low theater count and low ticket sales. Games can be art, but games are first and foremost just games, something to play with. Games are the most expensive form of entertainment when it comes to pricing and sometimes production compared to movies. It's only logical that you try to make something that will have a wide audience.

corrus
corrus

Actually for some people everything is art

Hurvl
Hurvl

@TheOmegaForce70 There is bad art and there are bad games, so it's a moot point really. Some games are art, as in having certain qualities, but most isn't, just like with every cultural expression.

genjuroT
genjuroT

"Nintendo developers are extremely insatiable when it comes to whether what they make resonates with customers or not. They'll do anything to achieve it."

Focus group game developing...They can't make a game from their hearts anymore? Shame.

genjuroT
genjuroT

According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, "Danto's definition has been glossed as follows: something is a work of art if and only if (i) it has a subject (ii) about which it projects some attitude or point of view (has a style)(iii) by means of rhetorical ellipsis (usually metaphorical) which ellipsis engages audience participation in filling in what is missing, and (iv) where the work in question and the interpretations thereof require an art historical context.

I think even the Mario series would constitute as art.

BradBurns
BradBurns

I still think that their games are art. 


Simply art that is meant to make people happy, as opposed to being reflective. (Well, Some are reflective)


Plus it isn't like Nintendo is known for being stubborn to the point of absurdity when creating games or anything, no sir, not Nintendo. Artists are the stubborn ones, not Nintendo.


Where is that first person shooter again, Nintendo? Surely if all you cared about was pleasing the masses you would have created one already.