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.

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Discussion

772 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...

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"

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.

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

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.

Robis Bobis
Robis Bobis

consoles is for brainless people only

Lord_Python1049
Lord_Python1049

How is this news? Of course NIntendo make games, not art. All their games are games. If they wanted to make art, they wouldn't be making Mario games, instead would be making a personal story about a boy with cancer (terrible example, but you get the point). But art is up for each to decide. I've decided that many Nintendo games are art, like Gabe Newell who considered Mario64 as proof that games can be art.

Xplode_77
Xplode_77

Even though they aren't planning on making art, they've made a ton of it. They just released Pikmin 3 and that game looks like a freaking painting art thingy of art. specifically.

Jacob Leyva
Jacob Leyva

So, in other words, "we are not thatgamecompany."

epichotcheese
epichotcheese

Nintendo - We make money, not games or art. Let's ban all "Let's Play" videos on YouTube then we will ask all 3rd party developers to go away. Yes, the Wii U will still sell like hot cakes. Ready for more Mario?! We don't care because we are making another one anyway.

Alex Eddy
Alex Eddy

Shows you how out of touch the CEO's and people leading Nintendo really are.

corrus
corrus

Here this means fun game

www.youtube.com/watch?v=KNDUthcHpjo



corrus
corrus

Stop with BS Iwata

Real Bukka
Real Bukka

Cristian it's funny how you said that, but your profile pic dont justify your argument. Outta here Wanabee troll

dummpymonkey123
dummpymonkey123

He's basically saying that for Nintendo priority of creating a game isn't making it look pretty but rather make an incredibly fun experience thing gamers are selfish we want both lol

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. 

GSJones1994
GSJones1994

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

megakick
megakick

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

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.

PlasmaBeam44
PlasmaBeam44

@Robis Bobis Facebook is for brainless people only.

corrus
corrus

@Robis Bobis You're crazy dude

DeanTheJinn
DeanTheJinn

@Robis Bobis of course you're highness

megafitch
megafitch

@Robis Bobis "consoles is for brainless people only"

You sound like you've already had a lobotomy.


Grade A Potato.

abHS4L88
abHS4L88

@epichotcheese 

When did they tell 3rd parties to go away? Also they never banned the "Let's Play" videos and it's been stated that they're no longer collecting the money that the "Let's Play" videos generate. Yes I'm ready for more Mario, but more so than that, I'm ready for some Pikmin 3, Smash Brothers, The Wonderful 101, Bayonetta 2 and "X." Try again. 

zeldafan195
zeldafan195

@Alex Eddy It actually shows how out of touch the gaming community is. Why do you think terrible games like COD are selling so well while few people have even heard of fire emblem.

abHS4L88
abHS4L88

@Alex Eddy 

Oh really? Focusing more on what makes a game fun as opposed to focusing on the more shallow aspects of a game? Yes creating a beautiful world is very important, but only if it serves to immerse you more into a great game you're playing. 

Comments like yours shows how low the level of reading comprehension the general public possesses. 

abHS4L88
abHS4L88

@dummpymonkey123  

Thankfully Nintendo still makes their games look damn good. I mean, even NintendoLand, which is supposed to be like a tech demo of the Wii U's capabilities, looks amazing. 

orthodox1976
orthodox1976

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

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.)

Nintyfan95
Nintyfan95

@abHS4L88 @epichotcheese More Mario is what they need, they haven't establish themselves with neither the core, or the casual, they drifited away both of those audiences. So yeah unless there are more than 3 million Nintendo fans.......well those games might have a hard time flying off shelves.  

Vodoo
Vodoo

@abHS4L88 But they haven't been releasing great games for the last few years. Mario just sucks now. I don't even have a Wii U and I'm sick of Mario. They have 2 great remaining franchises left, Zelda & Metroid. The Wind Waker remake is just a cash grab on Nintendo's part. They're hoping that people see Zelda and buy the system. 


19James89
19James89

@abHS4L88 It is amazing, it shows the World that the Wii U GamePad is more than a gimmick. 

It's what I call Future-TEK.

zeldafan195
zeldafan195

@Vodoo @abHS4L88 Did you see the 3ds releases this year???? Fire Emblem Awakening, Luigis mansion, Animal Crossing, Mario & Luigi Dream Team, Monter Hunter 3, and Shin Megami Tensei IV. Those all were released this year. The 3DS is selling like crazy, and that's without a pokemon or zelda game. 

abHS4L88
abHS4L88

@Vodoo

That's your opinion, 2010 was an amazing year for Nintendo on both the Wii and DS, 2011 was a bit weak, with Kirby's Return to Dreamland and Skyward Sword being the only notable releases on the Wii, 2012 was very strong for the 3DS and this year has been insane for the 3DS and has a good line up of Wii U games coming. 

They still have plenty of amazing franchises, aside from Mario and the two you listed, there's also Pikmin, Kirby, Donkey Kong, Pokemon, Fire Emblem, Advance Wars, Golden Sun, Xenoblade, Luigi's Mansion, Animal Crossing and Smash Brothers. 

If Windwaker HD is a cash grab, then every remake/rerelease is a cash grab. 

Just remember, just because YOU don't like something, doesn't mean the rest of the world agrees with you. Nintendo's games have still be critically well received for the most part.