Iwata on 'The End of Indifference to Games'

Nintendo president cites number of DS users per household as a sure sign that game players are sitting up and taking notice.

At a keynote speech at the 2003 Tokyo Game Show, current Nintendo president Satoru Iwata expressed his concern that games were becoming too complicated and could alienate the nongaming crowd. He then stated that it was his company's goal of expanding the population of gamers.

Now, Nikkei BP's TechOn Web site reports that during Iwata's presentation at the Japanese Wii preview event last week, he said Nintendo had stepped closer to achieving that goal. Tellingly, Iwata's presentation was titled "Datsu Gemu Banare," or "The End of Indifference to Games."

As an indicator of the market's health, Iwata cited the number of game users per household in light of the Nintendo DS's popularity. Console game machine users usually number between 2.2 and 2.8 users per household. By contrast, the Nintendo DS is used by three people on average per home--on other handhelds, this figure is 2.0 per household. Iwata speculated that "adjusting for single-person households, there are probably households of four or more in which everyone plays the DS."

Using figures from Media Create, Iwata showed how the DS has risen from a minority 16.8 percent share of the game market in 2005 to a 57.8 percent share in 2006. However, Iwata said the next big challenge for Nintendo will be putting Wiis in living rooms. "The popularity of the DS does not 100 percent guarantee that the Wii will be popular," Iwata admitted.

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154 comments
jingwa
jingwa

Having great gameplay with good graphics would be nice, only prob just when everyone is getting used to what they can do graphically and start focuing more time on gameplay, something new comes out and its back to how can we use that? and oh my thats going to take some time to implement and so we get good graphics average gameplay or even worse. Perhaps when technology has arived at the point it simply cant advance much further and maybe after "X" amount of software has been made to automate and speed up development time, we will finally see games with 10/10 graphics and 10/10 gameplay....but for the meantime nintendo are the most reliable source for gameplay, i cant say any other game consoles has kept me playing for more then 1 day, besides nintendo's that is.

getoconnection
getoconnection

Take your pick, The sixth sense or 13 ghost, the haunting or the others? Better yet, Matrix 2+3 or Empire strikes back? All these movies are the same price.

VegetaMaelstrom
VegetaMaelstrom

I don't think I would pay $50 for a whole new Zork text based adventure or a Pac-Man game that had the original graphics but 30 new levels. I have come to expect a more immersive experience when I play and good graphics help in that regard. A great game with poor graphics is still better than a shoddy game with all the bells and whistles but I don't think it is wrong to expect both. Would I buy a new 2D NES graphics capable Mario side-scroller? You bet. For maybe $20. That is why these old school collections from Capcom and Namco and Atari pack about 20 games into each CD/DVD because nobody will pay full price for any single one of those games anymore. They are still fun but games have evolved in many regards and they will continue to evolve. If the 360 tried to charge $60 for Street Fighter 2 on Live Arcade I'm willing to bet they would have sold maybe one quarter to one half of what they have now at $15. Superb gameplay but a bit dated otherwise. I guess it all comes down to opinion. You are willing to pay full price for gameplay over graphics while I am looking for a more complete package. To each his own.

getoconnection
getoconnection

In fact we have been paying the same price for gameboy games for years. (BTW graphics did nothing for nintendo as the have gotten thrashed by Sony for 2 straight cycles even though their machines were technically more inclined.)

getoconnection
getoconnection

If it were a whole new game wouldn't you? We do it all day on gameboy advance. Wario Ware anyone?

getoconnection
getoconnection

Which did you have more fun playing, technically inferior RE4 or Halo 2? Don’t kid yourself; there is a huge market for retro games. Not because of the graphics but because of the game play. Yes graphics do play A HUGE role in how games are visually expressed but time and time again videogame history reads game play is always king. Nintendo has proven this time and time again. So to answer your question would I pay 50 bucks to play a brand spankin new 2d side scrolling Mario or yoshi game…? Yesssirrr.

VegetaMaelstrom
VegetaMaelstrom

tykettovz: "The obsession with graphics shows the state of video gaming today, IMO. Graphics are not the beat-all end-all. The original Nintendo sold so much because of its games. Same can be said of the Genesis. Hell, why do the game compilations still sell well from the early days of video gaming? Because Pac Man or Galaga or Defender are STILL great games, no matter how they look. Hell, Atari 2600 has games that still hold up (Solaris and Missile Command anyone?)Graphics mean nothing." . You are right, graphics aren't everything. But they are a significant part of what games have evolved into over the years. Graphics, gameplay, story, sound effects, controls, etc all contribute to what a game is and what it evokes from the player. To say "graphics mean nothing" like you did is just as ridiculous as saying that graphics are everything. If you mean that the lesser graphics of the Wii are offset by the possible increase in immersive gameplay then I can see your point. You mentioned Defender as a game with good gameplay but poor graphics by todays standards. Would you pay $50 (expected cost of Wii games) for Defender if it was controlled with the Wiimote? I seriously doubt it. Maybe for $10 or so. The reason is that like it or not, graphics are a big part of what games have become and if they aren't at a certain level then it takes away from the amount of enjoyment that can be had from a gaming experience. The Wii could have respectable graphics but from my perspective, after having played the 360, I may find Nintendo's games a bit jarring on the eyes at first until I get into the groove of things. . tykettovz: "That gamers are bashing the system before even trying it is pathetic. If you really care about video games, you should be embracing innovation." . I agree. I hate it when lemmings and sheep bash the PS3 when none of them have played one. It is truly pathetic. I am currently embracing the innovation of better graphics on the 360 and will on the PS3 as well. I am prepared to also embrace the innovation of more immersive controls which the Wii promises to do. tykettovz I don't think you should praise the Wii for being innovative in one area (controls) while slamming the other consoles for being innovative in other areas (graphics). They both can elevate the gaming experience from the previous generation, just in different ways.

UberHuman
UberHuman

Households with everyone being a DS player? Where the hell are these households? Maybe in Japan, but I certainly don't know any families where all family members share the same taste in entertainment. Especially Video Games. I'd feel REALLY awkward if I came home one day and my parents were playing games. (Then again, they're afraid to even try chinese food, so I'd be shocked with just about any change to their routine.)

brantothehizzam
brantothehizzam

tykettovz you are freakin great paragraph its all so true

tykettovz
tykettovz

The obsession with graphics shows the state of video gaming today, IMO. Graphics are not the beat-all end-all. 3DO flopped miserably, despite having superb graphics for the time. Neo-Geo, same thing. The original Nintendo sold so much because of its games. Same can be said of the Genesis. Hell, why do the game compilations still sell well from the early days of video gaming? Because Pac Man or Galaga or Defender are STILL great games, no matter how they look. Hell, Atari 2600 has games that still hold up (Solaris and Missile Command anyone?) The Wii is tapping into the market DS is apparently picking up: People who either used to love video games and have been turned off by the mediocrity of current systems (albeit, with pretty graphics), or people who have never really been into video games. Those who don't see the potential there are fooling themselves. The majority of people out there would never pay $600 for a game system, even if it does have magical "Blu Ray" in it. Graphics mean nothing. Innovation does. Wii is innovative from what I can tell. My wife even said it sounded interesting. Speaking of my wife, she's the perfect example for Wii's market. She never played video games until I bought Animal Crossing. Now she's addicted to it and has consistently played it since December. She's even looked at the DS because of Animal Crossing on there. THAT'S the market Nintendo is getting, and it far outnumbers hardcore gamers bickering over polygon counts between 360 and PS3. That gamers are bashing the system before even trying it is pathetic. If you really care about video games, you should be embracing innovation.

xeidog69
xeidog69

a bunch of you r idiots, no offense, sure specwise the wiis hardware is a bit dated, yet it isnt old at all, in fact everything has been microsized, which in short means they took an older processor and reconstructed it from the ground up to be far far smaller in size and it now uses far less power, sorry to say but microprocessors are not exactly cheap at first... I mean lets look at the coast of a desktop pc and say a laptop with similar specs, notice the large price differance there, ok nuff said... I personally am loving nintendo right now and I can almost say that it looks as tho they really will be slamming a newer more powerful console on our laps withen a period of less then five years.. they will milk the cash cow now because wii will be hot, then say bamm and close any major power differances betweeen it and its competition.. wii 2 will appear and borrow all the excellent traits of the original yet itll have a better newer processor that is more then comperable to the comp.. nintendo is not a dumb company and ppl shoul give them some credit...

ApisBee
ApisBee

So am I reading into this correctly? Is Nintendo planning to brake into the solitaire crowd of card players… Are you telling us ex-Pong player to take a back seat and settle for more mindless games. Come on, give us some content.

_Sam_
_Sam_

well I don't have a DS :P

Dualmask
Dualmask

Everyone in my household except for my one year old son plays my DS Lite. The article sounds about right to me.

casinater
casinater

Nintendo rocks and Iwata will lead us to video game dominance! NINTENDO FOREVER !!!!!!!!

rouguesquadron
rouguesquadron

I wasn't sure that Iwata was a good choice when he became President of Nintendo, but he's turning the company around and I believe that they will soon be on the top of the gaming market once again. LONG LIVE NINTENDO!!!

japanesegoth
japanesegoth

" Iwata admitted. 'The popularity of the DS does not 100 percent guarantee that the Wii will be popular,' Iwata admitted. " hmm...well at least he's not over -confident like kutaragi. actually...kutaragi is just in denial. he knows the PS3 will not do near as well as he seems to think it will...they're just trying to push blu ray. i think that's a bigger concern to them than video games.

JackOfDiamond68
JackOfDiamond68

ive come to some contradictory evidence linksdeity, my lab results have concluded that sony fanboys do indeed love the DS, but are in such fear of its abilities that they are not worthy to touch one

Yan1978
Yan1978

The dude is right, great system for the casual crowd who have lives and other hobbies. The vintage gaming factor will snatch all the 25+ years old too, simply for the VC.

KazeKiryoku
KazeKiryoku

this is just an idea, but has anyone considered the possibility that maybe nintendo is asking $250 for the Wii because they want to make a ton of money for the gen after this? I mean, sooo many people are going to buy the Wii, and that number won't go down much just because it costs $250, so nintendo will make lots of profit... I think they're planning to make alot of money on the Wii, and then use it to make an AMAZING console next gen, with awesome graphics, etc. Just a theory. Anyway, I do think this 'end of indifference to games' idea is true, alot of people I know who were never interested in video games got a DS, and lots of them also know what a Wii is and are interested in it because of the cool gameplay. Non gamers don't care much for graphics, if they wanted that they'd watch a movie, with better graphics than any game could ever have.

jmac777
jmac777

Iwata~"The popularity of the DS does not 100 percent guarantee that the Wii will be popular," Iwata admitted Yes it does xD

whitemage23
whitemage23

"The only title that looks semi-decent, to me, is Red Steel, but not for $250. But for now, its going to be PS360." (Just asking) What launch title for the 360 and the PS3 make them worth the $400 and $600 dollars? "It should be $150 to remain competitive with Xbox360, but N puts the veil over consumer's eyes, make them pay for more than they should with gimmicks, and Reggie gets to boast about making $$$ from the get go because they are ripping you off from the start." Ripoff? NES = $200 with game. SNES = $200 with game. N64 = $200 no game. PS1 = $300 no game. PS2 = $300 no game. GC = $200 no game. XBOX = $300 no game. PS3 = $600 ?game. (probably not) 360 = $400 no game. Wii = $250 with game. I see at least 4 ripoffs

linksdeity
linksdeity

After years of study in a top secret lab, I've concluded that the only people who don't love the DS are Sony Fanboys.

Karjah
Karjah

I love how if it's not all flashy and new graphically people dismiss it as medicore. Video game systems should not have to cost more then 300 dollars to be fun and new. The Wiisanity breaking out right now only proves the concept that a lot of people feel that graphics are just fine right now and we want new gameplay. Look at the psp vs DS debate that went on. Ultimatly the new gameplay elements of the DS are far more enjoyable then anyting psp has put out. Thus you see a DS surge in sales. The 360 and ps3 are both NOT normal business practices and are NOT good for the industry becuase they repress inovation and push ploygons. Nintendo is trying to change that like they did back in the 1980s. Frankly the whole industry owes them a big thank you becuase without nintendo back then there would be no industry now. They are the oldest game producer to step up to the plate in the portable market and right now in the home market. Wii for me and thank you for making some game orginality for a change.

Mort_Rouge
Mort_Rouge

To those who consider the Wii hardware to be old technology: Yes, it's not as powerful as other consoles. But, for those who missed it, it is totally new in one way, and it's really cool that they keep the price down to 250 for this; The Wii is going to be able to be turned on 24/7. The Wii hardware is designed to draw little to none energy. When also taking in mind the price of the Wii console only, 250$ (Whole price) -30$ (Maybe even 20$, Wii Sports) -60$ (Whole controller set) = 160$ (Not counting in the cables and stuff, tough) When did you buy a computer that can dowload things in standby mode and play games with decent graphics for 160$? Just GET OVER the "bad" hardware stuff, please!

link3ri
link3ri

I don't think the controller may be an issue, Nintendo have proft that they do very good job regarding aspects such as gameplay, and well, the editors of this site had report on their previews of the games that the control feels very good, I think it will be companies responsability to make good use of it, so I think you guys don't have to be concerned about the controller

sinceps1
sinceps1

"rarson "It should be $150 to remain competitive with Xbox360, but N puts the veil over consumer's eyes, make them pay for more than they should with gimmicks, and Reggie gets to boast about making $$$ from the get go because they are ripping you off from the start." No, selling something for a profit is how businesses succeed. Apparently many of you people don't realize this. What Sony and MS are doing is NOT NORMAL for successful businesses! I have high hopes for the Wii, but it is all banking on the controller. Either the control scheme works great and the system is a success, or it turns out wonky and unreliable, in which case the system will be doomed. I have a feeling it might be somewhere in between; Nintendo tends to bank on stuff that work better than everyone imagines, but often times not quite as good as Nintendo themselves had imagined. Either way, there'll probably be a number of great titles for the Wii that'll make it worth owning, and the rest can be filled by the 360." Yes, what Sony and Microsoft are doing is ridiculous. Selling at a loss isn't exactly brilliant, especially if your system doesn't get immediate support... Then no one will buy your games etc and all you have to fall back on is what you have sold. The system. In time I think they will drop the price like they did with the DS. I think it might be a bit longer for wii though because they seem to have their system well polished with added features even like the browser and wii channels... Much like the ds picto chat should have been able to go online, now you can just start your messenger and chat. Brilliant, because now I don't have to be at the computer to do email or chat or do a search. And it will be so cool if flash is supported by the opera browser and there is video support. And Xboxsucks I wouldn't hold out on a PS3, they seem to be on their third cosole rut, (shortages, the whole 9 yards, bad branding....yes, and what for games?) sort of how Nintendo lost it after the N64. I think Nintendo might have turned things arround at this point though, and the game industry could finally change for the better.

zyphadeias
zyphadeias

Nintendo has always been the pioneer in the gaming industry. I never doubted any of their strengths, which is all about games, games and more GAMES. Change is inevitable in this world. I t seems that the Big N is the only one who's got the balls to change the face of our gaming world nowadays. I'd say.. Go Nintendo! Keep it up! Your the only one who's for innovation, new gameplay and new gaming experiences! If it weren't for Nintendo, our gaming days seems to be going down the gutter, nothing new all sequels with new graphics and particularly the same game.

rtransfi
rtransfi

XBOX sucks, what you may not understand is that people like us who make comments on an article in a videogame website are a vast minority. We are a niche crowd. The PlayStation 2 is the best-selling home console of all time at about 106 million, yet it is hardly anything when you add the populations of North America, Japan, Europe, and Australia together. Imagine what could happen if the videogame industry were to get additional sales from even a small percentage of the non-gaming crowd. Sure, the game industry gets more money in sales than that of the movie industry, but do movie tickets cost $50 a pop? It's quite sad that the game industry has been catering to a niche crowd for over 20 years when it should have had the balls to take a risk and try to reach the mainstream. Nintendo may not quite be catering to you, XBOX sucks, as well as most of us graphics-craving hardcore gamers, but the numbers don't lie about the success of the DS and its fast sales. There was a business strategy behind Nintendo not aligning the DS with the Game Boy legacy, and whether or not you think it's true, the portable system has been taking a small bite out of the mainstream crowd. It's hard to say whether or not the Nintendo and the Wii will reclaim the market share lead in the console wars, especially with the $250 launch price, but a $130-$150 DS has been able to do just fine. Remember that Nintendo is solely a game company and not a software or consumer electronics powerhouse that can rely on its sales in other markets to buoy the losses for every console sold. However, Nintendo deciding to bundle the US Wii with Wii Sports may just be a brilliant move. Consider what happened when the Game Boy was bundled with Tetris. The success of the Wii banks on whether or not the games can reach a level of gameplay that's addictive and easy to understand to the nongaming crowd -- whether or not the controller can provide a highly intuitive and friendly experience to many of its games. Still, the $250 price tag really isn't that bad for the whole package (console = $120-$150?, Wiimote+nunchuk = $60, Wii Sports = $20, sensor = $???).

rarson
rarson

"It should be $150 to remain competitive with Xbox360, but N puts the veil over consumer's eyes, make them pay for more than they should with gimmicks, and Reggie gets to boast about making $$$ from the get go because they are ripping you off from the start." No, selling something for a profit is how businesses succeed. Apparently many of you people don't realize this. What Sony and MS are doing is NOT NORMAL for successful businesses! I have high hopes for the Wii, but it is all banking on the controller. Either the control scheme works great and the system is a success, or it turns out wonky and unreliable, in which case the system will be doomed. I have a feeling it might be somewhere in between; Nintendo tends to bank on stuff that work better than everyone imagines, but often times not quite as good as Nintendo themselves had imagined. Either way, there'll probably be a number of great titles for the Wii that'll make it worth owning, and the rest can be filled by the 360.

SilentHillX
SilentHillX

'Nintendo president Satoru Iwata expressed his concern that games were becoming too complicated and could alienate the nongaming crowd.' Games that are alienating a non-gaming crowd? I mean cmon, am I the only one who finds that sentence ironically ascinine? Quit living in the past Satoru, maybe not all of us want to play the same old Mario we did 20 years ago, using just 2 buttons on the controller. I mean this aint even funny anymore, its just sad. Gerrrr I could go on forever about Nintendo and their fans, over that nostalgia laden bs they try to put out as games. And people wonder why Gamecube got no support, its pathetic. And now the Revolution (saying wii is somewhat distrubing) and its gimmicky hype (Im perfectly content sitting stationary on my couch with my HD, excersizing my thumbs with a controller, not my whole body with a remote) Only a matter of time before it loses its support, and sales, as well. Despite what you may think, from what I wrote, I have nothing against Nintendo, Its just I havnt been interested in playing a Nintendo system after 64 and I miss the good ol days when I could invite friends over to play killer Nintendo games like 007, PD, Winback, Turok, etc (Im just a 1st party Nintendo fan). And thats pretty much the point of my frustration with Nintendo at this point. Grow up and secure and develop some new IPs or garner some 3rd party support, and you'll happily get my money Nintendo. The only title that looks semi-decent, to me, is Red Steel, but not for $250. But for now, its going to be PS360. Sigh...cmon Nintendo, snap out of it and take my money already, its been 10 years!

NobuoMusicMaker
NobuoMusicMaker

Yes it is old technology. They're just using GC's specs with a slight upgrade. They didn't even want to release the detailed clock speed for cpu, gpu, and internal memory because they knew it would give the bad press. It should be $150 to remain competitive with Xbox360, but N puts the veil over consumer's eyes, make them pay for more than they should with gimmicks, and Reggie gets to boast about making $$$ from the get go because they are ripping you off from the start.

rarson
rarson

I've got like 8 consoles sitting around the house, so my wife isn't so excited about a new one. But I can't help getting excited about the Wii. I'm looking forward to a new game experience that won't drain my wallet so badly.

mr_squibble
mr_squibble

The more I hear about the Wii, the more excited I get. Nov. 19 is my birthday and I WILL be in line at the store (and it won't be Gamestop). Happy birthday to me!

rarson
rarson

jonajacket, you make an excellent point. Connectivity has been in the past either a gimmick or just a way to increase multi-system sales. While I think Nintendo had the best intentions when it introduced the connectivity-exclusive content, I don't think they completely thought through how people who didn't have both systems would feel about it. I had absolutely zero care for GC/GBA connectivity. It didn't seem to offer anything other than something akin to a Dreamcast VMU with a better screen but fewer buttons (I mean compared to the VMU when it was inside the DC controller). I am interested to see what they do with the DS though. The touch screen is a dimension of control that the Wii otherwise doesn't have. I'm not really sure how Nintendo would capitalize on that, but Nintendo have been pretty good in the past as far as utilizing their ideas. Nintendo extras certainly seem better supported than, say, the 32X was. :)

White_SheWolf
White_SheWolf

Perhaps the Wii seems expensive...but then take a look at both the Xbox 360 and the PS3. It's really not all that much, not when you look at the other consoles. And if you're really worried about price, just wait a bit, and it'll get lower. I also think it's a good thing that Nintendo's doing. For once I might have to chase my mom away from my own console. Now there's a scary thought 0_0

jonajacket
jonajacket

"I dont see nintendo mentioning much connectivity with the Wii and DS" This for me would be a 'gimmick' (unless they do it in a new way) Anybody remember losing out on Animal Crossing content if you didn't have a GBA. For me connectivity is just a money spinner. I hope they keep the 2 systems seperate.

Dkg
Dkg

santiagochile, "Old Technology"?? Are you out your damn mind??

LorenaLarue
LorenaLarue

Of course it's old technology. For $250 we want quadruple quantum processors, built in holographic projectors, triple core graphics chips etc. Why back in my day $1 could buy you 3 candy bars, a horse carridge ride from one end ot the city fo the other and enough left over to feed the entire third world.

rarson
rarson

"The Wii is not cheap! For the old technology they are using, it should cost around $150, not $250. This is a big mistake on Nintendo's part!" Please enlighten me as to the hardware Nintendo is using in the Wii that is the same technology they've already been using, as all I can find is new parts.

dastud2007
dastud2007

Santiago- This isn't old technology. And $250 is a decent price. Just look at all of the features, and you do get a game with it...

santiagochile
santiagochile

The Wii is not cheap! For the old technology they are using, it should cost around $150, not $250. This is a big mistake on Nintendo's part!

LordBraz
LordBraz

how do they get a stat like that? btw, there are 5 people in my house, 4 of them own a ds and the other (my little bro...who's 17) enjoys playing big brain academy with me and my mom.

rarson
rarson

I honestly think that the negative Nintendo comments from the Sony fanboys aren't coming from the Nintendo side of things. I mean a lot of people think they feel Nintendo is threatening Sony's market share. That's not the case, the two consoles aren't competing for the same cash. Sure, the Wii may very well end up being more fun to play than the PS3, but that's just coincidental. The real reason they are making these comments is that they are in denial. They are mad that Sony is making such a huge mistake and alienating their fanbase with a huge price tag, so to make themselves feel better, they sh*t on a few Nintendo fans. I'm not a Nintendo fan. In fact, I own Sony stock. It was at a record high recently, until they started trickling out the PS3 details. Ever since then, it's been on a steady decline. Each time the news trickles out, I cringe because it's always bad news! I'm pissed at Sony because they are shooting themselves in the foot! But I'm not jumping on the Wii bandwagon because of that. I'm jumping on the Wii bandwagon because it looks awesome and it'll be cheap enough to actually afford.

rarson
rarson

There is a huge difference between people not being "indifferent" to games and people accepting games as "mainstream." When he talks about people being "indifferent" to games, he's talking about the millions of people out there with dusty consoles. People like me who haven't played their PS2's in months. People who haven't played any games lately because they don't reach out and grab our attention. Sure, Sony made gaming acceptable for the older audience, so what? Nintendo cares about the casual and non-gamers because they want to turn them into frequent gamers! They want to push the industry forward! With more systems and more people playing games more often, there will be more innovative games and more advances in technology. I think he's right, actually. There is something lacking in games right now. For some reason, games are not the constant entertainment they used to be. I find myself getting bored a lot in games lately. Maybe the entirely new control scheme of the Wii will help change that.

groundmonster
groundmonster

Hmn. I've been playing games since I was at school.... well over 15 years now. All this rabid allegiance to a certain console manufacturer baffles me, just as the old sega/nintendo 16 bit battles in the playground did before. But this time round I think to compare sony and nintendo's machines together is a mistake, they are very different beasts indeed. I Will buy both, they will snuggle up next to my 360 and for the next few years I will play games that are radically different to anything you or I have played before now. Also we will all undoubtedly play games that have been done time and again but in higher resolutions. My point? Enjoy yourselves everyone, gaming has never been this fun! :-)