Iwata: Wii 'unhealthy' in Japan, but no price cut coming

Nintendo president admits home country is growing "tired" of the motion-sensing console--but says slashing the price "cannot drive up sales."

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This morning at a press luncheon in Tokyo, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata revealed that 600,000 DSis have been sold in the US and Europe. He also dated Wii Sports Resort, the beach sports minigame compilation that will come bundled with the Wii Motion Plus motion-sensing Wii Remote attachment.

Unhealthy? Introducing the Wii Thermometer.

However, as Iwata addressed an audience dining on smoked duckling and sauteed swordfish at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan, he also had some bad news to convey. After the PlayStation 3 outsold the Wii in Japan last month, the Wall Street Journal called Nintendo "vulnerable" in its home country. Now, after initially blaming a weak Japanese gaming market for the Wii's 63 percent one-month sales slump, Iwata admitted that the console was facing difficulties.

"The Wii is in the most unhealthy condition since it hit the Japanese market," he told the crowd, according to the Agence France-Presse news service. "The current condition in the Japanese market is not the one we want." However, Iwata did say that declining Wii sales were partly due to the Japanese character. "The speed with which people get tired of any new entertainment is faster in Japan than in overseas markets," explained the executive.

When sales of the Wii's two rival consoles--the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360--have slowed, their manufacturers have responded with a series of price cuts. For the moment, though, Iwata ruled out any such move on Nintendo's part with a somewhat perplexing argument.

"A price cut in a difficult economy cannot really excite the market and drive up sales," contended Iwata. "As of now, I really don't think that a price cut is a good option for us."

In the US, the $249 Wii is the second-cheapest console, after the hard-drive-less $199 Xbox 360 Arcade. The cheapest PlayStation 3 is the $399 80GB model.

To see Iwata tout the Wii in person, check out his revealing of the Wii Remote at the 2006 Tokyo Game Show. (The voice is that of a Japanese translator provided by TGS.)

Discussion

351 comments
gringbot
gringbot

"The speed with which people get tired of any new entertainment is faster in Japan than in overseas markets," explained the executive. or you guys could, you know... make FUN games that people... uhh.. whats the word im looking for... uhh... OH YEAH....ENJOY playing. that could help? just a suggestion tho. funny how their perspective seems to not focus any blame on themselves. same with all these other companies putting out terrible, cheap, gimmicky games.

RoC1909
RoC1909

I do want to add that I am quite surprised at a lot of good comments in this section. Usually, you have a ton of fanboys talking smack, but people are really speaking "like it is".

RoC1909
RoC1909

Jeez....are people in charge of these corporation REALLY this stupid?? There are only so many people on this world and only so many people that want one!! I do realize that the price point for the Wii was the lowest of the 3, but HEAVEN FORBID if there was a small price cut! Every other console has gone through multiple cuts, why can't the Wii??? Because they are greedy!!! And as GreyHawX has said... "The Wii is last gen". It's a novelty! I hope they continue to get their ass hammered by Sony and others.

GentlemanGamer
GentlemanGamer

The Wii has always been a toy, while the DS has had its touch screen ability used to the full the Wii, despite interesting at the beginning, has not realized its potential (if it had any to start with).

GreyHawX
GreyHawX

BTW once the Wii is last gen what is Nintendo going to do? I'm sure the causal buyers aren't going to buy another motion control console from Nintendo.

GreyHawX
GreyHawX

I agree with you I have a wii and it is pretty boring now. The only reason the wii is ahead and at it level of success is because the motion controls and it games appeal to the causal crowd. There's much more causal buyers (they are not gamers) than gamers like us.

shabulia
shabulia

To me, the Wii was just a slightly more powerful Gamecube with a more annoying control scheme. I didn't like the Wii much when I owned one and I got rid of it fast. I still don't understand why it's dominating the market, even if progress is slowing. I honestly played more Gamecube games and old titles on it than I did any of the actual Wii games. The DSi is great but the Wii is an overblown hypefest undeserving of it's level of success.

chefstubbies
chefstubbies

The Wii has an inoperable brain tumor...

demoman_chaos
demoman_chaos

I'm not a picky person when it comes to games, I'll play most anything outside of gimmick-games, educational, mini-game collections, or J-RPG's. But when there is only 3 games I would like to get for a console in over a year, there's a problem (Brawl, Madworld, and House of the Dead: Overkill, but Brawl is the main reason I got a Wii).

Paladin_King
Paladin_King

It's never a good sign when a guy admits that their product is struggling....and then basically says that it's not their fault, they're everything right, and there's basically nothing than can do to make things better. Maybe people get "tired of things fast" for a reason?

Itsthetruth
Itsthetruth

Ye Iwata, blame the market... No, no, you're not doing anything wrong, it's the japanese market or the lunar influence on minds... nothing to do with the lack of good games. No 1st party great release in the last months and 3rd parties have only done a couple of good games so far. No, you can't call that "people getting tired fast"! Wake up game developers theres more than room for the traditional genres: RPGs, Driving Simulation (is there any?), FPS (waiting for The Conduit), Plataforms, 3rd person Action, ... Theres a lot of Wiis waiting for games!

wahyudil
wahyudil

I don't care abou wii health ... just give us wii player some great RPG, that will be enough to revitalize wii ....

KhanhAgE
KhanhAgE

Wii Sports Resorts with The Wii Motion Plus? You know what that means. Wii Sports Resorts is going to shoot up the sales chart just like Wii Play. (And we all know why Wii Play is so high on the charts)

damaster101
damaster101

I sold all my wii games the other day no one in my house had played it for around 3 months if it had better online support and way more decent games for it i would've kept them but when you can only find 3 games that are actually good in years span of time its pretty poor. I did keep the wii though still waiting for smash bros 64(One thing they can get right!)

masterds64
masterds64

Never thought nintendo would slow down in thier home land... It was going to happen-until other system coours and "die hard" sort of apps come about it will continue to decline, bit by bit....luckily in aus here they haven't started aging yet, but the second others find out here, it shall happen... If I do end up getting a non-nintendo conoles it's mearly to play the big app exclusives such as mgs4 and resi evil 5, guess I need to save for a ps3 then :(

gameking5000
gameking5000

@remixbaby44 The best games are always from the first-party developers, look at Nintendo. There are too many third-party developers developing games that's the problem. However they do need big third party developrs like Activision, Midway Games and Ubisoft

remixbaby44
remixbaby44

@jthewlis same with my family. but still, @RavenSoS, if hype was all the wii had, it wouldn't have dominated for the 2 years it has so far in terms of sales. The system would have sold well 4 maybe a few months. But i agree it needs more games, especially 3rd parties. The conduit should help save the wii

jthewlis
jthewlis

@RavenSos Good to see some informed, considered comment. However, don't forget the rise of the multi-platform family. I'm 39 and my kids are 7 and 5. I love my PC (for serious shooters like BF2142 etc). I never get to play MGS4 and GTA4 on my PS3 because my kids are always playing Simpsons and Little Big Planet on it. Occassionally we play Burnout Paradise together. The kids also have PCs (they play Sims and webby flash games) and they love my old Xbox (Star Wars Lego, SSX Tricky, Midtown Madness 3). They like their DS's and I love my PSP. (Oh, and we also do real world stuff like going for walks, playing soccer etc!) BUT WHERE WE ALL COME TOGETHER (EVEN MY WIFE!!!) IS ON THE WII.

miltown
miltown

I believe that most people believe it's Nintendo's fault that other publishers and developers churn out b.s. games. It's true that Nintendo is selling rehashed sequels of their old games (Zelda hasn't gotten very innovative over the years) and ports from other systems(New Play Control! for instance). But I think that besides that, it's up to the third parties to stop turning out weak ip. Some of y'all need to hating on Nintendo. It's true the Wii is still a little too expensive, but hell if people are buying it, it wouldn't make much business sense to slash the price. Now would it?

RavenSoS
RavenSoS

@education Very true. This was inevitable. The Wii sold on a low price, hype, novelty, and accessibility for children and elders. Hype is always the first thing to go as people begin to see the product for what it is instead of this image in their mind. Depending on how innovative the item is depends on how long the novelty of it will last. It seems that novelty wore off at least a few months ago. At this point the Wii now has to sell itself based on its price and accessibility. Unfortunately for Nintendo, Microsoft is already selling cheaper packages of the 360 and it just keeps getting cheaper as each year goes by. I would anticipate Sony doing a severe cut in the price of the PS3 by the holidays. Even at double the price of the Wii, the PS3 can easily be claimed worth the price over it by virtue of a much stronger lineup of titles and the sheer amount of features and technology that the PS3 has when compared to the Wii. So what's left? Accessibility to certain demographics. The problem with this is that the Wii targets everyone else except the largest video game consumer demographic. Males between the age range of late teens to mid 30's. While I'm not saying that targeting other audiences is a bad thing, you can only essentially ignore the main one for so long before it starts affecting your business as the other two companies are hitting them hard. When others move on, this group is the one that continues to buy. The Wii does not have a strong online component which is increasingly necessary. Its lineup of titles is actually very lackluster and it seems that already the Wii has lost a ton of support from 3rd party entities. Last time I checked you couldn't even listen to music or watch movies on the Wii either. At least that's how it was when I owned one. When you're a game system that does nothing more than play games and you don't really have the games to play... yeah this is what happens. I can pretty much promise you that at this point the remaining years of this console war will be fought between Sony and Microsoft. Nintendo may have delivered a few crushing shots in the opening rounds but it just ran out of energy too fast. Sony and Microsoft took the blows and are still bouncing around in the ring, ready to go. This is pretty much what happened with the last two consoles that Nintendo made. They both started off extremely strong in the beginning and then just fizzled out in the end. The only difference is that Nintendo managed to take first place for awhile this time before dropping off.

education
education

This was inevitable. Trends end. The wii is for kids and the elderly. Any real gamer already has the 360 or the ps3. I dont even think Id buy the wii if it was 99.99. I dont care to waggle to attack lol Even with their so called mature titles the wii just seems a bit juevenille. Throw in the towel nintendo. Take some of your cash and actually develop a console the next time around.

zombey1333
zombey1333

@wiiplay1 I don't think it's the Nintendo fans giving people the thumbs down. As far as I know it's the Nintendo fans who are angry at the current situation with the Wii, and the only things really getting thumbs down are the posts that are trying to force their point of view while simultaneously blurting out that everyone else is dead wrong. You know, people being jerks. :p Heh, I'm kinda confused as to why I got a couple of thumbs down on my list of games, perhaps someone just thought they sucked? I was merely making a joke about how most of the games that immediatly pop into peoples' heads are the first party ones, and of course the handful of mature games. Heck, the games in the list are great by themselves, but some of them lack considerably when compared to previous installments in their respected franchises.

zombey1333
zombey1333

@Eazy1891 I've gotta say this, the point of your post makes sense. That aside, you're missing the point. It's not about the games for the mature audience. It's about the games for the gamer, the people who've been supporting Nintendo for the past two decades. A look at the mass majority of titles on the Wii tells me that Nintendo and the third party publishers are saying, "HAH, forget about the person looking to play a great video game, let's shovel out as much of the same thing we can to make a quick buck!" And, dude, please, learn how to type with even a little bit of proper sentence structure. I'm sure there are a few on here that read the first few lines and said screw it. What you're saying sounds intelligent, but the presentation says otherwise. Sorry if I sound harsh. I'm not trying to, I just tend to be a bit blunt.

gameking5000
gameking5000

Looking at the games that Nintendo are going to release in a few months , I can come to a conclusion that they really need more non-licensed and non-third party games

thps48
thps48

It's seems like ever since the Wii, or for that matter the DS came out, Nintendo hasn't really shown themselves as a company run by several people who are in fact mentally challenged beyond a believable degree. It's like the big execs were struck by lightning originating from a cloud of vaporized stupid and then proceeded to break off most if not all expenses catering to long-time customers, create an innovative handheld before creating an innovative console and then spend all their zillions on making party and educational games that could have been just as easily made into flash games, and once their revenue starts to dip a bit they decide not to lower the Wii's price because the economy is in a slump and some people can't afford it. Also, they made Reggie president of NoA because he reminded people of a Latino version of the Russian from Rocky #who-gives-a-****. (If he is, I won't say he is if he isn't...)

Eazy1891
Eazy1891

i obviously by my pic u kno wat console i own...but i luv all 3 (wii the least) ps3 has an edge over 360 on its games it offers and other possibilities it ccan do...but i also uv the exclusives 4 360 and wii is fun in a group or wen u just wanna get up and do summin...take it from a guy, thats played every console, isnt a fanboy, would own every one if he had the chance and also just plain reasoning...thought id say this so people dont think im hating on n e thing...dont get me wrong wii is very good yet it isnt rilly a next gen consolesure it was made with 360 and ps3 yet u ask me...with minor improvements(im prolly gonna get yelled at 4 saying this) the wii is just a skinny gametrapezoid(gamecube skinnier and tilted side) and it has motion sensitivity...heres the reason y theyve sold so much though, listen theirs alot more parents w/ younger children that want their kids 2 not hear bad words or c violence and all that, plus, it gets them slighty more active which gives it a senior citizen likely 2 get up nd play(my grandparents 4 example)...now another thing...another reason, ok scenario...ur a parent, or hell n e one whos buying their first game system, nd we're talking year 2006-7 nd early 08 u c prices of the wii, ps3 nd 360, its all about money...nd me ive even sed 2 a person that came 2 me in a store asking wat i think they should get 4 their child i instanty sed the wii w/ out thinking twice...plus a parent is gonna hear the first reason i gave and say"oh well thats obvious, do i want my child playing GTA 4 on either 360 or ps3 after all the things theyve gone thru in the past? meta gear solid for ps3 or halo on 360 so they can c all this gore nd shoot people nd b interacting w/ older people online plus i have 2 pay 4 xbl? or do i want them playing wii tennis and having a fun time w/ friends making mii's and playing a game like mario kart??? think bout it....

Glade_Gnarr
Glade_Gnarr

Iwata needs to get his head out of his rear end and realise the Wii needs games that actually take advantage of the wii remote, so far there are very few titles that I can remember, like Zack and Wiki, Trauma Center, Pro Evolution and maybe a few shooters and a couple of party games (Wariowere and Boom Blox).

Malco_Vincenzo
Malco_Vincenzo

@nnfnnfnfnnfnnf "To the people who still think the wii is a fad, just watch when all 3 major consoles next generation have significant motion sensing going on." the PS2 had the Eye Toy in last generation and it's games were better than most Wii games man. Nintendo is just trying to bring back an improved Power Glove from the Nes days except make it the focus of the whole console.

zombey1333
zombey1333

@nnfnnfnfnnfnnf The motion sensing thing does make sense, but noone's really doing anything super fancy with it right now. People just keep recycling the same ideas over and over again, often with mediocre-to-poor results. X_x

nnfnnfnfnnfnnf
nnfnnfnfnnfnnf

cube-gage, the wii has sold over 20 million units in north america. So I think its fair to say that nintendo has a clue about the western market. To the people who still think the wii is a fad, just watch when all 3 major consoles next generation have significant motion sensing going on.

skullboy950
skullboy950

Sergsky said: The fad's over? Finally? Not yet, it's far from over in the US.

Sergsky
Sergsky

The fad's over? Finally?

matrixman2k
matrixman2k

Still, just playing gears2 last night, i envisioned a zelda game using that engine and the seer scale of those environments and all in glorious HD albeit 720... however there were no noticeable frame rate issues that i could see. This is on my 150" projector where things are noticeable straight away. It's got to happen sometime, when Nintendo change their daft stance towards HD, like the odd N64 with no RGB ... sometimes you just can't understand their dunce philosophy. I want true evolution in both gameplay and graphics, it's difficult to strike balance. As for those that say why must the princess in mario be kidnapped time and again, well, there must be a reasoning behind you wasting your like (real life time) going through endless platforming madness. Having taking criticism into account, nintendo are loosing the edge. Just look at sunshine, it was good but something was missing that mario64 had. Double dash was ruined - no body wanted, none of my friends wanted to play that over mariokart 64 and monkeyball. By the way most of these are still reinstated for a offline session each weekends, still to this day 8-10 yrs later. Fzero 64 track editing was fun too. Made some real masterpieces. Shame it was offline only.

zombey1333
zombey1333

@Malco Vincenzo Dead Rising's the game that made me run out and purchase an Xbox 360. Heh, it's actually become one of my personal favorites, which is hard for a game to do when someone who's been playing since Atari (i'm 25, my grandma had one :3). I totally agree with you on the Chop 'Til You Drop port, it's pointless. Most people who would've been interesting in playing it are the gamers who have an X360/PS3; and if it's the 360 they own then they probably already have it. Hopefully, when/if the predicted falling-flat-on-their-face bit happens after the fad ends they'll use their extra money to commision something awsome. Of course, by then, it might be too late :p

Malco_Vincenzo
Malco_Vincenzo

@ zombey1333 totally agree with your list. Especially with Zelda which was a GC port. Another thing i'll ad to your trend theory is the watered down port pattern. Chop Till, You Drop Anyone? Honestly what nintendo needs to do is stop making only one Mario or Zelda Or Metroid and Kirby game per generation and stop making 5 spinoffs of Mario like Mario Party/Soccer/Baseball/Curling/Whatever. seriously there is gonna be more Mario Party sequeals than Final Fantasy Sequels.

zombey1333
zombey1333

1 Zelda (sequel) 2 Super Smash Bros. (sequel) 3 Mario Galaxy (sequel) 4 Super Paper Mario (sequel) 5 Mario Kart (sequel) 6 Animal Crossing (sequel) huh, i'm noticing a trend here.... 7 Mad World (orig) 8 No More Heroes (orig) 9 House Of The Dead: Overkill (sequel) 10 RE: Umbrella Chronicles (chronicled events of other games) 11 Fatal Frame 4...er, I mean, no, that's not coming out in the U.S. 9_9 my bad. Thought I'd do this just to be a jerk...there are a few more that i like, but from this list, and the other games, one thing is clear: there is no game on this system that would make me go out and buy it RIGHT THIS SECOND. Nothing on the Wii is a must-have. It's my understanding that they even failed to deliver games of this nature with their in-house titles.

mysteriojoe
mysteriojoe

Good. It's about time. The Wii has motion controls which aren't very good, no real online play, and horrible overpriced games. I have all 3 consoles and although I liked the Wii in the beginning, but I realized most of the games for it I had no desire to play. Also I could live with the graphics on the Wii before we got a high def television. But now that we have a high def TV, the graphics on the Wii got million times worst because of the high resolution of the TV! It's not even worth it to buy a Wii game anymore cause it will look crappy. I find in the last few months I have been buying more PS3 software: RE5, Fallout 3, MLB: The Show 09 etc. Sorry Nintendo, game over.

Malco_Vincenzo
Malco_Vincenzo

I owned my Wii for a total of nine months before I sold it. Honestly did not want to wait for this "pipline" of games everyone it hyped for. If the "core" games like MadWorld are going to be sweet but short than they aren't worth more than $40. Don't get me wrong madworld was gppd, but real short. It's sad to see that Twilight Princess, a GC port is the most core wii game. Yeah casual gamers outnumber core gamers, but core gamers buy more than just 3 games. I've owned a PS3 for 4 months and already have over 12 games. someone name 10 wii exclusive games that are good.

gameking5000
gameking5000

Well if he won't cut the price then SOMETHING has to be done.

Koushin
Koushin

>brianpoetzel Yes he did but maybe I can lend some assistance in further detailing as to "Why?" your analysis is correct. In Japan, people do get tired of looking at the same thing over and over unlike say the American market that seems to embrace repetition ("If it isn't broke don't fix it." technique) in their entertainment. They have a phrase in Japan called "boom" (it's similar to that of a "fad"), and it's like an interest or hobby but with the exception that it will tend to not last for a long period of time. I believe while he was straight faced in saying that the Japanese do get tired of entertainment options faster than their foreign counterparts, but that just means they must find more innovation within their system. Wii Fit was a huge success in Japan due to its unique accessory and how it caused people to behave physically in a video game rather than sit and play. So was Mario Kart for its steering wheel attachment. If the Wii is to have continuous growth it will have to think of more innovative ways to promote the system so that customers of all demographics will continue to purchase and be loyal to the Wii.

Gen-Gawl
Gen-Gawl

"The speed with which people get tired of any new entertainment is faster in Japan" Did he just admit the Wii is a fad?

jelmew
jelmew

Aargh, I see now, white on white :XD

kenken2g
kenken2g

@ChristerDoo it was a sarcastic comment dude. You actually wasted your time writing some sort of "comeback" to me for no reason. I'm over here ROFL at you. I support the PS2... not the Wii. I'm not saying the Wii is as good as the PS2 by any means. Goodness... my comments were aimed more at graphics not games or credibility

zombey1333
zombey1333

While it might seem like blasphemy, I'd kill to see a full-blown, balls-out reworking of the ORIGINAL Zelda. Don't get me wrong, I'm not looking to toss my classic away for something with more modern gloss, I just think going back to the roots of Link's adventuring might bring about something epic. Really, it'd just be nice to see Nintendo using some of that extra cash to start developing some more games for the Wii. Least the third party companies are starting to throw something at it besides shovelware. Still don't think we'll see anything super outstanding until games that are cross platform for PS3 and X360 are able to make that hop over to the big N's next console. Something other than the Wii, something for the gamer, might be worth it. The Wii seems to be mostly for children and casual gamers. It's pretty much something else entirely different from the PS3/XBox360. A console boasting the kind of power of those two with even more effort put into it might be enough to bring them back into full form. But they'd have to keep at it. They cant just throw it out there and then throw in half-hearted features along the lines, they need to keep going with it like it's a matter of life or death. Don't really know if it'd be a good idea, how many people here would buy it TODAY if it came out, Nintendo's TRUE answer to the PS3/X360? Let the people who are new to gaming keep going with the Wii and give the actual gamer something to fall in love with again.

mariokart64fan
mariokart64fan

dt your wrong on so many levels nintendo has stuff in the pipe line, punchout wii sports resort an unkown title metroid 1 and 2 , and more e3 is coming why dont you wait , oh and by the way how many mario and zelda games do we need, hoestly

DTS3311
DTS3311

well to Spanio. Dead Space Extraction - yes new stuff. same game that PS3 / 360 and PC have all enjoyed. Silent hill for Wii is not an exclusive. coming out for Ps2. which will work on the PS3 for those like myself lucky enough for the backward compatible feature. Overlord , yea a wii exclusion but still an IP on other consoles. nothing special for the Wii from Nintendo coming out. No Mario (That isn't smash brothers, Party, etc) no Zelda. i can go on no point.

SpainoMac8982
SpainoMac8982

For everyone complaining Nintendo has nothing to offer core gamers: Wait. Be patient. They will come. Eventually the Wii will slow down on sales and gimmicks like multi colored consoles will only do so much. Nintendo will need to rely on software eventually. It's already begun: Madworld HoD: Overkill Boomblox Overlord: Dark Legends Conduit Silent Hill Shattered Memories Dead Space Extraction That's just a few. The Wii is landing into the sights of many developers because its cheap to develop for, and its got a tremendous base. If developers work on games like the new Silent Hill and build it perfectly for the Wii, people will play it. And with E3 on the horizon, I think we can see Nintendo having a tremendous year.

dedhedthe1rst
dedhedthe1rst

@KieranCottrell I agree totally. It is very unlikely that this marks the end of Nintendo, and perhaps some folks do get a little hot under the collar over 'The console wars', but speaking as a fan (I only have a Wii and PC), i think the general cenus is that Nintendo have let a lot of people down. Initially when the Wii came out it was of course the core gamers that went out and bought the system, anticipating the next big thing for gaming. But in my opinion, they are treating us (actual fans) like rubbish at the moment. They are not stupid, they know that we want more actual games and not their half hearted efforts as of late. So as such, you can look at these opinions (however misguided some may be) on this page as an outcry. And hopefully, with enough volume....Nintendo, might actually look at us and start making games again.