The Wii U and 3DS are still relatively new platforms, but Nintendo already has a "clear idea" about the direction it wants to take for its next hardware, president Satoru Iwata says. As part of a recent Q&A session with analysts following Nintendo's poor financial report, Iwata explained that it's standard operating procedure to get to work on new hardware immediately following the release of a preceding platform, and this generation is no different.
"Once we launch a new platform, we naturally start to prepare for the next one. As it takes several years to develop a single platform, if you ask us whether we are preparing for our next system, then the correct response will be that we are always developing new hardware," Iwata said.
Iwata declined to say when this hardware will be released or what form it will take (Home console? Portable? Something else entirely?), but he made clear that Nintendo is not short on ideas. "I can certainly assure you that we are not at a dead end of any kind in which we are out of ideas for developing new hardware," Iwata said.
The executive, who took a 50 percent pay cut earlier this year to apologize for poor Wii U sales, went on to explain that, "launching new hardware will not produce good results unless we first make sure that those who have already purchased our platforms are satisfied."
To that end, Iwata said Nintendo will "continue to work hard" to make sure that gamers who already own a Wii U or 3DS enjoy their purchases. At the same time, however, it's clear that Nintendo is preparing for the future.
"I would like to say that we are preparing for our next hardware system, and in fact, we already have a clear idea to some extent about the direction our next hardware is going to take," Iwata teased.
Though the Wii U may be struggling right now, having sold 6.17 million units since launch in November 2012, Iwata reminds us that the original Game Boy also got off to a slow start, but was later propelled to popularity through the release of a single title. The same could be true for the Wii U, he said. After all, new Mario Kart, Smash Bros., and Legend of Zelda games are all coming to the system.
"The fate of a video game system is often influenced greatly by the introduction of a single title. As many of you probably remember, before the release of the Pokémon game, Game Boy had been showing slow growth, and many people wondered whether it was the end of Game Boy," Iwata said. "But the Pokémon game singlehandedly changed the landscape of the system, which then started to show the strongest sales in the lifecycle of the system."
Still, Iwata said it's unlikely that the Wii U ever matches the sales of the Wii, which is one the best-selling home consoles of all time, with over 100 million units sold to date.
"As I explained back in January, it is true that we cannot draw up a good business plan for Wii U by assuming that Wii U will sell more than Wii did. Therefore, we will need to think very carefully about the balance of revenue and expenses and try to operate by controlling overall costs," Iwata said. "On the other hand, we do not believe that this year’s estimate of 3.60 million units of Wii U hardware will be the peak of its lifecycle, and we would like to work hard to make sure that we give sufficient momentum to the system so that we can expect good results in and after the next fiscal year, too. However, as for this fiscal year, as I explained before, the figures you see have been determined by rather conservative estimates."
|Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @EddieMakuch|
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