Nintendo president: "I feel deeply responsible" for poor performance

"Posting an operating loss for the fourth fiscal year running is something unacceptable," Satoru Iwata says, as he outlines his plan to help Nintendo regain momentum.

Nintendo president Satoru Iwata is none too pleased with the company's latest earnings report, which saw the beloved Mario and Zelda company post its third straight year of operating losses. He went on to explain that it would be "unacceptable" for this trend to continue next year.

"Posting an operating loss for the fourth fiscal year running is something unacceptable," Iwata said in prepared remarks posted on the Nintendo website today. "I feel deeply responsible for this and I need to fulfill my responsibility by recovering the momentum of our business."

Iwata said Nintendo hopes to return to "Nintendo-like" profits as soon as possible, but cautioned that he can't right the ship overnight. "The success of a video game platform business depends greatly on its momentum, and it inevitably takes time to rebuild the business once the platform has lost its momentum," he said.

As part of the presentation, Iwata explained how he plans to regain momentum for Nintendo. Part of this includes leveraging the 3DS install base (43 million units so far) to make the current fiscal year a "significant harvest year" for the device. Nintendo has a number of marquee titles in the works for the platform this year, including a Super Smash Bros. game, remakes of Pokemon Ruby and Pokemon Sapphire, as well as Tomodachi Life.

In terms of third-party 3DS games, Iwata said Capcom's Monster Hunter 4 will play a "key role" in the platform strategy for the system. Other titles called out were Yokai Watch2 (Japan), as well as Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth and the latest installment in the Taiko no tatsujin Don to Katsu no jikuu daibouken series (Japan). In addition to these games, Iwata said there are "many more" under development, including unannounced titles.

Switching to the Wii U, which has sold 6.17 million units to date, Iwata explained that this platform was "unable to recover the momentum sufficiently even in the last year-end sales season" and that it may take one full year for the platform to regain momentum. Flagship titles due out for the Wii U this year include Mario Kart 8 and Super Smash Bros., Iwata said.

Another way in which Iwata said the Wii U can regain momentum is by making games that leverage the system's GamePad in new and exciting ways, he said. More information about games that do just that will be shared during Nintendo's E3 briefing next month. Finally, Iwata Nintendo will deliver a system update for the Wii U that will deliver a "quick-start" menu for the system either before or during summer. It promises to reduce loading times.

Nintendo also today announced a Skylanders-style initiative for Wii U and 3DS, which the company will discuss further at E3.

What's your take on the current state of Nintendo? Let us know in the comments below!

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @EddieMakuch
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Eddie Makuch

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.
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242 comments
jasspur
jasspur

I think getting Wifi back for Wii games might help a lot. I know it isn't really Nintendo's fault a company decided to jeopardize them, but I would like to see p2p or an alternative source. I've just started playing Nintendo again since the gamecube, and I don't think I can even get the dlc for those older games I missed. Does anyone know?

hyounger
hyounger

I totally reject the idea that the gamepad is not needed, its the one reason i have been using the wii-u, the ability to play console games in the comfort of my bed, chiling with the wii pad is amazing, the issues nintendo has been facing, has to do more with the fact that at the console launch, there was barely any good games out there, still after more than a year, only now are the best selling games just coming out. Online play is getting better, I believe Nintendo has the potential with the Wiipad to introduce to the masses RTS games, which no other console has been able to do right, Red Alert 4 anyone?

infectedelement
infectedelement

Everyone wants the same damn thing. A new Zelda, another Mario, a Metroid, Smash etc. blah blah blah....I want all that too. But what I REALLY want is the potential of the Wii U to be used in full force with a new game, a new franchise. You cannot push that innovation card without truly being innovative with your games. I want NEW nintendo characters, I want totally NEW types of games, like what Smash Bros. did. Something different. What is wrong with Nintendo? Want to sell the Wii U? Easy. Release a MMO Pokemon game. Release a new Earthbound game. Those two alone would grab a huge user base to buy the Wii U....

tasmlab
tasmlab

I agree with the posters who say to drop the gamepad to lower the price.  We own a half dozen WII U games and it's only used with great effect in a couple of the Ninentoland mini-games.


Plus it departs from the idea that you play video games while standing up and moving around, which was one of the great parts of the WII.

jark888
jark888

Reduce loading time on Wii U is the way to go. Another thing I really don't like about Wii U is the need of extra space and separate hard drive with its own power supply. I've first thought I could expand its capacity through SD card. If that can be done, it will make me (and possibly many others) happy gamers.

NandoSupes
NandoSupes

They need to lower the price of the Wii U , is as simple as that.remove the tablet, bundle it with a controller, I mean something that cuts the price of the console to 199.99, because is ovbious is not selling.  They will take a loss on hardware, but they will recoup those loses on software sold, everyone knows Nintendo first party ip's, but the hardware has to sell better.Nintendo is the reason I play games since 88, but what Nintendo is doing with the Wii U is simply not working. 

nami_the_mage
nami_the_mage

Nintendo needs to start pumping out its first party titles. Nintendo will ultimately be responsible for what happens to their systems. They have so much potential in their own stable. Third party support won't save them.


Also, Iwata had a good run, but his time is up. Nintendo needs new leadership that will steer the company in the right direction. Somebody who will show up at E3 fighting for the future of the company.


Get rid of the Gamepad to drop the price of the Wii U and make it an optional peripheral. Integrate the 3DS as a possible control scheme and merge both worlds. Fuse the eshops together for cross platform purchases as well.


I love Nintendo, but they have gotta start showing us fans some love in return.

asixjo
asixjo

Why hate on a company which is trying so hard to keep up with sony and microsoft and nintendo is puting out some excellent games 

Evenglare
Evenglare

They need to put up as many possible virtual console games as possible to START. Then they need to put up gamecube games on their store. And they need to have the 3ds/ds library up because the wiiu can play those due to the gamepad screen. This should be easy money they are completely missing out on.

Dieknochenblume
Dieknochenblume

It mainly comes down to their parallel show to E3. That will either get us excited, or lose us in the following year. I don't think Iwata himself is the problem, as the other board members clearly supported the same decisions early. Heck, even Miyamoto was so damn sure the game pad was a revolution. So, it's an institutional stuff that won't be changed by beheading CEOs. They might fall honorably, but it's their thing. Shouldn't need to be a bother, other than just not buying their console and that's that.

Kitty_Paine
Kitty_Paine

I did not buy ALBW because it is a sequel to ALttP which I did not like. And I've never been that big on Mario, Mario Kart 64 and Mario Party 2 being my favorites. But if they were to release Majora's Mask 3D, I would so be all over that shit.

Nepti
Nepti

"Another way in which Iwata said the Wii U can regain momentum is by making games that leverage the system's GamePad in new and exciting ways, he said."


Oh My God NOOOOO! Nintendo... your obsession with controllers over games IS the primary reason, in my opinion, that Wii U is suffering. Atypical controllers may or may not provide entertainment value, but lack of games for sure results in lack of entertainment.


Despite that all the cool kids claim that Wii U has 'weak' hardware... the system is still more than good enough to play fun games that I KNOW Nintendo can achieve with this system. Forget the frigging controller and get some games out already for God's sake. Did I mention get some games out? You might want to get some games out. Maybe you should publish more good games. Just a thought.

amk11
amk11

First thing's first... I stopped coming to Gamespot because of sub-par journalism and ultra-biased articles. 


Secondly, the comments section is filled with trolls and rednecks that think they know the video game industry better than the professionals in it. Ever wonder why all these gaming companies are called professionals, it's because they get paid for their ideas and their time making games. 


Now for my suggestions as a completely unbiased gaming enthusiast. Let's face the facts, for gaming enthusiast the PS4 and One are dead in the water until they get their exclusives and NOT remakes of last years or the year before's games. The Wii U game cycle is slow, not favourable, but understandable when delivering Nintendo quality titles (aka no bugs). 


As for proper, and right suggestions


- Another 50 dollar price drop in September or October

- A  redesigned SKU with a cheaper smaller gamepad, Perhaps a 64gb model? It's flash memory so things get expensive here fast. 

- Release dates of previously announced titles

- Working with Capcom to port Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate to the Wii U from the 3DS again, and maybe courting some exclusivity with them and force Capcom to make a new Megaman exclusively for Wii U (would be a kick in the nostalgia teeth for those with PS4 and Ones)

- Contract out EA with making a F-Zero sequel, more specific Crytek who got their engine working on the Wii U flawlessy 

-perhaps a Virtual Premium Program, built on the same concept of Sony's PS+, but for 30 or 40 dollars yearly. Play all the VC games you want and get discounts on various titles in-addition to the 3rd party titles. When you stop subscribing, you lose play-ability of those games.  

-Retail gamepads for easy replacement, and/or bring to retail the high capacity battery (which gets between 5 - 8 hours of battery life)

atomsk648
atomsk648

Seriously, if Nintendo wants to be a serious competitor again, they need to stop putting so much emphasis on the gamepad. While unique, it does present an element that a lot of developers don't want to contend with. It's easy to cross-platform a game when consoles are similar, but the gamepad adds in a lot of time and effort that a lot of developers don't want to bother with. They should have the option to use the gamepad as an extra peripheral, rather than an essential one. Inventory management, map screens, other basic stuff that provide something extra without calling for so many unique extra features.

YukoAsho
YukoAsho

It's becoming painfully obvious that Nintendo is incapable of being the sole publisher on the Wii U without a MASSIVE increase in internal development investment.  It's also obvious that Nintendo will not be able to court 3rd parties, at least outside of Japan.  With these two things pretty much a known quantity, Nintendo's going to have to start encouraging Japanese 3rd parties to release somewhat less traditional titles in the West.  Yes, the profit will likely not be huge, but it hurts a lot more to have a barren section of a gaming store aisle, something we're also seeing with the Vita.  Niche software is better than no software.

tendoboy1984
tendoboy1984

All this doom & gloom crap is ridiculous. Does no one remember what happened in 2006 when the PS3 was revealed at E3 and launched later that year? Everyone hated it, it was way too expensive. Developers and analysts called for Sony's demise, saying that the company should completely scrap the system and start over. Oddly similar to what's happening with Wii U today.

But then Sony released the cheaper PS3 Slim and sales rebounded, PS3 was saved. And I guarantee Nintendo can do the same with Wii U.

Mandrew257
Mandrew257

I don't really care about sales or anything, just release games quicker. These 2-3 month wait periods for one good game are getting pretty annoying. 

Redsyrup
Redsyrup

IMO the Gamepad is not a problem. I think it's really cool to play Super Metroid in bed. :D We just need more frequent Wii U Nintendo releases and cheaper VC games.

PupilsDilated
PupilsDilated

The new Zelda should've been completed alongside the Wii U launch.  That's what I was waiting for, but now I've already invested on the Xbox One and PS4, so I can't afford to get a Wii U now.  Sorry Nintendo, but you made me wait too long.

AyatollaofRnR
AyatollaofRnR

The WiiU is dead in the water unfortunately. It was a bad idea at least a year late to market. Obviously the 3DS is strong for them so that's one thing. 


With the WiiU they need to think about taking a hit and offering a cut price bundle. Need to get more units out there.

troll_eat_troll
troll_eat_troll

I don't know if this is important to a lot of gamers but the only 1 thing prevented me from buying a Wii U and 3DS is the region-locking.  Remove that Nintendo then I will buy your consoles.

hi-buzz
hi-buzz

The Big N is not listening to their fans...they should have been releasing a new 2D or Metroid Prime game by now...I'm still waiting and waiting ......

finalkain
finalkain

You probably heard about the Square Enix Investor that lost his F'n Mind when FFXIV 1.0 Flopped so hard? If I was a Nintendo Investor, I would be losing it over Iwata's management of the Wii U.


Its Pathetic.

kryotech
kryotech

It's unfortunate that Nintendo is going down the drain like this. They have some great stuff, and their first party exclusives are awesome. But the problem is that the Wii U is a marketing failure, on top of hardware that's not exactly amazing compared to its competition, and a touch screen controller idea that seems to be mimicking the DS only for larger consoles......the touch screen controller, in my opinion, is what really ruined this console. It's not the best of ideas cause a console is just not like the DS.

bunchanumbers
bunchanumbers

He is responsible. He allowed the idea of a touchscreen controller to happen. The whole reason why they have a open leadership group is so that bad ideas can be defeated. It's also the reason why they created the Wii. They all discussed it as a group. Hell the touchscreen controller was discussed even back then. So why bring it back this time? Gah! Sometimes Iwata.... I want to slap you. 

tribeofasher
tribeofasher

Hey Nintendo, if you don't show me a Zelda, Metroid and a new franchise for the Wii-U during E3, I'm going to buy a PS4 right after your presentation. LOL


With games like the Witcher, Elder Scrolls and Dark Souls it is getting more and more difficult to wait for Zelda and Metroid. The Witcher 3 looks EPIC and we all know how insane Elder Scrolls 6 is going to be... and/or Fallout 4. :)


C'mon Nintendo. The Wii-U is flopping because of the lack of games.

DrKill09
DrKill09

Don't look so surprised, Mario.  You haven't been cool since the early 90's.

infectedelement
infectedelement

@hyounger  Its not that it is not needed, but it certainly is NOT being used. Not near to the capacity of its potential. Up to this point, the gamepad could not exist and there would be almost no difference in the games.

NandoSupes
NandoSupes

@nami_the_mage  I agree with you in everything you posted, especially on the Iwata part.Nintendo needs someone with forward thinking, someone with a fresh mindset.

ParanoidPaal
ParanoidPaal

@Nepti  I respects Nintendo for wanting to innovate...but I fear this GamePad was simply too expensive to produce. Imagine if they had spent some extra money in making the hardware more impressive, they'd be one year ahead of the PS4 and Xbox One with "next gen" graphics, or they could have produced a console that was more powerful than the current gen, but also cheaper.


But I think the biggest problem was the lack of clear advertising and the lack of interesting games.


I'm obviously no expert, but I just think the gamepad was a bit much.

spacecadet25
spacecadet25

@amk11 I stopped reading when you basically said your subjective opinion is superior to other people's on this site, though I was tempted to stop reading when you were yet another person to bash the journalism in general on this site.  And I don't know why you assume that no one in the industry frequents and posts comments on this site.

So, I would hope you're not being hypocritical for bashing gamers who are not professionals for posting on this site, so please let us know what gaming companies you worked for and in what capacity, and on what games, so therefore by your definition your post is worth reading?

bubba_1988
bubba_1988

@Mandrew257  ? It takes years to develop a game, be happy its 2-3 months b/w them. That being said if they had 3rd party support the wait would not be so long.

tendoboy1984
tendoboy1984

Cross-platform VC games would be great. Sony's cross-buy feature for PS3, PS4, and Vita games is a great concept that Nintendo should imitate.

tendoboy1984
tendoboy1984

Nintendo is all about profits. The Wii U is finally selling at a profit.

Redsyrup
Redsyrup

@hi-buzz Waiting for F-Zero, Pilotwings, Wave Race and Animal Crossing.

does286moss403
does286moss403

@kryotech  I'm with you.  N. has always money on less expensive consoles.  Going into Asia missle class with a PS2-like or Dreamcast-like machine with the N. library could be their goldmine.  he larger picture for me is where is any Nintendo IP with a timely or uplifting motif?  A Nintendo version of Journey, an artistic fable of reincarnation, I bet would be a phenomena in Asia where reincarnation is already accepted. 

skateryanboarde
skateryanboarde

@bunchanumbers  The GamePad is not this system's problem. The execution of the GamePad is half of the Wii U's problem. Not making the system at least near par of the competition is the other half.

The idea of asymmetric gameplay using the GamePad had several developers—indie and AAA alike—excited for the possibilities. Unfortunately, they made it with a resistive touch screen, digital triggers, and almost went with circle pads instead of clickable, analog thumbsticks. 

A huge issue with why they lost third party support was due to how their competition went about making their units. They actually went to top developers and asked them what they wanted to see in the next system. That's why the PS4 and XB1 have such similar specifications. That, coupled with the fact that the Wii U's overall specifications are only slightly better than 360 and PS3, is a huge reason why major third parties have mostly abandoned the system.

I hope Nintendo learns from this going into next generation. I think they'll ride the storm with Wii U and release something in a few years—although not anytime soon. I hope that the merging of their handheld and home console divisions points toward a more mobile and tech heavy version of Wii U. Imagine something on-par with whatever the competition offers next generation that comes with a handheld device that you can take with you on-the-go and shares the same library of games for an economical price.

I still don't think Nintendo should leave the hardware business. They come up with neat ideas, but they're afraid to take a risk with the execution of those ideas. I don't know if it's because they don't have the financial means to, or if they'd just rather not. I just hope they can pull it together.

bubba_1988
bubba_1988

@bunchanumbers  Iwata needs to go.


Project Beast > 

bubba_1988
bubba_1988

@tribeofasher  It's flopping b/c of the lack of 3rd party support between their exclusive games. Wii U has more triple A exclusives than Sony and MS combined, but without 3rd party support the drought b/w exclusives seems that much greater.


Project Beast >

Defender1978
Defender1978

@DrKill09  Right.  No one likes Mario.  However, since more people worldwide bought Mario Kart Wii (35.53 million) than did Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 (28.5 million) I'd say your comment was complete bullshit.  

Nepti
Nepti

@ParanoidPaal @Nepti I was focusing more on the controller in my rant since that was the part of the article I quoted from. But I agree with you. The 3 big mistakes Nintendo made with Wii U was too much focus on the controller, a confusing name for the console, and the big one, lack of games. I disagree with the cool kids that 'weak' hardware is to blame - the Wii U has plenty of horsepower to play fun games. There just needs to be actual games and after nearly 2 years there should be a bigger selection. Wii U is starting to be another HD DVD experience where you have this HD DVD player but oh no, the industry went Blu-Ray and now you have this machine that can't play very many movies.

Mandrew257
Mandrew257

@bubba_1988 @Mandrew257  

I am happy with the games we get from them. They just need more. The last big game we got was DK: TF, and that was in February. 4 months waiting for the next big game(Mario Kart 8) has been a long wait. And then we'll have to wait 2-4 months after MK8. Im glad they're letting 3rd parties work on their 1st party titles though. Hopefully that helps fill the void.

tendoboy1984
tendoboy1984

OK "bubba" go back to your redneck gator rasslin' swamp.

kryotech
kryotech

@bubba_1988 @tribeofasher  That and the touchscreen controller wasn't exactly the best idea they've come up with. Whether you like the controller or not, you've got to admit that the general public didn't take to it too well.