Nintendo's Miyamoto Doesn't Want to Make Games for People Who Have Only A "Passive" Interest In Gaming

Iconic designer Shigeru Miyamoto suggests that Nintendo will focus more on core games in the future.

A big part of the original Wii's success was the way it brought casual and non-gamers into the industry for the first time through games like Wii Sports and Wii Fit. But going forward, Nintendo will focus its efforts on making games for the core crowd, suggests Shigeru Miyamoto, the man who created Mario and works at the company as senior managing director.

In a new interview with Edge Magazine, posted by sister site CVG, Miyamoto said he is no longer interested in making games that cater to people who only "passively" enjoy games.

"[These are] the sort of people who, for example, might want to watch a movie. They might want to go to Disneyland," he said. "Their attitude is, 'OK, I am the customer. You are supposed to entertain me.' It's kind of a passive attitude they're taking, and to me it's kind of a pathetic thing. They do not know how interesting it is if you move one step further and try to challenge yourself [with more advanced games]."

CVG notes that this is the first time a high-ranking Nintendo executive has publicly stated plans to move away from the casual crowd. The original Wii sold over 100 million units, and, as mentioned, its massive success was due in part to the way it brought new consumers to gaming.

The Wii's successor, the Wii U, has been less of a hit. Launched in 2012, the system has now sold around 7 million systems, which is below the PlayStation 4's 10 million units sold; this despite Nintendo's console being less expensive and having a full-year head start. The Nintendo 3DS family of systems, meanwhile, have sold over 44 million units.

Part of the reason why Miyamoto contends that Nintendo's games no longer need to appeal to casual gamers is because iOS and Android smartphones and tablets have taken root.

"In the days of DS and Wii, Nintendo tried its best to expand the gaming population," he said. "Fortunately, because of the spread of smart devices, people take games for granted now. It's a good thing for us, because we do not have to worry about making games something that are relevant to general people's daily lives."

This is not the first time Miyamoto has offered up what might be considered a controversial quote. Most recently, he said there wasn't a wide variety of games on display at E3, which he claimed is indicative of "creative immaturity" in the video game industry.

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

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Written By

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

Discussion

418 comments
johncas89
johncas89

Isn't that your job though. To entertain the customers?

Cozm1kaos
Cozm1kaos

Screw tablets and cell phones. Want an on the run system buy the 3ds, who cares if ites 150 dollars. That 150 dollars will save you battery life and money needing to buy new batteries for your phone. Keep it seperate 

trotz75
trotz75

I've always said if ya struggling and ya products Crap....do something controversial

tr4newreck
tr4newreck

he has no right to complain


nintendo has failed to draw in enough 3rd party interest and games... the hardware isn't helping


how many iterations of mario kart and super mario can people stomach, before it all just becomes a tedious blurry smudge of mushrooms, pipes, and koopa's

sonic_rareware8
sonic_rareware8

I don't have only a "passive" interest in gaming. :)

colector4vida
colector4vida

Interestingly this man is right. All gadgets that do not have physical buttons are watering down all games. Therefore games are of secondary nature to them. Will anyone ever play God or war, Metroid Prime, Halo, or any of the best and most memorable games made in the last 35 years of gaming on a cell phone or tablet.....yes. But the EXPERIENCE will be watered down. In truth let it be known that these gadgets with no physical buttons reminds me of the same fate as ATARI.

Boondha
Boondha

Just sound like an old man unable to comprehend the new era?

Ultramarinus
Ultramarinus

Good luck trying to sell games to your customers who you just screwed over with this 'new 3DS' scam. I won't be among them. But I bet you'll get away with it still as Nintendo is Apple of gaming.

shadowmarioxd
shadowmarioxd

The Wii sold good because of the motion controls in games like Wii sports and Wii fit. Nintendo is trying to do a repeat by releasing Wii Sports Club and Wii Fit U and their way of telling people that the game is new is by showing a golf ball on the game pad screen. A lot of people that never heard of Mario or Zelda got the console just for Wii Sports or Wii fit and a lot of those people never even heard of the WiiU. Most of the people that own Wii fit can't find a good reason to buy Wii fit U and would rather use their money for vacations or something else. 

Miyamoto is right about there not being many games shown at E3. The Wiiu needs more first party games like Mario, Kirby, and Metroid and they need to show off the graphics. WiiU needs more 3D games to show people that the WiiU is the console to get if you want to play quality games. Nintendo needs to make games for the core gamers and they need to feed their long time customers with games that brought them to Nintendo. They need to find creative ways to use the game pad instead of using it as an oversized bottom DS screen or off screen gameplay. In my opinion Nintendo Land was the only game that really used the gamepad. So basically the WiiU just needs more.

I enjoy playing games like DK Tropical freeze and NSMBU but at the same time they become repetitive. The Super Smash Bros. Series has been popular every since the first one was released for the 64. Now we get two versions for the 3DS and WiiU. Nintendo just needs to make the next big thing to get people hooked on Nintendo and it needs to be something for the Nintendo fans.

dougzer0
dougzer0

I'm not sure Nintendo know what they're doing. Anecdotally I spoke with a couple of avid Wii gamer couples that own several wii games and still play them  ... mario kart, "tennis", etc. I wouldn't call them "core". Yet this was a huge and lucrative audience that if they were marketed to Nintendo could have held onto them. They did not know that the Wii U even existed. With the Wii Nintendo had that elusive long tail, games that kept selling ... Mario Kart, Wii Party, Wii Fit, we're talking tens of millions of copies. People bought these games and they *played* them and many continue to do so. Its a colossal failure on Nintendo's part that they failed to reach this audience with the Wii U.  


Personally I like the tablet controller, it allows me to play games and surf on the couch.  But its a complicated proposition, and I think its development was not driven by customer demand but by some internal "vision" that didn't match the market, much like Sony's myopic PS3.  And it's features have yet to be proven with a must have experience. 


What the Wii successor should have been to retain these customers was an iteration of the Wii. HD graphics and higher fidelity motion control with all the accessibility and simplicity of the original Wii.  An improved Wii Remote Plus, maybe it fit your hand better, had a cooler strap, better tracking (but definitely not a glove!). Something that says to people, hey this is something I know, but its new and improved, I want to buy it. They could have worked in a bit of Will nostalgia in, for people to recapture that same joy when they first tried the Wii, but with some new -this-is-so-cool feature. That's what the masses respond to, even the core.  Tablet controller could have been an optional add on, or they could have just made an android / iOS app. 


I'm hoping their reorganization helps with their next hardware generation.  

dr_jashugan
dr_jashugan

Maybe if you focused more on the core gamers instead of the casuals, you wouldn't have all those selling problems in the first place? RIGHT, Miyamoto san? :-\

VoidSECT
VoidSECT

Good thinking Miyamoto san. All the luck to you. 

tysonwritesel
tysonwritesel

People should play whatever they want regardless of the name slapped on the box, how much money they spent on it, or what it's labelled or marketed as.  If you want to casually run around in a game in awe and that is your sense of achievement who cares what anyone thinks?  I don't care much for multi-player since the e-peen people just make the thing a drag.  If people want to play that and spend their good money on it, why should I give a crap?  Destiny will be the biggest selling game of the year.  Good for them?  My opinion is to do research.  I felt burned with ESO because it just didn't fit with me, nothing personal to that game but I'll be more cautious next time.  As far as the next-gen systems, I have no clue when I'll want one.  If I never upgrade to them because I'm not interested, who cares?  There are plenty of people that just play retro games anyway.

daikkenaurora12
daikkenaurora12

I dont even have passive interest in Nintendo right now.

jinzo9988
jinzo9988

Nintendo got real lucky with the motion control craze.  They don't have that audience anymore and it's mostly due to smartphones.  I don't buy that that's the only reason simply because there's no family fun to be had with smartphones.  Smartphones are largely single-player and single-person experiences.  You can't really sit down and play a game that involves the whole family on a smartphone.  That's what the Wii was real good at doing... bringing people together, and it had a control scheme that any bonehead could figure out.

As long as they keep pumping out games for the Wii U, they'll be more than fine.  Most of their games will absolutely be guaranteed sellers simply because there's not a lot of competition on it.  Third parties have largely abandoned it so the landscape is pretty ripe for making big bucks.  Not a lot of people have the Wii U, but Nintendo recoups through software sales so even if the system doesn't sell in droves, Nintendo can still make money on it.  People get Nintendo consoles to play Nintendo games, so in a weird way less third party games is good for Nintendo... especially if the hardware is selling.  The hardware isn't selling, but things might change.

A lot of people seem to be more interested in it than they were previously after they saw what Nintendo had to offer at E3.  This is a critical time for Nintendo to get some real heavy hitters out there quickly before the Xbox One and the PS4 get situated with a solid library, as they're going through what the Wii U was going through a year ago in terms of a game library, and getting real games out there and not casual games is the way to go right now.

Fla_Dechen
Fla_Dechen

Mr. Miyamoto knows best. Despite the Wii being a huge success and a welcoming console for casual and new players, the Wii U – specially with the Gamepad – is a bit intimidating (plus the name Wii U still causes confusion on non-gamers).


Mr. Miyamoto's statement is what I – and perhaps most gamers/Nintendo fans – have been waiting for. It is Nintendo going back to its roots! Remember the expression "Nintendo hard"? Well, I, as an advanced player, want challenging games, and I believe the industry as a whole wants it too.


Leave smartphones for the casual, bring back "Nintendo hard"!

Nepti
Nepti

Some of the comments here lack perspective. Nintendo's not 'relevant?' Really? I disagree but I guess we'll see.

I for one have no problem with what Mr. Miyamoto says in this article. I also have a hard time understanding why his statement is, 'controversial.' But we do live in a very polarized PC (politically correct NOT personal computer) age where the 'cool kids' get to decide what is and what is not acceptable speech.

So I guess along with all the other PC right-think-wrong-think it seems speaking against casual games is 'wrong-think.'

Ever since the Wii U's dismal launch I've had the opinion that Nintendo fails to recognize that despite the appeal that the Wii had for casual gamers... casual gamers are not the future of dedicated consoles costing upwards of $300 for hardware and $50 for games.

Smartphones and tablets are the future of casual gamers. At least for now, unless there is some kind of drastic paradigm change.

So to Mr. Miyamoto's comments I say, it's about freakin time. Nintendo's burned through a considerable amount of 'daylight' waffling in the marketplace and Miyamoto's comments may be the first hint that Nintendo's committing to a strategy to pursue the core gamer demographic once again. Amen and 'let's get 'er done.'

constantcritic
constantcritic

Does anyone else think it's disappointing that in the few games that are out, they are just overloading the IP into it?  Ok, Mario Kart.... It has practically every character that Nintendo owns the rights to in it!  (simply because they don't have a real game to show, but that's another point)  It takes away from the elusiveness of the next release and fizzles out that wanting to see Link or F-Zero in their own awesome game.  


Nintendo is shooting themselves in the foot, and I only see the hole they are in getting deeper than gain confidence they are on their way out.

Monsterkillah
Monsterkillah

Nintendo itself hasnt been relevant for so many years

Outdated compared to ps and xbox with same game all over

Nintendo is like man out of his time

People play games for entertainment..games is an entertainment medium whats the point for playing games if its not entertaing for you?

What he s saying doesnt make sense and rather confusing

constantcritic
constantcritic

Put your games where your mouth is then.  


I never played the Wii and have no interest in Wii U because all the games are casual to me.  Even Zelda.  It's cheesey, and has as much depth as a coat of paint, but the game play is fun, and you can pick it up and play it for a while and then forget about it for a week and not be lost.  


They've ignored what has been successful for the other two because they want to be different.  But, they've become detached to the community and industry in the process, which is always evolving.  So, they failed to evolve appropriately, and that's why the U failed.

chippiez
chippiez

@Boondha  A single one of this "Old man's" pubes knows more about games, gaming, and how to design top notch product than an army of clowns like you.

shadowmarioxd
shadowmarioxd

Nintendo games today: Jump, go right, jump on flag, not much different than iOS and android games, right? Except the $60 price tag.

syrilram
syrilram

@dougzer0 All of those suggestions you had, the cooler strap, the fit your hand better while retaining the simplicity, that was all perfected with the wii-mote, which is still sold and very compatible with the Wii U, as in you don't even need the gamepad to use the system, and with some games you need.  Something that needs no improving shouldn't need to appear to be new and improved.  


Let's see if I got this straight, you say that they 'had' on the Wii with long tails, the games that just keep on selling to a specific audience, that they abandoned on Wii U.  Really?  Wii U already has Mario Kart 8, Wii Party *, Wii Fit U, Miiverse, Wii Sports Club, Art Academy, and Wario, among others, so just what is it that you want?


trotz75
trotz75

A better strap? How the f##k do u make a.strap better?

SpicaAntares
SpicaAntares

@jinzo9988 

You seem to be forgetting that families don't buy games. Oh sure a few, when they get a console, but then its over. Nintendo sold quite a few Wii but didn't sell games. Publishers are not crazy, they can read the numbers too, which means if Nintendo wants games now they'll have to develop them themselves. But one way or the other families won't buy another gimmick, they already have one collecting dust in their kids bedroom.

The problem with smartphones for Nintendo is that games are free or extremely cheap on them. All corporations are addicted to profits which means they won't make money trying to sell for whatever the 40th iteration of Super Mario Bros. (BTW you do have a lot, and I mean a lot, of very nice free games on smartphones.)

So, for me, Nintendo is dead in the water. They're associated with children's games while the core gamers, those spending money, are looking for adult games. Nintendo cannot go from stupid platform games to violent games anymore than Disney can make movies about serial killers rampaging in a city.

ArabrockermanX
ArabrockermanX

i think you need to check how many IPs Nintendo owns...

ArabrockermanX
ArabrockermanX

I think you need to check the definition of relevant... They could lose it if they don't change but this last E3 showed they are changing and hopefully they are going back to difficult games.

As for the same games comment, have fun with:

Kill Zone, a mediocre FFPS series that does little to differentiate its self

Halo remastered with yet another new Halo next year. That series has been on a steep decline since 3 the last great entry.

Forza, now a yearly title edition with excessively overpriced DLC. It took MK how many generations to get to 8 games(including handhelds)? Because Forza is going to pass it with just the racing sim series this generation...

TLoU remastered and Uncharted 4

GTAV upgraded(ya Im buying this one).

Repetition is how the industry works, everyone does it. Stop pretending it is something exclusive to Nintendo when it is something people want... At least with Nintendo their newer titles usually play completely different from their older ones, my only gripe with them is they lost their challenge which it seems like Miyamoto wants to bring that back. At the very least he is talking about deeper game mechanics which is always welcome IMO

PS you should work on your reading comprehension what he is saying makes sense... He is talking about how many people wanted simple experiences like Wii Sports or CoD single player. Even CoD's MP is very simplistic but MP always adds some depth even to bad games.

KiraDEATHNOTE
KiraDEATHNOTE

@henryblackman @Ultramarinus It is a scam. I won't be buying one either because I already have a 3DS. I have no problem with a remodel version but a remodel system that is a little bit more powerful and has it's own games as well? Why not just call it a next gen system instead?

Ultramarinus
Ultramarinus

@henryblackman @Ultramarinus Because all the current 3DS owners will have obsolete bricks in a few months, in the middle of a console generation. It's going to get top of the line, big name exclusive games.

trotz75
trotz75

Sorry u said cooler strap, but the question still applies, just with cooler in the sentence

constantcritic
constantcritic

@ArabrockermanX Point stands... They take the most desirable ones and throw them into these other games so people can play them instead of producing a new game.

medafaded
medafaded

@ArabrockermanX We are not pretending, you are in denial. It is exclusive to Nintendo, I don't play any of the games you listed. Yes you listed big title names, but those aren't the ones that keep us playing the PS, or XB, except halo for XB. If nintendo is changing, and is relevant then what games are coming out that are different, and new to attract the non passive gamers? 

constantcritic
constantcritic

@kennythomas26 @constantcritic No idea man.  People are fickle and gullible.


Nintendo as soon as the sh*t fell from the fan ran right out and said they are going to solve their problems by developing the "next big thing" which is a health device?  It was apparent then as it is now that they were disconnected and don't understand the current consumer group and industry.  


Isn't it obvious?  People still have those gimmicks in their closet, but Nintendo being the king of the fad still fails to realize that the industry is mature now.  Gamers too are more mature than when NES came out.  People are growing a bit tired of that stuff and want to chill out with a no frills system that plays games as they would expect the next generation would.  


At this point, gimmicks are going to be hard to come by.  Next up: VR.  It's really the only thing that could put Nintendo back on top is if they came out with a better VR device and platform than Facebook and Sony are planning.

m_a_t_h_e_a_d_
m_a_t_h_e_a_d_

@Ultramarinus Obsolete bricks? what world do you live in? I still have a DSi, a PSP; they didn't become obsolete bricks because new hardware arrived. The 3DS is 2 years old now and it's time for something new. The old 3DS won't stop working on the day the new one hits the market.

ArabrockermanX
ArabrockermanX

@Ultramarinus I see, you are suffering from head up your *** syndrome. 


No Nintendo isn't going to go and alienate a platform with 40 million owners. That's stupid they'll have some niche games like Xenoblade that are exclusive to it but most games will continue coming to the older model.

kennythomas26
kennythomas26

@constantcritic @kennythomas26  I don't know man didn't they lose a lot of money on the first one they tried to do with that Virtual Boy and even The Glove.


I game this some thought and I don't like to see anyone lose their job but I think that dude at Nintendo America should get let go I think he is what is holding Nintendo back the last couple of gens for them the need some like Phil Spencer and even like Miyamoto because look at what he has done in just a short few month's since E3 he announced a new Star Fox game if I'm not mistaken, They got a hold of that Devil's Third game and grabbed Bayonetta 2.


I think Nintendo can probably make the tablet controller optional device and maybe waited one more year to release the system maybe, but that is just me and my opinion.

KiraDEATHNOTE
KiraDEATHNOTE

@m_a_t_h_e_a_d_ @Ultramarinus 

All 3DS system should be able to play all 3DS games. 

If they're going to make a system that has it's own games then what's the difference between current gen and next gen?

Ultramarinus
Ultramarinus

@ArabrockermanX @Ultramarinus You keep telling yourself that. Because wishful thinking is known to alter reality. They're aware that they'll be able to sell this enough to cover losses from WiiU debacle. Many people already throwing their wallets to the screen so Nintendo couldn't care less if some of them got sour.

medafaded
medafaded

@ArabrockermanX @medafaded reread my first sentence, now did I say your in denial about that? Typically? Your a gamspot user aren't you? haha! Did you even try to come up with a counter point? You didn't even answer the question I asked you. Now stop pretending your smarter, and better than us gamespot user, you exclude your self from, and answer the question, so I can give you an  single counterpoint.  If nintendo is changing, and is relevant then what games are coming out that are different, and new to attract the non passive gamers? 

constantcritic
constantcritic

@kennythomas26 @constantcritic True, true.  Completely agree on getting rid of the guys with the funny name.  He seems like a stick in the mud, and hasn't done much of anything for Nintendo.  


One of the reasons VR is important is not just Nintendo, but the future of possibilities it holds when it's finally done right (and doesn't make people sick).  It can create that truly immersive experience for everyone.  Imagine playing the next TES game and looking out and seeing grass in front of you in a field, not on a screen, and then turning your head and seeing someone ride up on a life sized horse.  It's going to be big, but it's been in development for almost 40 years.  


Nintendo should have bought Occulus Rift, not Facebook....