Iwata: Nintendo makes games, not art

Nintendo president Satoru Iwata believes it can right current poor Wii U performance by making games that resonate strongly with players.


Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has explained why the company focuses on making games, rather than art, in a three-part interview with Toyo Keizai Online, as reported by Kotaku.

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Iwata began by restating the Wii U’s current place in the games market, acknowledging that while the system hasn't yet seen the mass adoption the company had hoped for, and that software support has been limited, Nintendo believes it can remedy the situation.

"It's difficult to say 'the Wii U is a system that does such and such' in a simple manner, and understanding it takes time." Iwata said. "While we unfortunately had a period in the first half of 2013 where releases were sparse and hardware sales have lulled, I don't think that the concept and potential of the Wii U have been rejected."

The Nintendo president believes the key to turning around the troubled Wii U is to focus not on making games into art, but rather on creating games that strike strong chords with the audience.

"Nintendo developers are extremely insatiable when it comes to whether what they make resonates with customers or not. They'll do anything to achieve it." Iwata said. "Both Miyamoto [Shigeru] and I repeatedly say, 'It's not like we are making pieces of art, the point is to make a product that resonates with and is accepted by customers'."

Iwata went on, saying, "Creating is like an expression of egoism. People with a strong energy to create something have a 'this is the strength I believe is right' sort of confidence to start from. Their standpoint is that 'this is the right thing to do, so this must be what's good for the customer, as well.' But the final goal of a product is to resonate with and be accepted by people. You can't just force your way through. By saying 'the point is to be accepted', I mean, if you go to a customer with your idea and you realise they don't understand it, it's more important that they do, and you should shift your idea."

While Nintendo’s Wii hardware recently celebrated passing 100 million units sold, its more recent counterpart the Wii U managed to shift just 160,000 units worldwide during the April-June quarter, taking the struggling system’s lifetime sales to 3.61 million units.

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