Iwata: Wii Music, Animal Crossing disappointing

Nintendo president hopeful for games' long-term chances despite slowing Wii sales in Japan, says higher price will let DSi sell alongside DS Lite for some time.


Last week, the quarterly financial report victory lap that has become a Nintendo standard in recent years featured a slight stumble, as the Wii and DS maker cut its full-year revenue and profit projections. The tempered expectations were primarily due to the strengthening of the Japanese yen, but in a newly translated post-earnings conference call, Iwata acknowledged some Nintendo products that failed to live up to expectations.

Despite sales of 2.5 million, Nintendo thinks Wii Music struck a slightly sour note.
Despite sales of 2.5 million, Nintendo thinks Wii Music struck a slightly sour note.

"Wii Music, as of now, has not achieved its true potential," Iwata said when asked about the game's performance. He added, "Currently, I think that the appeal of Wii Music has not yet been fully conveyed and accepted by those who could be interested. We do not like to think that we failed with Wii Music nor that we should abandon sales support. If we had approached Brain Training with that mentality, the software would have not achieved the current sales situation. The first-week unit sales of the original Brain Training in Japan was just around 45,000. We should not have the attitude that a game does not have sales potential because the first week or first month sales were small."

Other disappointments for Nintendo included Animal Crossing: City Folk and the reception it and Wii Music received in Japan.

"At the end of last year, Nintendo launched two Wii titles, Animal Crossing and Wii Music, in hopes that the Japanese consumers would appreciate them and revitalize the Wii market in Japan," Iwata said. "Our efforts have not lived up to our expectation. While Wii had very strong momentum in the overseas markets, the Wii market in Japan (during the year-end sales season) showed a slow start, did not show sharp trajectory in sales, and ended up moving back to the sales level of non-sales-season level quickly."

Despite the disappointment, Iwata emphasized that Wii Music and Animal Crossing shouldn't be considered failures by any means. Worldwide, Nintendo has sold 3.2 million copies of Animal Crossing: City Folk and 2.5 million copies of Wii Music.

As for the company's upcoming hardware, the DSi, Iwata addressed how quickly he expects it to overtake the hardware's current iteration, the DS Lite. He mentioned that the DS Lite replaced the original DS on North American shelves very quickly because it carried the same price as its predecessor.

"This time, considering the current foreign currency exchange rates, there is no possibility of selling DSi overseas with the same price as DS Lite at all. There will have to be a difference in price. With this price difference, I think that the DS Lite and DSi will be sold side by side in the Americas and in Europe, but I will not be able to comment on their ratio today as we have not announced the prices and we will have to see how people react to the announcement."

Already on sale in Japan for ¥18,900 ($179), the DSi is set for North American and European release by the end of summer.

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