Iwata: Wii Sports 2 benched for now

Nintendo CEO dismisses possibility of sequel for popular console pack-in popping up anytime soon.

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Satoru Iwata.
Satoru Iwata.

Wii Sports has been seen by many as a primary factor in the dramatic success of the Wii worldwide. In Japan, the only territory where it was not bundled with the console, over 2 million units of the minigame compilation have been sold, according to research firm Media Create. According to a recent Financial Times report, Wii Sports' accessibility has helped convince over 7 million nontraditional gamers to purchase the Wii in other territories, making the console the best-selling "next-generation" machine.

Given the success of Wii Sports, one would assume a follow-up would be guaranteed. However, in a recent interview with the Japanese game blog 1101.com, Nintendo president and CEO Saturo Iwata announced that Wii Sports won't come out anytime soon--if it comes out at all. "We're not going to take such an easy way, not by including seven new sports in the game since Wii Sports has five," he said. "We're not closing our doors to the possibility of a sequel, but it's definitely not coming out soon."

According to Iwata, a rushed Wii Sports sequel would only introduce incremental improvements that wouldn't be as fun for players. "If you start making such decisions without thinking, you start doing the easy stuff. You disengage yourself with the pursuit of true entertainment," he explained. Furthermore, Iwata said simply following Wii Sports with more-of-the-same gameplay wouldn't be in line with Nintendo's goal to expand the gaming market. "Our mission is to surprise people in a good way, and this became very clear as we made Nintendo DS and Wii. You can't open up a new market of customers if you can't surprise them."

Branching out with this mentality, Iwata notes that it isn't only a Wii Sports sequel that is being put on the back burner. According to the Nintendo exec, the similarly popular Nintendo genres of brain-training and cooking games are being sidelined in favor of new types of titles. "Even if we make great products, if the number of new customers doesn't increase, it won't reach people," Iwata said. "That was clear to us, so doing the easy was not an option."

In the end, however, Iwata notes that it's much easier to take the position of innovator while a company is in a solid financial position. "I think we can say we won't do the easy because we are currently making a profit," said Iwata. "If we were having a hard time, maybe we will chose the easy [way], so that we could make a profit for certain."

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