Nintendo embraces user-created content

Reggie Fils-Aime touts a slate of titles designed to let gamers make and share things with others; Wii Fit dubbed an "evergreen" hit.


Nintendo prides itself on its "blue ocean" strategy of innovating rather than imitating, but the Wii and DS maker is finding itself eager to hop aboard the recent trend of user-generated content. In a presentation at today's BMO Capital Markets Interactive Entertainment Conference, Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime said user-created content was--along with woes in the greater economy--a primary factor shaping the game industry.

"If you're in the entertainment business, any form of entertainment, this is the game-changer," Fils-Aime said, adding, "The era of passive entertainment is waning, and active entertainment is literally where the action is."

Fils-Aime stressed how important it was for games with creation tools to allow users to share their work with others, and noted a number of upcoming Nintendo titles, going into some detail with Animal Crossing: City Folk on the Wii. Fils-Aime also touted the Japanese release Band Bros. Deluxe, which allows users to create and share their own music for the rhythm game.

The company's future slate also includes a number of other titles with a focus on user-created content. In addition to the previously announced DS title Wario Ware Myself, Fils-Aime brought up Girls' Mode--in which players can design clothes and run a fashion store--and DSi Design Moving Notepad, a virtual doodle pad and flipbook animation program using the latest iteration of the handheld hardware.

Regardless of how those titles fare, Nintendo is counting on continued sales of its "evergreen" titles, games like Brain Age and Nintendogs, which the publisher believes can continue to sell steadily month in and month out. Fils-Aime tentatively added to that list today, saying the company's sales data suggest Balance-Board-equipped Wii Fit may be deserving of the evergreen title.

While he couldn't speak authoritatively regarding the industry-tracking NPD Group's October sales figures (expected to be released later today), Fils-Aime said he believes Wii Fit is the only game in the US to sell through at least 475,000 copies in three separate months of 2008, and has generated more money than either (but not both) the PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360 edition of Grand Theft Auto IV.

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