Nintendo UK: We are inclusive, not exclusive

David Yarnton and Dawn Paine of Nintendo UK talk strategy, how it's paid off, and what's in store for Nintendo's future at their London event.

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At an event in east London this morning titled "Mind, Body, and Console," Nintendo revealed its latest sales figures and explained the strategy that has made it such a success.

Nintendo UK's general manager, David Yarnton, told the audience that before the release of the Nintendo DS and the Wii, he believed that the industry was in "crisis." He said that the number of video game players had been declining, especially in Nintendo's home country, Japan. He said, "The video game penetration in households has never risen above 30 percent. We were basically just selling more consoles to the same teenage boys."

He said that this realization caused the company to sit down and think about what its strategy would be moving forward. He said, "We are not fighting our competitors, we are fighting apathy...Instead of trying to improve technology for its own sake, we decided to focus on those who weren't even playing games, who weren't on the radar."

Nintendo's strategy, which is demonstrated in its new advertising slogans, includes phrases like "For Everyone," and is the way the company intends to keep moving forward. Yarnton commented, "We are proud to be inclusive, not exclusive."

He also added that the company was also proud of its hardcore gamers, who would not be left out this holiday season, with the release of such titles as Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, Super Mario Galaxy, and The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass.

Nintendo UK marketing director Dawn Paine said that part of this decision had come after Nintendo had done a survey of some 1,600 adults and asked them why they didn't game. She said, "The results of the survey showed that, at best, games are seen as a waste of time; at worst, an isolated, sad addiction that removes the player from reality." Paine said that Nintendo wanted to make games that didn't replace real life, but instead became part of people's daily lives and routines.

She added, "We decided that bringing tennis to homes wasn't enough; we now want to turn the living room into a fitness centre."

The company then showed a series of upcoming adverts, which will form part of its multimillion-pound marketing campaign for this holiday season. The adverts feature celebrities Nicole Kidman, Patrick Stewart, Julie Walters, Phillip Schofield, Fern Britton, Zoe Ball, and Johnny Ball playing Brain Training and other Nintendo titles.

It also announced Sight Training: Enjoy Exercising and Relaxing Your Eyes, which has been renamed from its US name of Flash Focus: Vision Training in Minutes a Day, for release in the UK market in November. The game features a series of "sight exercises" that aim to improve such things as hand-eye coordination and peripheral vision. It works in a similar way to Brain Training, with players taking an "Eye Age" test, being given an Eye Age Score, and then doing a series of exercises every day.

Gail Stephenson, head of orthoptics at Liverpool University, was brought in to comment on the title. "You can't increase the amount of numbers you see on a chart through exercise, but you can make your brain and eyes work at a higher rate...We use our eyes to 50 to 60 percent of their potential, although athletes use their eyes to a higher level."

Sight Training will be released in the UK on November 23. Other games coming to the British Nintendo range in 2008 include Wii Fit, My Word Coach, and Face Training.

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