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GN Podcast #466

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Reggie on wooing core gamers with Wii U, marketing plans, slight hope for Nintendo Power

Forbes: One of the reasons the Wii has been a success is because it expanded the market, and attracted a lot of first-time console buyers. How do you convince these new gamers to become return customers? I hear people saying, “I already have a video game machine. Why do I need to buy a new one?”

Reggie Fils-Aime: Well, what we’ve seen is that these new entrants to the market really have broadened their own gaming experiences. They started by playing Wii Sports, but then they graduated to games like Mario Kart and New Super Mario Bros. Wii. Then they continued on to experiences like Donkey Kong Country Returns or The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. So their gaming tastes have matured.

So we’ll continue to have all the family-friendly fare like Nintendo Land and New Super Mario Brothers U… but in addition, we’re going to have more active gamer content, which was something that was missing other than from Nintendo’s first party titles. Maybe these new entrants will find their first opportunity [to play] something like Call of Duty now that it can be delivered through Wii U.

Forbes: You’ve had issues winning over hardcore gamers because of big third party games, particularly first person shooters, that came out for PlayStation and Xbox, but not Wii. How do you fix that?

Reggie: I think you have to peel the onion back and ask why. And the why is that publishers creating these types of games have wanted to leverage their assets amongst multiple platforms. So when they created HD, online-driven platforms, it took them a significant amount of work to bring it on to the Wii. And that’s why we didn’t have those games. Now that we use HD and have strong online capabilities, we’ve broken the biggest barrier that the third party publishers had. Plus now we’re giving them this fantastic new tool called the GamePad to create new experiences.

So I mean you’re seeing it here –50 games in the launch window, demonstrated support by three of the biggest western publishers, plus all of the great support out of Japan. So we’re confident that we have this system that really will draw the best of third party publishers.

Forbes: One of the Wii U’s selling points is the unique multiplayer experience –one player using the Wii U GamePad and looking at their own screen, while other players use a remote and look at the TV. How are you going to sell people on a different kind of gaming, instead of just a bigger, faster machine?

Reggie: This challenge is a challenge we’ve faced before. Getting consumers to understand the two screen experience on the Nintendo DS is an example. Getting consumers to embrace motion gaming when they had never seen anything like a Wii remote before. Our approach is to partner our marketing teams with the product teams, and make sure that we identify those key product-based selling points, and then communicate them as broadly as possible.

So for example, you will see much more focused marketing that showcases this two screen experience, and why it’s so much fun. You’ll see much more hands-on activities for consumers, so that they can experience it themselves. We’ll be in malls across the country beginning right around Black Friday, to help consumers understand what this experience is all about, and to get them to advocate for it.

Forbes: Last month the editors of Nintendo Power announced that the magazine is shutting down after 24 years of publication. But they didn’t go out of business –Nintendo declined to renew their license. Does that mean that you have other plans for the license, like producing the magazine internally?

Reggie: We had a fabulous relationship with [Nintendo Power publisher] Future. When we made the decision a number of years ago on who would be the best publishing partner to work with, hands down they were the right choice, and they did a phenomenal job.

But this is a tough time for the print industry. And so mutually we came to the decision that Nintendo Power in a printed form didn’t make sense today. What the future holds, we’ll all see. But right now that December issue is going to be the last one. I’ll make sure to have my copy. I was a subscriber to the publication before I worked for the company, so the Nintendo Power brand personally is very meaningful to me. It’ll be a sad day when I open up that last issue.

Forbes: But you’re not closing the door on it returning, maybe as an online-only publication?

Reggie: We have nothing to announce today and there are no plans that are currently in place, but you said it. The Nintendo Power brand is very strong.

Full interview here

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Discussion Preview
16 total comments (View all)
User avatar
24 Sep 2012 14:26

I'm going to miss Nintendo Power...
User avatar
24 Sep 2012 14:29

I'm going to be that most of the people that bought a Wii for Wii Sports probably didn't end up playing Smash Bros or Skyward Sword...
User avatar
24 Sep 2012 14:36

People who got into gaming because of Wii Sports did not go on to play Skyward Sword. That's just dumb. If anything they moved on to Kinect or iPhone games. Of course, Reggie can't say that.
User avatar
24 Sep 2012 14:45

"And that’s why we didn’t have those games. Now that we use HD and have strong online capabilities, we’ve broken the biggest barrier that the third party publishers had."

This is complete bull. Epic are one company that claimed power was the issue and now they have a system that can run their games they aren't on there. It wouldn't hurt epic to come out and say what they really think but they won't do that because it looks unprofessional.

I think wii u will be a great system with a great library of games. I don't care about power. I only care about the games. Give me a good choice of games and it will be just fine for me.
User avatar
24 Sep 2012 14:51

Shaanyboi wrote:I'm going to be that most of the people that bought a Wii for Wii Sports probably didn't end up playing Smash Bros or Skyward Sword...


This. I know a lot of people who own a Wii, not a single one of them has Skyward Sword or Brawl.
User avatar
24 Sep 2012 14:53

CCFanboy wrote:"And that’s why we didn’t have those games. Now that we use HD and have strong online capabilities, we’ve broken the biggest barrier that the third party publishers had."

This is complete bull. Epic are one company that claimed power was the issue and now they have a system that can run their games they aren't on there. It wouldn't hurt epic to come out and say what they really think but they won't do that because it looks unprofessional.

I think wii u will be a great system with a great library of games. I don't care about power. I only care about the games. Give me a good choice of games and it will be just fine for me.


Epic doesn't have the tech they want in Wii U. It has the tech they wanted in the last round of systems. Now they're working on an engine that won't be on Wii U. Reggie's solution to the third party problem will only last so long. Hopefully we'll still get a few games here and there.....
User avatar
24 Sep 2012 15:07

ridleysaria wrote:Epic doesn't have the tech they want in Wii U. It has the tech they wanted in the last round of systems. Now they're working on an engine that won't be on Wii U. Reggie's solution to the third party problem will only last so long. Hopefully we'll still get a few games here and there.....

I still don't see what the problem is mate. The big cheese at epic said the new engine is being built with flexibility in mind. They are building it to work with as many things as possible.

"I'll state that I don't think it's our intention to bring Unreal Engine 4 to Wii U, but Unreal Engine 4 is going to be supremely scalable. We'll run on mobile phones and on a wide variety of things, so if a customer decides they want to port an Unreal Engine 4 game to Wii U, they could."
User avatar
24 Sep 2012 15:28

HD wasn't the problem Reggie. But keep telling yourself that.

Also, you can't "woo" core gamers if 90% of the core games are games they can get on a system they already own. All you have in the cort is Bayonetta 2 and it seems a lot of people would rather die than move to Wii U to play it.

@Shaanyboi

A few might have played SSB. But not Skyward Sword.

@ridleysaria

THIS.
User avatar
24 Sep 2012 15:33

@CCFanboy
Epic wants state of the art tech to develop on.

As for the topic, most people bought Mario Kart, NSMBW, Wii Fit, music games, lego games, and Just Dance games.
Skyward Sword is the most controversial Zelda game to date.

Reggie you need to learn "hardcore" and core gamers don't care for Nintendo...
User avatar
24 Sep 2012 15:36

CCFanboy wrote:"And that’s why we didn’t have those games. Now that we use HD and have strong online capabilities, we’ve broken the biggest barrier that the third party publishers had."

This is complete bull. Epic are one company that claimed power was the issue and now they have a system that can run their games they aren't on there. It wouldn't hurt epic to come out and say what they really think but they won't do that because it looks unprofessional.

I think wii u will be a great system with a great library of games. I don't care about power. I only care about the games. Give me a good choice of games and it will be just fine for me.


He said the biggest barrier -- not the only barrier. Truth is the system is 1.5-2.5x more powerful than what is out there today (in total) but won't be as powerful as the next round of consoles from the competitors. However, given scalability, people will be able to do whatever they want and/or feel they can make money doing.

It was really interesting, if you look at Wii software, that some of the early titles looked better than latter offerings because people actually tried. For example, look at the devolution of the Need for Speed series on the Wii.

Mike from Morgantown
User avatar
24 Sep 2012 16:30

@ Mike_Intellivision I was using epic as an example because Mark had said they would love to work on nintendo but it couldn't run their engine. I seem to remember him saying 'the second they launch it we are on it' but I could be mistaken. I'm sure there is other stuff. One thing I think is a factor is more to do with software performance. Bethesda already said they aren't on it until they have an install base.

Provided nintendo claim enough core market western support will jump on later but it would be nice to see Mark back his words and get on there. I'd love to see epic on nintendo again. Unless he meant porting their engine in which case they kept their word.
No Avatar
24 Sep 2012 17:46

third parties should look at port on wii u the way they look at dlc : it's free money , it cannot fail .

Both got the same thing in common , the main investment is completed and the audience is fully captive for the dlc . But with a similar ratio and a fifty percent more userbase than either platform , and less double ownership , yep the wii audience was there for the taking and they f*cked up . So minimal cost and an audience that is historically less prone to double system ownership , i think there's an opportunity . I mean as much as dlc , and that won't go anywhere soon
User avatar
24 Sep 2012 18:02

I think it would be great to have Nintendo create and publish Nintendo Power themselves again. The Wii U offers a great opportunity to produce a digital magazine that could be read on the Wii U gamepad or on the big screen, and which could allow you to play a game on the big screen while looking at complete level maps and walkthroughs on the gamepad (or at least let you suspend a game and switch to a magazine issue via the Home key.) They could include interactive features such as embedded videos, occasional web links, mini games, interactive polls and discussion groups, etc. They could sell each issue for $4.99 in the e-shop, and offer a yearly subscription that would let you save 20% to 50%. That would probably cover all the production costs for a small team fairly quickly. And any extra profit could then be used to make the product even better, since they would have stopped treating the magazine as a moneymaking business built around selling advertisements and instead begun to treat it as purely a tool for internal PR and outreach.
No Avatar
24 Sep 2012 19:07

He pretty much confirmed Nintendo Power is continuing in digital platform. Probably saving for December.
User avatar
25 Sep 2012 02:00

Yesterday a friend popped over who's been out of the loop with games for a long time and I spilled the beans for him on everything 3DS and Wii U. Needless to say, he wants both now.
User avatar
26 Sep 2012 14:35

The Wii U will be in the same boat as Wii. Once the next PS and Xbox launch, the Wii U will consist of awesome 1st party games and 3rd party downgrades and spinoffs.

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