A portion of a Forbes interview with Reggie Fils-Aime…
Forbes: How do you explain the Wii U to people who haven’t had a chance to play with it?
Reggie Fils-Aime: What we are doing with Wii U is creating an ability for games to leverage two different screens; the big screen in your room, and the smaller handheld screen in front of you. By doing so it opens up all of these different experiences. The experience I use to describe it to someone is to imagine a first person shooter, where instead of constantly having to look at the screen, now I’ve got things happening all around me.
It’s a great experience. I don’t think it’s going to be a hard sell. I think that communicating to consumers through the magic of the second window, you can have a totally unique experience, with another player still in the room… I don’t think it’s a difficult sell.
F: You don’t think consumers will be confused by two Nintendo consoles on shelves?
RFA: They are different machines, and they’re going to have their own separate software. Even though the Wii software is backward compatible to Wii U, the branding will be a little bit different, the messaging will be a little bit different. I think we’ve had enough experiences separating out consoles in a transitional period to make that happen.
F: So if I’m connected to Netflix on my Wii, I could watch Netflix on the controller?
RFA: Theoretically, that’s possible.
F: How will the Wii U inter-operate with Nintendo’s handheld game devices?
RFA: All we’ve said to date is that we see the opportunity for cross-platform playing. We have one key developer with a very strong relationship to Nintendo, the same developer who created Smash Brothers, that is envisioning a Smash Brothers experience that will be cross platform between Wii U and 3DS. So we’re certainly thinking about it. What I would say is our experience will likely be very different than what our competitors are doing.
F: Would it be reasonable to expect there might be a new or significantly upgraded online presence when the new console comes out?
RFA: We’ve said that the Wii U will have an extremely robust online experience. There will be other publishers talking about that as well, and from our perspective, we think it’s much more compelling for that information to come from the publishers than to come from us.
F: You were first on the 3D bandwagon with the 3DS, now Sony’s selling a 3D monitor, and 3D gaming is becoming more mainstream. Does 3D come to the console at some point?
RFA: In our view, what’s key to the 3D experience is that there be nothing between you and the machine. So for us, 3D gaming without glasses is a key part of the proposition. Right now the TV’s that offer that… I would argue they’re overpriced.. and a fairly small screen. There may come a time when 3D without glasses becomes appropriate for console, but we don’t see that in the near future.