Projects only Nintendo would tackle
A few weeks back, we were met with an explosion of Nintendo information thanks to Reggie Fils-Aimé. Reggie was promoting his new book, Disrupting the Game, and plenty of outlets had the chance to talk to the big man about his time at Nintendo. Turns out there’s still a few more details to be gleaned from Nintendo America’s former president, as Reggie had yet another interesting chat with the team at CNET.
In particular, Reggie opened up about some past tech from Nintendo. In the first snippet, Reggie commented on the Wii Vitality Sensor, a peripheral that the company revealed, but never launched. According to Reggie, he wouldn’t be surprised to learn that the idea is still being worked on to this day.
Nintendo’s history is to do a lot of experimentation, to play around with different concepts. And at the time that the Vitality Sensor was being explored, Nintendo was really focused on expanding the gaming population, having as many different people experience gaming. They were being very thoughtful around what was going on within overall culture: issues around sleep, issues around anxiety. The company really saw a potential opportunity to gamify in this area, and do something that would not only have benefits back to the player, but would potentially expand the gaming population. A key insight about Nintendo is no idea ever truly dies. Ideas are constantly played with.
Just as an example: We launched the Wii. And we talked about how the concept of Miis had actually been played around with by Mr. Miyamoto years and years before. It’s an idea that just needs to percolate until the technology is there, the game is there to bring it all to life. I don’t know this to be true, and I’m sure it’ll drive rampant speculation as I say this, but it wouldn’t surprise me if there are developers continuing to just experiment with the idea and in this space. And when they come up with an interesting idea that really wows the consumer. They’ll bring it back. That’s the nature of a company that is always focused on innovation and doing things on their own schedule for the benefit of the player.
Reggie also talked about Nintendo Labo, which didn’t turn out to be as big a hit as Nintendo wanted. Reggie discussed what he thought would happen with the game, and the vision Nintendo had planned for it.
Labo, I thought that was going to be such a home run. Not only from a pure consumer gamer perspective: I saw a huge potential with Labo in classrooms, and as a STEM education type of product. Globally, it did well, but certainly not to the expectations that the company had. Similarly, the VR experiences [of Labo VR] – such fun, and really immersive, quite different than a typical VR experience.
I thought maybe that was going to be the breakthrough, to help push it over the edge, but it didn’t work out that way. But I’m confident that the company is just continuing to experiment. It is its nature, to experiment with these types of technologies, and to try and figure out how to make it fun. As an experience, parents with kids teaching some STEM and STEAM related skills, there’s clearly an opportunity.
Labo was such a stupid idea so I'm kinda glad it didn't perform to their expectations. Too much of the Wii and Wii U era was spent chasing gimmicks at the expense of good games. I don't want them to give up on experimentation all together but Labo is something they should have limited to internal testing.