Reggie Interview June 30 Feature

Reggie discusses Nintendo’s E3 showing, Wii U, Skylanders, amiibo and mobile

Forbes added a new interview with Reggie Fils-Aime to their website today, where he discussed several topics, including Nintendo’s E3 showing, Wii U, Skylanders, amiibo and mobile.

You can find all the quotes below, as usual.

On Nintendo’s E3 announcements and if he’s happy with what was shown:

Reggie Fils-Aime: Yeah, I am. The way we look at these events is it builds, all right? It’s not what happens day one or day two. It’s by the end of the week, have we moved the perception forward on our games, our position in the industry, the innovation that we’re bringing? And I feel very good right now.

The way we look at this show, is what do we want to focus on over the next six to nine months. There are some games that we announce while we are here, but more often, we’re showing complete builds. We’re showing exactly what our vision is, with the goal of really helping people understand why they’re going to have so much fun.

Arguably, Star Fox is brand new, hadn’t been seen before. But we had hinted at it last year. Super Mario Maker, we had shown a little bit last year, but the game that we have here is much more robust. So it’s just a different approach. And some of our fans get it. Others would always love to see more. And we hear that, and then we move on.

On Nintendo’s lack of hardware talk:

Our focus is over the current six- to nine-months. In our handheld space, we’ve just launched the new Nintendo 3DS XL. So from that standpoint, there is no new hardware coming over the next six- to nine-month period. There might be some new variants. The thing about the handheld space, consumers love new designs, new colors. And we’ll continue to offer those types of experiences. But there’s not going to be a fundamentally new piece of handheld tech coming out.

In the home console space, we’re focused on Wii U. NX is in the future. That’s something that we’ll talk about at the appropriate time. But right now, it’s all about driving our Wii U business.

On whether the fact that people know about NX make it difficult for Nintendo to get the message out there about the current platform:

Honestly, no. Consumers know that effectively, as we complete one piece of hardware, we always start thinking about the next. So we’re constantly challenging ourselves. What’s new? What’s different? What’s coming down the pipe?

The way we approach it is when there’s a game or an approach that we can’t do on the current system, that’s when we begin in earnest to focus on the next system. So what that means is that our developers, a number of them must have certain ideas that will be enabled by the NX. We’re going to have to develop those ideas and get that software ready. And that’s going to drive the timing for when we provide more details on NX.

On Wii U hardware sales:

So as we stand here on, a global basis, I think the install base is over nine million units. That’s what was announced as of the end of March. Nintendo of America territories represent about half of that volume. So from a Nintendo of America standpoint, we are focused on continuing to drive that install base. And we believe with Mario Maker, with Star Fox, with Yoshi’s Woolly World, those three games in particular, we think we’re going to have a strong year and drive the install base.

On whether Star Fox and Yoshi can convince more casual players to buy a Wii U:

I would argue that on the list [of upcoming games], there are four hardware drivers. Super Mario Maker clearly is going to drive hardware. There are consumers who have always wanted to make their levels of Mario games. So that game will really speak to those consumers.

Yoshi’s Woolly World for young families and new entrants into the overall video gaming space, I think, is going to be a hardware driver. You know, as you look around the E3 show floor, there’s not a lot of content out there for families. And so for a family with seven, eight, or nine-year-old looking to get into video gaming, I would argue the combination of Yoshi’s Woolly World plus the collaboration we have on Skylanders… I think it’s going to be a hardware driver for young families.

Star Fox is a fan favorite. And I do think that that game has the ability to drive hardware for us. And then the other one I would point to is Xenoblade Chronicles X. Especially for an older consumer, and potentially a consumer that owns a competitive console, this game with its massive open world, beautifully rendered, I think it’s going to be something that’s going to excite that fan and drive them into the business.

On the Skylanders partnership with Activision:

When Activision was first exploring and developing the Skylander concept, they came to Nintendo. And they came to us because of our strength with families and our understanding of building strong IP. So arguably, this is a collaboration that’s four plus years in the making.

It was E3 last year, as we unveiled Amiibo that we started having deep conversations about what an IP collaboration might look like. And I say that because if you look at the Skylander executions leading up to this year and introduction of vehicles, you had Swap Force where you would swap out different parts. That doesn’t fit established characters like Donkey Kong and Bowser. You had Trap Team where it was trapping the opposing force, that didn’t fit in as directly. Vehicles, like the ability to conceptualize vehicles that would go along with Donkey Kong and with Bowser, that fit. So that was really the kick off of the idea. And it truly was a collaboration. The Vicarious Visions team would visit Kyoto. Our developers would visit Vicarious Visions outside of Albany. There was a lot of communication, and the end result is just fabulous.

On whether more characters could appear in Skylanders:

We are all excited to see how this integration works. And both companies love to chase success. So let’s see. I think the collaboration has been very strong, and personally, I’m very excited about the execution.

On amiibo:

The toys-to-life business is well developed here in the Americas, more developed than Europe, and significantly more developed than Japan. So as we had discussions about the Amiibo business, we always believed it could be big. And we pushed the global organization on the production side. We pushed it in terms of the thought process and how to merchandise these figures. So we’ve always believed that this would be a big business.

Through the end of March, we’ve announced that Nintendo globally sold about 10.5 million Amiibo. Fully two thirds of that are coming out of the Americas, so we are the lion share of that business. And we’re going to continue to drive it. I can share with you that when we just launched this most recent wave, over roughly a 30-day timeframe, just in the United States, we sold a million Amiibo. And so the momentum we have with our Amiibo business is very strong.

I’m not going to share with you our projections. But what I will tell you is that we are pushing and challenging to continue growing our supply chain because we see continued opportunity. We see a tremendous amount of opportunity.

On who’s buying them, collectors or those who use them in games:

We’re seeing both. There are collectors and completionists out there. And those are probably the consumers being the most vocal about not being able to get a particular figure.

On Nintendo’s mobile strategy:

We’re not talking in detail about mobile here at this conference. The only things I can tell you, first, we have a robust partnership with DeNA. They bring a lot of knowledge and a lot of infrastructure into our efforts. We obviously have the IP. And we believe we’ve got game creators that can do wonderful things on any platform.

We’ve also said that we’re going to be doing a limited number of games and applications in this space. And we say that because as you look across the landscape, most of the players in this space have won it. So it’s not like the video game business where there’s going to be a lot of development across a lot of different franchises. It’s going to be a very focused develop. And we’ve said that the first application will come out this calendar year.

So that’s all I can tell you. But certainly, it is something that we’re committed to. And our goal is to be Nintendo in this space, which is all about being innovative and being fun.


NOTE: Did yo notice how Reggie keeps hinting that the NX is a console instead of a portable!?