Reggie Fils-Aime Interviews June 22 Feature

Reggie discusses Wii U’s slow start, teases regular New 3DS for NA, Digital vs. Physical games, more

Reggie has been giving lots of interviews lately, so I compiled a few extra quotes of his from the most recent ones below.


From Polygon’s Interview:

On Wii U’s slow launch:

“This industry is all about content. I can map out why the Wii took off at launch, it had two killer pieces at launch: Twilight Princess, Wii Sports. Look at our DS business. Our DS business was OK, but it was the launch of DS Lite, the launch of Nintendogs, the launch of the first New Super Mario Bros. where that system sort of dramatically took off.”

“So what happened with Wii U? Once the software came that showcased the capabilities of the system, guess what happened? The hardware took off.”

“I think it began holiday of 2013 as we prepped those launches that gave us some momentum. Then Mario Kart 8 hit, then it was Smash. I think it really was holiday of ’13, when we started to get the momentum.”

Reggie also pointed out that something similar happened with the 3DS, when Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D and Mario Kart 7 were released. The system’s sales began to pick up after that.

On how Nintendo is in front of the curve in terms of when a company might next release a next-gen console, and how the company takes big chances while innovating in video games:

“So, bad news for you, I’ve got nothing to share specifically about NX.

“One element of your premise is that Nintendo as a company has a history of being innovative and driving innovation. You look at the DS with the incorporation of the touch screen. You look at what we did with Wii. We’re constantly trying to innovate. So to frame it as ‘Here’s a company with a history of innovating. I’d love for them to innovate more.’ We accept that and that is part of our DNA.

“The other thing I would say is that, we see in our existing business, and we anticipate looking into the future, how this gaming industry is going to continue to evolve. And absolutely, our challenge is to think about what that future looks like and create a business model, technology approach and consumer messaging approach that brings it all together to a successful platform and a successful platform launch. We’re constantly thinking about that.”

Reggie talking about how Iwata was right to announce that Nintendo was working on its next gaming system a few months ago:

“The fact of the matter is, Nintendo is always thinking about new systems as soon as we launch the existing system. Why? Because this is the only business we’re in. We don’t sell TV sets, we don’t sell operating systems. We are in the video game entertainment space. So we have to constantly be thinking about what’s next, what the future? In always thinking about the future there always is the risk that there is going to be some slip or inadvertent disclosure.

“From Mr. Iwata’s perspective, as we were announcing our partnership with [mobile game company] DENA, it was important to reinforce that we are continue to be committed to the dedicated gaming business. Now our job is to continue driving the existing business. Our job back in Kyoto is to continue pushing on our new innovations to be announced later and to continue to drive this business forward.”

On how games designed for people to play in short bursts tend to do better as digital sales than physical ones:

“Let me put it this way. As we look at our software business, I find it startling, but once you think about it, not surprising that the digital mix of software is different game-by-game-by-game.”

“Consumers want to have it, they don’t want to be swapping out cards. Conversely, games like Smash Bros. 3DS, a game where consumers invest a lot of time mastering move sets and really becoming an expert with a particular character. While it would never happen, the consumer is afraid they’re going to lose the data and so it’s in a physical form because they feel more secure having the card.”

“I do think that consumers find a sense of security in having the physical thing, and given that, I think the option of the physical thing always needs to be there. How that manifests itself in our future development we’ll see. But it is an observation based on sales whether it’s on our 3DS or Wii U, the wide range of digital sales is pretty striking.”


From Kotaku’s Interview:

Teasing the regular New 3DS and explaining why it didn’t originally launch in the NA territory:

“So we’ve got nothing to announce here. We’ve certainly taken note of all of the readers and consumers that expressed desire for the base model.”

“We analyzed the results in Japan and saw the lion’s share of the volume was on the XL model, and that’s with no 2DS existing in the Japanese market. And so as we thought about what’s the best line-up for us we thought the new XL and 2DS would be our best line-up. Not going to make any promises but, you know, I would suggest to your readers that they stay tuned and maybe some special SKUs might show up.”

Reggie also revealed that there are digital games in the works that are exclusive to the New 3DS (I assume he is talking about titles like Lifespeed!?).