The Washington Post recently published a new interview with Reggie Fils-Aime, where he discussed how Nintendo approaches sharing its IP, how they decide to incorporate online and local multiplayer, the way to new IP creation and their effort in the mobile space, among others.
Towards the end of the post, you will also find the latest Nintendo Minute where he discusses his E3 memories with Kit and Krysta.
You can find the full interview here, or just read most of the relevant quotes below:
On how Nintendo shares its IPs and characters:
I think Nintendo maybe has an unfair reputation. We’re in the entertainment business — we have been for over 125 years, starting with playing cards. Because we’re creators in this entertainment space, we take our intellectual property very seriously. And we want to make sure when we work with business partners or we work on collaborations that we’re partnering with people who understand the value of intellectual property, and can help us in propelling our IP forward.
When Skylanders was first introduced, Activision and Nintendo had already had a number of conversations. Because Activision recognized that with Nintendo’s strength with families and kids, that having conversations with us and creating a business would be effective, but it needed to fit with Nintendo’s philosophies and how we view the marketplace.
So it was the combination of Nintendo getting into the toys-to-life business [with its amiibo figures] and having the ability to have figures that work across multiple games — Skylanders included — plus an execution on the part of Activision that fit with our potential characters. That’s what enabled this idea to happen.
That’s why you see Donkey Kong as well as Bowser in Skylanders — in an Activision game. The development team there, Vicarious Visions, did a wonderful job creating a great game. But what was really impressive was the creative collaboration on the specific intellectual property –on Bowser, on Donkey Kong, on how they move and the types of vehicles they use. I believe the collaboration works so effectively because we have a company that understands IP in Activision.
I don’t think it’s so much that the approach to our IP has changed. I think maybe we’re finding more partners and we’re finding people who really share our vision for how to leverage intellectual property.
On balancing online multiplayer with local multiplayer:
A couple facts and figures — and all of these are focused on the Americas business, that I lead. Both the Wii U and the Nintendo 3DS are highly connected devices, meaning that north of 90 percent of the devices out there are connected to the Internet. With that online connectivity, it really enables online gameplay to happen. That’s why Mario Kart 7 online is so fabulous. that’s why Smash Bros. both on Wii U and 3DS are so fabulous in a connected environment.
So you’re absolutely right, I think, we continue, I believe, to lead the world in couch connected gaming, but we’re continuing to drive our business forward from an online perspective as well, and we’re doing effectively with that part of our business.
On whether online is something Nintendo will continue to build into future games:
Absolutely. The one interesting element though is that Nintendo views the connected experience game by game. Meaning let’s take Yoshi’s Woolly World. We have two-player mode in that game. Because it is such a great couch coop game, we made the decision that it won’t have online gameplay.
But conversely you look at a game like Mario Maker, the ability to upload your levels to the Internet, the ability for people to follow you and know when you’ve launched a new level because they value your creativity, all of that is right for that particular game. So we view it on a game by game basis, what makes the most sense, what type of connectivity do we enable. But make no mistake, we make sure that every nintendo game has an element of social gameplay. Because we believe that’s very important.
On creating new IPs:
Our developers start with unique gameplay mechanics and then they think about, where does it fit best. So for example, the developers for Splatoon shared that the really love that swimming through fluids gameplay mechanic, and they thought about how it could be applied to existing IP. But decided that it really didn’t fit. So that was the impetus to create this brand new IP leveraging squids, and this backstory with octopi — and Splatoon was born.
But it really starts with what’s the gameplay, what’s going to be fun and how do we leverage it back with consumers. We make the decision around the IP to leverage that, what’s going to be fun.
On their approach to the mobile space:
The way we think about this broad handheld gaming space is first, gamers love to game. They’ll game on home console, they’ll game on a dedicated handheld device, they’ll game on mobile, they’ll game on tablets. They love to game. And so it’s not an either or proposition, it’s all about how do we get the gamer to spend more time playing our content.
Second, there’s a variety of different types of gameplay experiences that you can have. You can have the analogy to a snack, you can have the analogy to a full meal. And what we find is that when it comes to having the full meal, it really is best delivered through a dedicated handheld system. You’ve got the processing power, the full range of inputs and buttons. In our case you’ve got unique features like 3D visuals, the connective experiences around street passing. So for those big robust experiences, a dedicated system makes sense. For things that are a little bit more like a snack, a little bit lighter, a little bit less time consuming, that’s where you’re seeing a lot of smart device gaming. Whether it’s phone or tablet.
And there is a third piece. We’ve said publicly that we believe, done smartly, we can introduce our IP to new consumers through a smart device game. As they see what might be fun about Mario [on a smart device], they’ll then go to the full meal and have a true Mario experience on our dedicated handheld or our dedicated home console.
That’s our logic. It’s all about satisfying a broad range of gamers, providing them a broad range of gaming experiences and in the end being able to monetize all of those experiences whether it’s on smart devices or on our dedicated gaming businesses.
On things fans should be excited about:
The first thing we should be really excited about are all the great games we’re launching, for Nintendo, we focus on games that are launching over the next 6-9 months, and we’ve got a ton of great content coming. The second thing that people should be excited about are all of the other ongoing innovations that we’re working on that we’re not talking about here today, that’s NX, that’s smart device gaming, that’s our IP partnerships. All of that is there in the future as well.
The key thing for Nintendo is that this is all we do. No operating systems, no TVs, it’s all about making great games, having consumers spend more and more time with our form of entertainment, and putting smiles on people’s faces. And we’ll be doing that in a variety of different ways now and into the future.
Finally, here is the Nintendo Minute video with Reggie: