Opportunities to interview executives have been thinner on the ground than usual at this year's E3. It seems everyone's too busy showing off their new motion-sensing control system / platform exclusives / pulse-measuring accessory / motion-sensing control system. Or perhaps they're just sick of us asking stupid questions.
At least good-natured Nintendo UK boss David Yarnton found the time to talk to us, just hours after his firm's E3 press conference wrapped up. Read on to find out what he reckons the hardcore made of it, whether there will be a Wii price cut this year and why he doesn't have a crown.
Eurogamer: How's E3 going for you?
David Yarnton: Apart from the fact my feet are sore already... One of the best ways to judge is when you're on the stand and you see people queuing up, but also you see them with big smiles on their faces while playing the games. So far, so good! We've been really happy with the response.
Eurogamer: What will be the Nintendo game of the show for hardcore gamers, do you think?
David Yarnton: I think there's something for everyone. One of the things that surprised me a lot was Wii Sports Resort; the number of people queuing up to play who you would say are more traditional gamers. So even gamers want to have fun. Hang on, that sounds a bit weird, doesn't it? Whatever your tastes are, we can offer something.
Eurogamer: There's always the question of who "wins" E3 - who has the best conference and so on. Who will come out on top this year?
David Yarnton: When you look at the Wii's installed base of more than 50 million units, DS with well over 100 million... We don't look at winning or losing as such, because we're competing against a lot of other kinds of entertainment. We want people to come and play games and enhance people's experience with our company. The consumer will be the judge.
Eurogamer: There's a feeling that there was wow factor to Sony and Microsoft's conferences, while Nintendo's was more muted. Do you think that's fair?
David Yarnton: Most of the stuff on our stand is here and now - not speculation. And we've been offering a lot of the product innovation other people are talking about for quite some time. So I don't really see it as wow factor - it's more someone trying to play catch-up. We've got product like the Vitality Sensor as an example of continuous innovation, and the Wii Fit Plus enhancements. People take some of these things for granted.
Eurogamer: Speaking of the Vitality Sensor, that certainly was a surprise. Have you had a chance to try it out at all?
David Yarnton: I've seen it in operation, but we're not talking about it today. As for surprise, when we launched Wii people were doing the same thing - going, 'What's this all about?' Luckily we were vindicated. It's the company's willingness to push boundaries other people don't even think about. We're just showing a taster, there's more to come in the future.
Eurogamer: Do you think Sony and Microsoft are innovating with their motion-sensing technologies, or are they just jumping on a bandwagon you set rolling?
David Yarnton: Nintendo's been around for quite some time and has quite a good understanding of its customers. We found people like to have feedback, such as vibration, when they're playing a game. We give them freedom and interaction, but also feedback.
Eurogamer: Have you seen any of Sony or Microsoft's motion-sensing stuff?
David Yarnton: We've had too much good product here to have time to see any of that. We're very happy with what we've got on our plate at the moment.
Eurogamer: Assuming your rivals' new technologies do work, will the PS3 and Xbox 360 have an advantage over the Wii? They'll have motion-sensing, which as Nintendo has proved is highly popular, plus powerful graphics engines. Won't that give them the edge?
David Yarnton: Consumers will decide, at the end of the day. So far they've shown through the sales of Wii that we're onto something they really do enjoy.
Eurogamer: Do you ever feel like you can't win with the hardcore? People are still griping today even though you've presented Super Mario Galaxy 2 and New Super Mario Bros. Wii. Is there a sense that unless you also give them a new Pilotwings and Pikmin and Starfox and all the rest of it too, they're never gong to be satisfied?
David Yarnton: Everyone wants all their Christmas presents at once, every day of the year! There's lots of product in the pipeline. As we know, good product isn't just developed overnight. It doesn't make much sense to launch it all at once.
Eurogamer: How do you feel about accusations you've abandoned or betrayed your traditional fanbase?
David Yarnton: We've never abandoned anyone. I think sometimes people are never satisfied. I'm the same, I want everything at once, but it's a good thing to take time to develop. You can see from the products being developed, not just by ourselves but third-party as well, there's something for everyone.
Eurogamer: Have you thought of using traditional gamers in some of your lifestyle photography? So perhaps instead of old people and lithe young women you could have a fat bloke in a Metroid t-shirt, curtains drawn, overflowing ashtrays...
David Yarnton: Ah, but is that what a traditional gamer is? I see lots of people walking around here that look quite athletic. We used to have a stereotype of people sitting in a darkened room by themselves. That still exists to some extent, but it's a minority of people who play games. It's become much more social and the audience is broader.
Eurogamer: Some Wii owners have complained that your great first-party titles are too few and far between. In the meantime, they're left with nothing but a load of shovelware - piles of quickly churned out, cheaply made games designed to sell on the basis of the cover alone.
David Yarnton: Are you having an interview with EA, Activision, Capcom? Are you going to ask them that question as well, suggesting the product they make for Wii is second-rate? Because I've seen some fantastic product out there.
Eurogamer: Me too - I'm a big fan of Boom Blox, for example. But it seems like for every Boom Blox I have to play nine Hasbro Family Game Nights, Golden Balls, Carnival Sports Party Surfing Nightmare Fiascos...
David Yarnton: Which you don't necessarily like, but a lot of people out there purchase those games because it's what appeals to them.
Eurogamer: I can't believe anyone likes Golden Balls. There are third-party games I like, I just feel you have to pluck them out of a lot of rubbish designed to make a quick buck out of less knowledgeable gamers...
David Yarnton: At the end of the day, the consumer makes that decision. It's about value, it's about different styles of game. I don't like every game either. You can look at any format and you'll find there are better games, and games that maybe aren't so good.
Eurogamer: Let's get back to first-party issues, then. Are there any plans to overhaul the Friend Codes system?
David Yarnton: There's been a big uptake. Anecdotally, a lot of kids at university who you wouldn't consider to be typical Wii owners are very into things like Mario Kart, which I think surprises a lot of people.
Eurogamer: Students liking Mario Kart? Does it? I almost failed my degree because of that game. I was Sorby Hall of Residence Mario Kart Champion 1996.
David Yarnton: Well, there you go. So there's a big uptake, and it seems to work OK.
Eurogamer: But compare the complexity of the Friends Code system with the Xbox Live Gamertags system, which has proved hugely popular and works so well. Why not introduce something similar?
David Yarnton: We're always looking at improving and enhancing our services. At the moment we feel it's adequate, it does the job for us and for our customers. I'm not aware of too many complaints about it. [PR chap: "Just to butt in, the three guiding principles of our gaming service have always been 'simple, safe and free'. We don't see a reason why they should be changed at the moment, because people like it. People say it is complicated but it's complicated for a reason - to keep people safe."]
Eurogamer: Is a price cut on the way for the Wii?
David Yarnton: Are you not aware we had a price increase? On 1st April, the price of Wii went up for UK retailers. [PR chap: "Due to problems with the exchange rate over the last year, we raised the cost price. Whether retailers choose to pass that cost on to customers is up to them. We have no control over what they charge for a Wii. Dell and Apple made similar moves recently so it's not unprecedented. The pound has fallen against the yen by 28 per cent in the last year, so every Japanese company is facing pressure at the moment."]
Eurogamer: How much does it cost a retailer to buy a Wii now?
David Yarnton: We can't tell you that.
Eurogamer: Can you tell me the percentage the cost went up by?
David Yarnton: You can guess.
Eurogamer: So you're not going to cut the GBP 179 price this year?
David Yarnton: No.
Eurogamer: How about next year?
David Yarnton: We've no plans. Nintendo doesn't like selling products at a loss. We've been round for quite a long time and we're a very successful company. It depends on the currency exchange - we can't make any predictions there.
Eurogamer: You've certainly sold a lot of products without making a loss. Is your office desk made of gold or diamond bricks?
David Yarnton: I think it's MDF! It's not teak or oak or anything.
Eurogamer: Do you have a crown?
David Yarnton: No.
Eurogamer: Is that because it kept banging against the roof of your helicopter?
David Yarnton: No. I don't have a crown and we don't have a helicopter.
Eurogamer: Looking forwards to E3 2010, can we expect to see Pilotwings, Pikmin, Starfox and Mario vs. Zelda in Donkey Kong Country Wii Fit?
David Yarnton: We've just announced the games we've got this year, so we won't be announcing what the future holds there. Some of the titles are slated for a 2010 release, so there will be more details of those products in the future. But I can assure you, at Nintendo we've always got something up our sleeve.
Eurogamer: Is it Pilotwings?
David Yarnton: You're a Pilotwings fan, are you?
Eurogamer: Is it Pilotwings?
David Yarnton: If you play Wii Sports Resort you can do a bit of parachuting and skydiving.
Eurogamer: It's not Pilotwings though, is it?
David Yarnton: No.
Eurogamer: Is it Pikmin?
David Yarnton: Who knows?
Eurogamer: All right, I'll go away now so you can talk to a proper journalist about serious things.
David Yarnton: The thing is, you can never predict anything with our company. Even if I said something it could be proved wrong in the future.
Eurogamer: I'm going to Miyamoto's behind-closed-doors presentation this evening. Perhaps he will parachute in through the ceiling and announce a new Pilotwings?
David Yarnton: Could do. [PR chap: "Very possible. It wouldn't surprise me."]
In the event, Shigeru Miyamoto did not parachute in through the ceiling, but he did bring a painting of Zelda.