Iwata talks Virtual Console
A new biz strategy, it seems.
The Virtual Console functions of the Wii platform will enable small games to find a large audience, according to Nintendo boss Satoru Iwata, who says that the download system is an alternative to the "single-minded" approach of the industry at present.
Speaking to the Tech-On section of Japanese newspaper Nikkei Business Publications, Iwata addressed the merits of the Virtual Console as a platform for creating new content, not just for emulating old games - the use with which most prospective purchasers will be most familiar.
He implied that games which launch on the Virtual Console could cost as little as 500 Yen (around 3.50 Euro), a tenth of the expected retail price of new games on the system in Japan.
"When creating a packaged game to be priced at 5,000 yen, developers tend to feel the need to create a rich game," he explained. "Yet it is possible to create a reasonably entertaining game in 2 months with a team of three. Offering such games for 500 yen over a network could lead to a reasonable number of people purchasing it. By offering an environment that allows this, we hope to encourage more developers to pursue basic yet enjoyable gameplay."
However, Iwata was quick to point out that Nintendo will continue to develop "epic" titles as well - and that even in the firm's new vision of the future, there is plenty of room for titles such as Zelda, Fire Emblem or Earthbound.
"Content-rich games have their own merit, and I have no intention of discrediting them," he continued. "Such games are important in their own right, and will continue to be in demand. Still - think about it - eating French cuisine or a full dinner each day would quickly lead to boredom, wouldn't it? You'll want a simple bowl of rice and soup every now and then."
"Our intention with the Wii is to propose an alternate approach to gaming business," he concluded, "as the gaming industry is currently far too single-minded."
Iwata admitted to Nikkei Business Publications that Nintendo had fallen from its former position as "champion" of the console market to being a "challenger" - and that "challengers have a hard time getting the market to listen to them."
However, he believes that the success of the Nintendo DS has helped to build momentum and support for the firm's innovations in control mechanisms, which he believes will help to "propel the Wii forward" when it appears later this year.