Skip to main content

Nintendo president Iwata defends GDC 2011 speech

Talks free-to-play Wii U games, SmartGlass, third-party support.

Satoru Iwata's controversial speech at the Game Developer's Conference last year was designed to offer a "though-provoking message", Nintendo's president has clarified.

Iwata argued that pricing mobile content too low risked devaluing quality games.

"Paying attention to such value and trying to keep it at high level is very important," Iwata continued, in a recent investor briefing. "I did not intend to say that all the free-to-play games or lower-priced digital content should not exist.

"Unfortunately, my speech was reported as if I had said, 'inexpensive games have low quality'. Since this misinterpretation occurred, I regrettably have to say I should have organised my speech more appropriately."

Wii U has been designed to support alternative pricing structures such as free-to-play games and micro-transactions, Iwata said.

"One of our goals was to have a variety of purchase options and additional e-commerce options available," Iwata continued. "We have designed the system from a technical standpoint to allow developers to freely take advantage of things like free to play and micro transactions."

It is up to publishers to decide pricing structures for themselves, Iwata insisted.

Iwata also offered an olive branch of financial help to developers with innovative uses for the GamePad, saying Nintendo was open to collaborations.

"If a third-party developer or publisher has come up with an idea of a potentially very unique use of the Wii U functionality with such a device, there is a high possibility that Nintendo will be a partner with that third party in an unprecedented manner (thereby reducing their development risk significantly)."

Iwata said he preferred this stance to platform holders squabbling over exclusive games, or console-specific content.

"I don't think it would be an appropriate course of action for Nintendo to get into a battle with a company like Microsoft over the cost or the expense of trying to go head to head in a situation to try to obtain exclusive rights," the Nintendo president mused.

Finally, Iwata addressed Microsoft's SmartGlass technology, allowing Windows 8-powered tablets to interact in a similar manner to the Wii U GamePad.

"Is what they're offering truly capable of doing everything that we're offering? From what we have seen so far, it looks to us as if what they are able to offer really is only a small facet of what the Wii U is capable of."

"What you don't have on smartphones and tablets are the buttons and the control sticks that [gamers] prefer to use. Now, if they could hold a controller with two hands and hold a tablet or a smartphone with another hand, there would be no issue. Unfortunately, since it is not possible for humans to do that, you can't play a game in a way you can play with the Wii U."

Wii U's software line-up.

Read this next