Nintendo president admits mistake in abandoning core audience for casual gamers

nintendo president admits mistake in abandoning core audience for casual satoru iwata wii u 650x385

President Satoru Iwata continued to address Nintendo investors’ fears in an investor question and answer session on Monday after reporting the company’s first-ever fiscal year loss at the end of April. In addition to announcing new digital download initiatives for both the Nintendo 3DS and the upcoming Wii U, Iwata said Nintendo is refocusing its development on gaming enthusiasts rather than casual and family players. It was a bad move to abandon the core according to Iwata.

“The Wii was able to reach a large number of new consumers who had never played games before by bringing hands-on experiences with its Wii Sports and Wii Fit. However, we could not adequately create the situation that such new consumers played games frequently or for long, consistent periods. As a result we could not sustain a good level of profit,” said Iwata.

“Moreover, regrettably, what we prioritized in order to reach out to the new audience was a bit too far from what we prioritized for those who play games as their hobby. Consequently, we presume some people felt that the Wii was not a game system for them or they were not willing to play with the Wii even though some compelling games had been released.”

Nintendo’s underwhelming announcement of the Wii U at E3 2011 was a less explicit admission of the same mistake. The naming of the new console according to Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime was supposed to reconcile the casual and core audiences of Nintendo’s games, a console for “me and you.” Hence the hybrid of traditional control inputs and something simpler like a touch screen.

Iwata’s comments to investors though betray the fact that he and the rest of Nintendo’s corporate leaders in Japan misunderstand the chief failing of the Wii: The machine needed more games, more frequently. The casual audience lured by titles like Wii Fit in 2008 and earlier during the height of the Wii’s success are the same players that went on to pour money into free-to-play social games like FarmVille and mobile titles like Angry Birds in the years that followed. They are more than willing to play games for “long, consistent periods” as long as they’re given a reason to. Nintendo failed this audience by not giving them a wider selection of titles at lower costs.

Nintendo failed its core audience in a similar way. There simply weren’t enough games to maintain a healthy community of users. Releasing the Wii with limited technical capabilities wasn’t a mistake, but releasing it with no ability whatsoever to support high-definition television screens was nothing short of insane. It automatically alienated hobbyists and encouraged them to seek other solutions like the Dolphin Wii emulator. That’s not to mention the system’s asinine online gaming structure.

While the Wii U could be a hit for Nintendo, it’s concerning to see that its leadership still doesn’t understand the failures of past business decisions.


Has it really been 17 years? The past, present, and future of the Xbox

From DirectX Box to 720, it's been a long, strange trip for Microsoft's Xbox gaming console. Here is what happened, from its odd beginnings to the rumored Scarlett console with streaming.

The hottest Nintendo Switch games you can get right now

The Nintendo Switch's lineup started off small, but games have steadily released as the console continues through its second year. Here are the best Nintendo Switch games available now.

You're not a true fan without these Nintendo Switch exclusives

Who doesn't love a good Nintendo game? If you're looking for great first-party titles for your Nintendo Switch, take a look at our list of the very best exclusives available right now.

The best Nintendo Switch deals and bundles for April 2019

Looking to score Nintendo's latest console? We've smoked out the best Nintendo Switch deals right here, including discounts on bundles that feature must-have games like Super Mario Odyssey, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, and Zelda: Breath of…

The best zombie games of all time, from Resident Evil to The Last of Us

Zombies are a longtime media staple, from movies to literature to TV to video games. Plenty of zombie games are bland and boring, but a good number offer tangible reasons to care about the undead. These are the best zombie games.

Ditch the discs: The Xbox One S All-Digital Edition is available for pre-order

Like it or not, discs seem to be going the way of the VHS tape. Digital gaming is quickly becoming the new norm even for consoles, and Microsoft’s new Xbox One S All-Digital Edition is now available for pre-order with three free games…

The Last of Us Part 2 finishes capturing its main characters’ performances

Calling it the most "ambitious cinematic shoot" the team has ever done, Naughty Dog revealed that the motion-capture performances for the main characters in The Last of Us Part II are finished.

Transform into the ultimate leader with our tips and tricks for Civilization 6

Civilization VI offers both series veterans and total newcomers a lot to chew on from the get-go. Here are some essential starting tips to help you master the game's many intricacies.

Here's where Xur is and what he has for wares this week in Destiny 2: Forsaken

The weekly vendor in Destiny 2: Forsaken always brings Exotic weapons and armor, some of the toughest loot to find in the game. Here's everything you need to know to track down Xur: Where he is, when he shows up, and what he's stocking.

World of Warcraft's allied races will make you want to start a new character

The Horde and Alliance are seeking new allies in their struggle for control of Azeroth. Whether you pledge your allegiance to the Horde or Alliance, we have a guide to help you unlock every allied race in Battle for Azeroth.

Wired headphones are so 2018. Here's how to pair a Bluetooth device to your PS4

One of the best aspects of modern consoles is how easily you can pair them with other devices. Here's our quick primer on how to connect a Bluetooth headset (or really any Bluetooth device) to your PlayStation 4.

Here are the best games to play with your friends on the Nintendo Switch

The Nintendo Switch's hybrid design adds convenience to your gaming time, allowing you to play Switch games both at home and on the go. The design also benefits multiplayer experiences, from co-op to competitive and online to offline.

Amazon sale knocks 20% off Nintendo Switch, Pro Controller, and games

A new wave of savings on gaming content is crashing down in celebration of Earth Day. Amazon is slashing prices up to 20% off for used Nintendo Switch consoles, games, and accessories like the Switch Pro Controller.

Get Nindie with it and check out these awesome indie games for the Switch

The Nintendo Switch's portability makes indies feel at home on the platform. Luckily, there are plenty of great titles to choose from. Here are our picks for the best Nintendo Switch indie games.