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Iwata Q&A: Wii in Japan and Abroad

How does Nintendo plan to revitalize the Japanese console market?


Here's another summary of Satoru Iwata's responses from an investor Q&A at the Nintendo investor relations site.

This one is actually a followup to the question about Wii Music. The same reporter asked about the weakness of the domestic console market. As the first party, it's Nintendo's responsibility to expand the market. What is Nintendo's strategy towards this end?

In response to this, Iwata said, "Japan is probably the most unhealthy market in the world for consoles now. Consoles in America are extremely healthy. I think 'there's definitely something wrong' when there's a ten fold difference in weekly sales between Japan and America."

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When compared to the time that consoles were selling well, Iwata explained, there has been a shift in lifestyles. The current era requires that Nintendo offer enjoyment fitting of a console.

Last year, continued Iwata, Nintendo offered Wii Music and Animal Crossing with the hope of getting the understanding of Japanese gamers and revitalizing the Japanese Wii market. However, the results were not according to expectations. Compared to the strength of the overseas Wii market, the year-end market for the Wii in Japan saw a late rise, reached a low peak, then fell back quickly to normalcy.

Nintendo, explained Iwata, regularly tries a variety of things, going from idea to idea. Some ideas are accepted according to expectations. Some don't reach expectations, while some see a boom exceeding expectations. However, he believes the game market is controlled by just that one product seeing a huge boom.

Iwata said he shudders at the thought of DS having not had Brain Age or Nintendogs, and Wii having not had Wii Fit or Wii Sports. While Nintendo hopes to have a huge boom with every product, it's not a sure thing.

Last year, admitted Iwata, the scenario did not go according to Nintendo's plan. So, Nintendo has to consider what they failed to deliver for causing a boom.

Rather than saying that this is a problem that happens because of consoles, he explained, it's more an issue of whether or not they can provide on a regular basis those types of products and services that cause a big boom that spreads in the Nintendo-style fashion.

"Of course," said Iwata, "this year we also have new ideas, and will work to meet expectations."

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