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Nintendo's CEO on Friend Codes, Hard Drives and Free-to-play

Nintendo's Shigeru Miyamoto shows off Wii U's Pikmin 3 at E3.

Nintendo held an analysts briefing and Q&A session at E3. CEO Satoru Iwata discussed a number of issues, with Wii U in particular being a popular topic during the Q&A portion.

You can view a full transcript of the Q&A here.

Notable responses include:

On Wii U's Price

Iwata: What I can say here today is that we’re doing our utmost to avoid a situation where we have to cut the price of the Wii U hardware shortly after its launch, as we had to do for the Nintendo 3DS. We are going to ensure that consumers will consider the Wii U price reasonable for what they are able to do with the system and will not expect a price drop very early in its life cycle.

On retailer reaction to Nintendo's full digital download plans

Iwata: I can say that retailers were first worried that they would be ignored in digital offerings, but they are now taking a forward-looking stance to our proposal of digital distribution with retailer involvement. We’re finding that they’re very positive about our digital distribution structure and view it as a “win-win” situation.

On Friend Codes

Iwata: We’re not completely getting rid of Friend Codes, but a function of the “Miiverse” will simplify the process of making friends with another user in the platform by eliminating the need to input Friend Codes.

On publisher choice for offering digital download versions of Wii U titles

Iwata: From the beginning, we’ve planned to make it possible for people to release their games as either an optical disc or as digital content. So publishers would be able to choose from both of those options.

On free-to-play games

Iwata: We are not considering introducing a free-to-play game if the game itself is not suitable in that fashion. I have no intention to deny every possibility of free-to-play.

On what's in the Wii U box

Iwata: The only thing I can say clearly is that we will definitely package the Wii U system with one Wii U GamePad because without those two elements, you do not have a complete Wii U system. But beyond that, in terms of what will be going into the box, I will talk about that more in the future when we go into more detail on pricing and other information.

There are 190 million Wii Remotes out in the marketplace around the world. As Reggie pointed out in our presentation at E3 yesterday, there are also quite a large number of Wii Balance Boards. We look at both of those as important assets that we would like to continue to leverage.

On the Wii U's built in hard drive (?)

Iwata: We haven’t said anything about the hard drive that we’ll be including with the system itself. But we have said, through the USB connection, consumers will be able to take advantage of a wide range of the hard drives that are available in the market, and for quite cheap now, to add memory to their system however they like.

NOTE: With regards to the hard drive question, Nintendo's Japanese Q&A transcript reads differently, with Iwata denying that Nintendo has said anything about including a hard drive with the system. See this story for details..

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