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Iwata: Still No Plans for Price Drop

Nintendo CEO fields questions at latest investor Q&A session.


Nintendo's quarterly earnings reports have become predictable. First, there's the report itself (see this story for a summary of that). Then, there's a transcript of a Q&A session held between CEO Satoru Iwata and investors.

The Q&A transcript went live today at Nintendo's Investor Relations Page. Iwata fielded questions about software scheduling, piracy, and price drops, and Nintendo was good enough to put it all into a lengthy two page document.

Unfortunately, the transcript is only in Japanese at present. English-only speakers will have to wait for Nintendo's official translation, which usually hits a few days after the Japanese version.

Here are just a few of the major points I noted:

Wii Sports Resort just barely made it out in time for the end of the first quarter. But, Iwata reveals, it was originally being developed with an earlier release time frame. In the end, Nintendo decided that they wanted to make sure they had enough Wii Motion Plus units ready.

While Wii Sports Resort ended up slipping from its original target, Wii Fit Plus and New Super Mario Bros. look like they'll be okay. "We have absolutely no worry that they will not be released as scheduled," said Iwata about the two titles.

Wii Fit Plus has already been confirmed for Japanese release on October 1.

These three games are Nintendo's main titles for the year, Iwata said. Nintendo believes they easily have the potential to sell 10 million units each worldwide by the end of the fiscal year (March 2010). Iwata said that, due to the lining up of the three releases, "We'd like to work so that people say 'This was the best Christmas in Nintendo history.'".

A big year-end push would be a major plus for Nintendo following a disappointing first quarter. Echoing Nintendo's statements in its earnings report, Iwata attributed the low numbers to a lack of killer releases.

Killer releases may not necessarily mean just games released over the quarter. It appears that Nintendo has come to expect some of its games to have long legs, and Iwata once again expressed disappointment with one title and its lack of extended sales: Wii Music. He also seems disappointed with sales of Animal Crossing City Folk.

"Last year, Wii Music and Animal Crossing City Folk did not reach our expectations," said Iwata. "If we had made them into long sellers, the effects of the lack of software in the first half of the year would have been lowered. However, their sales slowed in a relatively short term."

You can't have an Iwata Q&A session without a question about price drops these days (you might have noticed that my summary of the last Iwata Q&A had a similar headline!), and sure enough the question did come up. Iwata responded by attributing the fall in hardware sales not to price or a lack of charm in the hardware, but to a lack of major game titles. "At present, we're not thinking of doing anything with the price."

There's much more to the Q&A than the above. Keep checking Nintendo's English investors page over the coming days for a translation of the Q&A.

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