MCV have ran an interview with PlayStation UK MD Fergal Gara and talks to him about a variety of subjects. One of the things on discussion is the 3DS, which Gara says shows that the dedicated handheld market isn’t dead as many would have you believe.
“Well that just shows that playing on a dedicated handheld device has not gone, as many will try to suggest. We want to have a healthy share of that handheld market. But we are playing fairly differently to Nintendo 3DS, when you think that is a dedicated handheld device with a very strong showing amongst kids. Vita is positioned differently. Yes it appeals to kids but also to committed gamers and as a companion device for PlayStation 4. 3DS shows that the sector is still there and that Nintendo is doing very well in it, so there is a market to harness.”
Tokyo-based games consultant Serkan Toto thinks that Sony’s PlayStation 4 will enable the company to capture some of the marketshare that Nintendo has so far failed to capture with its Wii U console. However, he doesn’t think that it’s likely that Sony will be able to get those casual consumers that purchased a Wii back in 2006 as he believes they have flocked to mobile and tablet based gaming.
“Calling it a “dream situation” for Sony, Tokyo-based games consultant Serkan Toto believes that the company will dominate the Japanese market this generation. But it’s unlikely that Sony will be able to convince all of the customers that sent Nintendo to the top with the Wii yet failed to return for the Wii U. The Wii’s stratospheric sales were largely because of casual games and non-traditional software that appealed to the same demographic most likely to have switched to mobile devices.”
“As such, Toto says, it “isn’t unrealistic” to imagine that the overall console market will shrink in size, even if the PS4 outsells the PS3. Still, there’s an opportunity for Sony to make up some ground. “I think that Sony will be able to capture some of the market that Nintendo isn’t able to serve with the Wii U, but it will certainly be not all of it,” says Toto. “But Nintendo is making it as easy for Sony as ever to capture some market share.”
PlayStation UK Managing Director Fergal Gara has admitted that the decline of Nintendo could ultimately be detrimental to the video game market. Gara says that Nintendo successfully appeals to the younger consumer group that Sony is trying to go after with titles such as Knack and says there would be a huge gap in the market.
“[The decline of Nintendo] could be detrimental to the market, unless people like us raise our game and help tap into the younger consumer group that they serve rather well. That is the challenge to us. We need to bring maybe more family-friendly, more casual experiences into the market. I think there’s a big market segment there that we should take the challenge to engage and I see lots of potential to do that.”
“The DS family was the bestselling format last year, despite the stellar sales of the PS4 for the last four or five weeks, it was still the best selling console or console family.”
“I think Vita has maybe not a huge position in the marketplace, but a very unique position. First of all it’s the only device that offers the same level of control and interaction, it’s the only device to offer the same level of visual beauty, and now it’s the only console to offer that companionship with the leading home games console.”
Sony’s purchase of the Renesas Electronics semiconductor manufacturing plant at Tsuruoka has gone ahead and the company has signed an agreement with Renesas to finalise the deal. The manufacturing plant manufactures the DRAM chip that is found in the Wii U, so many were wondering what Nintendo will do once the deal is finalised. Well, it looks as though Nintendo will be able to have the DRAM produced by Sony at Tsuruoka. This will probably happen until the production shifts to Renesas plant in Naka, or alternatively, Nintendo finds a new partner.
NHK is reporting that Sony is currently poised to purchase the Nintendo DRAM manufacturing plant for a staggering ¥7 billion. The DRAM chip that the company produces is currently found within Wii U consoles. The move has been expected for some time as we originally reported on it in December. Nintendo hasn’t commented on the situation and hasn’t confirmed a new partner as of yet.
ACE Securities, a Japanese investment and market analysis firm, has produced a document detailing what it expects to hear from Nintendo during the Corporate Management Policy Briefing that’s taking place on January 30th and will be hosted by Satoru Iwata. In the Corporate Management Policy Briefing on January 30th the company is apparently going to describe the future business policy:
- Dealing with content development risks due to the consecutive failure to launch with high performance the 3DS and the Wii U.
- Response to the problem of the inability to secure third party titles caused by SCE (Sony Computer Entertainment) investing heavily in the marketing cost of multiplatform software.
- Due to the soaring development costs of home consoles making difficult to ensure profitability, we hope to hear an answer on the building of a new business model.
Phil Spencer, the Corporate Vice President of Microsoft Studios, has praised both Sony and Nintendo in a recent interview with the official Xbox magazine. Spencer says that Nintendo’s highly regarded first party titles are an amazing asset to the Kyoto based company. He went on to say that Nintendo plays on the heartstrings of gamers and that Microsoft has done this with some success on Killer Instinct.
“Nintendo, I think – and there’s some argument about this – that their first-party is such an amazing asset…Their first party studios and IP can lead what they do as a company and the platforms are almost in service to the IP – not in a bad way.”
“They have such iconic stories and this will seem somewhat random, but when we go back and do something like Killer Instinct, a little bit of the history of your franchise can actually be important part of people feeling connected. Obviously the history of Killer Instinct isn’t a history on Xbox, but it’s Rare’s history and I think the reaction when we announced it on-stage at E3 showed that playing to the people’s heart, I think Nintendo does that as well as anybody in terms of hitting the franchises and having huge success with them.”
“Sony – and I’m focused on first-party because of what I do – I really respect their focus on investing in new things and creative things, what they’ve done with David Cage and Quantic Dream around Beyond [Two Souls] and Heavy Rain; they stay committed to franchises even if they don’t sell 10 million units, they’ll stay committed to things.”
“I think that long-term commitment to franchises is important, where it’s easy to pull off the Band-Aid and move onto the next thing [if it doesn't sell]. I respect their ‘stick-to-it-iveness’. I’ll say, they’ve done a nice job with PS4 [...] When I think about their announcement, their clear focus on a customer, leading with the value proposition of what they’re trying to do, staying true to a vision, I think they’ve done a nice job in how they defined the PS4.”
Shuhei Yoshida, President of Worldwide Studios at Sony Computer Entertainment, appeared as a guest on the Japanese multi-media internet talk show, Kurokawa Juku and praised the Wii U. Yoshida was asked Japanese game magazine Game Lab why Wii U sales numbers were so poor. Yoshida replied by saying that Super Mario 3D World is really good and he believes that the Wii U is just getting started. Yoshida previously revealed that he owns two Wii U consoles.
“The latest Mario game is really good, too. I think the Wii U is just getting started.”
“People can get together and enjoy [the Wii U], it’s got plenty of wonderful games. Nintendo helps raise and teaches the fun of games to people just starting out. I think that’s a very important thing in this industry.”
The embedded DRAM chip for the Wii U is considered to be the heart of the console and is manufactured at Renesas Electronics plant at Tsuruoka. Several sources are reporting that Sony is in talks with Renesas to acquire the Tsuruoka plant. This acquisition shouldn’t cause Nintendo too many problems in the short-term even if production of the chip at Tsuruoka were to be halted. In August, Renesas Electronics expected to close the plant due to the sluggish sales of the Wii U, which ultimately caused a decline in production of the chip.
President of Sony Worldwide Studios Shuhei Yoshida has told IGN that his company needs Nintendo to thrive for the sake of the video game industry. In order to preserve traditional gaming – via dedicated controllers with actual buttons and analog sticks – the executive suggests that Nintendo and Sony must coexist in a world where touch-based gaming by way of smartphones and tablets continues to gain popularity. Yoshida, who owns two Wii U consoles, classifies both firms as being in the same category and not as direct competitors.
Yoshida: “Well I have two Wii Us. I play Wii U games with my daughters, because they make pretty fun family friendly games.
“I think success or making mistakes depends on how you set your goal. I don’t know what was Nintendo’s goal when they launched Wii U. To me, it was a bit confusing because what they do really well was create some very safe environment for anyone, especially children to enjoy games like induct those people who have never played games ever to become gamers. And they always do very well.
“To me, what they have made with Wii U was continuing what they were doing well. But the messaging when they were saying ‘we are for core gamers’ was a bit confusing. But this year I think they slightly changed their messaging, and it seems to me like they are coming back to where they are focused.
“When you look at the situation around Nintendo that way, do you characterize Nintendo as our competition? I think in the bigger scale of things happening in the industry or tech or people’s lives, how they play games on what device, and how they start to learn to play games, I think Nintendo and us are pretty much in the same group, and we need Nintendo to be very successful to help induct as many consumers who like to play games with controllers, right?”