Nintendo of America President and fan favorite Reggie Fils-Aime recently told IGN that unlike its competitors, Nintendo values games, fun and entertainment value as opposed to advanced technology. Perhaps invigorated by Nintendo’s onslaught of announcements Wednesday, Fils-Aime took several brazen jabs at Microsoft and Sony, at one point responding to the thought of their respective launch lineups with the word “Meh.”
Fils-Aime was quick to point out that Nintendo is no slouch in the tech department either, with Nintendo TVii using cloud technology while Wii U and 3DS support cross-platform gaming. But he repeatedly emphasized that Nintendo’s focus is on gaming and fun. His comments were likely directed at Microsoft in particular, whose initial plans for the Xbox One emphasized TV-based technologies and left gamers irate. Some of Reggie’s comments appear below.
“The competitive systems have announced their launch lineups. I’m allowed to say ‘Meh.’ I look at our lineup of titles and I feel good about our lineup. We’ve got Zelda. We’ve got Mario. We’ve got Donkey Kong. In addition to great titles like Pikmin 3 and Wonderful 101, I feel very good about our lineup….And so I think as you compare and contrast Nintendo with other players in the space, for us it’s about games, about the fun, about the entertainment value, and not about the tech.”
Electronic Arts, who recently stopped developing for Wii U due to poor system sales, seems to be eager to bury the hatchet with Nintendo. Vice President of EA’s Sports division, Andrew Wilson, has stated that his company has a “tremendous relationship” with Nintendo, and assured gamers that Wii U games may very well be developed by EA in the not-too-distant future.
EA recently announced that FIFA 14, which is conspicuously missing from Wii U in its console lineup, would be free with Xbox One preorders. This move has left many wondering if EA now favors Microsoft, however, another EA executive, Frank Gibeau, laid that theory to rest, saying there is “no strategic tilt”.
Wilson’s comment about Nintendo appears below.
“We’re not building for Nintendo right now, but we have a tremendous relationship with them and have had a long relationship with them, and should it make sense for us to do so in the future we’ll absolutely roll that into the plan.”
U.S. market research firm NPD Group believes that around 29% of core gamers are looking to buy the PlayStation 4 and next Xbox console at launch. The data for this survey was conducted by U.S. respondents age 9 and older who currently play games for five or more hours per week on an Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC, or Mac. Out of the of the 6,322 respondents surveyed, only 887 qualified as a core gamer. The survey suggests that just over one in four plan on purchasing the PlayStation 4 or the next Xbox.
Microsoft has announced that it managed to sell more Xbox 360 consoles than Wii U consoles during the week of Black Friday. Microsoft sold over 750,000 Xbox 360s and Nintendo sold 400,000 Wii U consoles. However, it should be noted that there were supply issues with the Wii U with a few stores completely selling out of the console. Nintendo has been busy replenishing stock.
Matt Barlow, general manager of product marketing for Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment Business, says that company is intent on capturing Wii owners that are looking to upgrade to a high-definition experience. The company hopes to capture Nintendo fans with blockbusters like Halo 4 and a $50 price cut on holiday bundles.
“I think this holiday season is an amazing jump off for all those people who may have been interested in the Wii and now want to be interested in high definition gaming. I can’t think of a better console for them to choose than one that has the most games available, the highest rated games available, than the Xbox 360 platform.”
“And when you look at the alternative experiences that we’re going to bring with SmartGlass, the entertainment providers that we’re bringing on board, with sports and music and movies and TV, and then if you think about those preeminent best selling blockbuster games that they’re going to want to play – Halo, Call of Duty, Assassin’s Creed, Forza, Nike+ Kinect Fitness – they either play first or they play best on Xbox 360 and nowhere else.”
“We’ve only scratched the surface…Kinect is going to be something that everyone’s going to want to own. Like I said, jump off is great and we like the way we’re positioned to pick those customers up. They really should consider an Xbox 360 if they’re looking for the best high definition gaming and entertainment platform.”
GameStop CEO Paul Raines has revealed that insider information suggests that there will be only one console launching in 2013. The most likely company to fill this spot will be Microsoft with their next generation Xbox console which is expected to launch in the Fall. It’s likely that the PlayStation 4 will launch sometime in 2014.
“We have not been expecting two more consoles in 2013. We’re expecting Wii U this holiday, another one next year, and another one in ’14. These rumours change every week, but we’re hearing more about next year.”
“What we do know is that Xbox 720 is further along the production line than PS4. However, we also know that elements within the Sony hierarchy are determined not to allow the Next Xbox to enjoy the same sort of head start on the market that 360 had over PS3.”
Charlie Scibetta, Senior Director of Corporate Communications at Nintendo of America has taken a slight dig at Microsoft’s forthcoming SmartGlass peripheral for the Xbox 360. Scibetta claims that Nintendo’s tablet controller is better due to it being firmly integrated with the system, rather than an additional accessory.
“We like our solution because it’s integrated. You know it’s going to work. It’s not adding something on that you think might work. When you pick up the (Wii U) GamePad, you know there’s not going to be any kind of learning curve in terms of trying to configure it.”
EA Labels boss Frank Gibeau has revealed that he’s extremely enthusiastic about Microsoft’s SmartGlass. Gibeau believes that Microsoft’s Xbox tablet companion is a brilliant device and he thinks that it seriously puts pressure on Nintendo with Wii U.
“We love SmartGlass. I think it’s a killer initiative. I really like it a lot. It ties into what we’re trying to do as a company. What we’re trying to do as a developer of games is – we’re looking at multi-screen environments as being really key in what’s happening in gaming. You play games on your mobile. You play games on your PC. You play games on your console. So giving people more access points through multiple screens is a great thing.”
“It does definitely put positioning pressure on Nintendo because you don’t have to buy a new system. Most likely, you already have a smartphone and you already have a 360, so it does a really good job of positioning for the platform and we’re very excited about it.”
Nintendo Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing Scott Moffitt says that he’s flattered by Microsoft announcing Xbox Smart Glass at this years E3 event. Moffit claims that while the device looks impressive, he has reservations about how practical it will be whilst playing games.
“With Wii, when we brought out motion controls and introduced that as a new idea in gaming, initially there were people who didn’t understand it. Three years later, our competitors both came out with their own motion control systems.”
“We announced second screen gaming last year, and it’s somewhat flattering that it only took people a year this time around.”
“Smart Glass just doesn’t look like a peripheral for a games system. Microsoft may have used TV shows and IMDB to showcase Smart Glass, but as far as games go, gamers trying to incorporate Smart Glass into play sessions may find themselves limited by their number of hands.”
“I’m not sure how, as a gamer, I would manipulate a second screen with most hands on my controller. We don’t have three hands, unfortunately.”
IGN recently questioned a large amount of “industry professionals” – who are also video game developers – about the next generation of video game consoles. The anonymous developers claimed that they will release their new video games on the next Xbox and PlayStation consoles during 2013.
The majority of the developers stated that they were pleased with the easiness of developing for the unannounced consoles, while “63% of developers said the Wii U would be the most challenging platform to develop for.”
In the past, known developers have stated that the Wii U is very easy to develop for. We don’t know who the developers are and we don’t know exactly how many were approached by IGN, so let’s wait until E3 next week to find out the number of developers that are supporting the Wii U.