Iwata: Nintendo Isn't Afraid of Failure

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Iwata: Nintendo Isn't Afraid of Failure

Nintendo president Satoru Iwata doesn't fear failure - he sees it as an inevitable part of Nintendo's innovation.

With the costs of game development being what they are, it seems like the go-to strategy for most large companies is to take as few risks as possible. Well, Nintendo isn't most companies. Nintendo CEO and president Satoru Iwata says that failure is something that will always happen in the creative process, and he just has to accept that.

"When we talk about Nintendo we cannot ignore (former president) Hiroshi Yamauchi who just recently passed away," Iwata says. "He always said that if you have failure, you don't need to be too concerned. You always have good things and bad, and this reflects the history of Nintendo."

The attitude fits with Nintendo's design philosophy: while other competitors are racing to perfect very similar technologies, Nintendo is usually the odd one out, for better or worse. "If you do the same thing as others, it will wear you out," says Iwata. "Nintendo is not good at competing so we always have to challenge [the status quo] by making something new, rather than competing in an existing market.

Iwata cites the Pokemon franchise as an example of Nintendo making a strange call that paid off in the end. "Will America accept cute monsters? No, they said. Some people even recommended to make Pikachu more muscular. If we followed their advice Pokemon would never have been the success that it was."

It's hard to imagine Pokemon as anything but the runaway success it is now, but that just reinforces Iwata's trust in unconventional tactics. Nintendo's design decisions are largely hit or miss, but when they hit, they hit hard.

Source: Nintendo Everything

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Well said. I didn't know that about Pokemon. While I don't particulary like Pikachu, I'm sure I don't want him to look like Marcus Fenix.

And God, I just love the Iwata picture with the bananas.

Isnt afraid of failure, but yses the same characters over and over and over again.

Sure.

Inb4 Jeffers.

Anoni Mus:
Well said. I didn't know that about Pokemon. While I don't particulary like Pikachu, I'm sure I don't want him to look like Marcus Fenix.

And God, I just love the Iwata picture with the bananas.

Well, surely you must have noticed that the little rodent has been losing weight over the years, right?

OT: Well said, Iwata, well fucking said. Sure, I'm sure people will bring up the "But they keep making Mario/Zelda/Pokemon games!" argument, but the fact is Nintendo has carved it's own niche in the market by doing it's own thing rather than trying to play copycat.

Edit:

Desert Punk:
Isnt afraid of failure, but yses the same characters over and over and over again.

Sure.

Come on buddy, if you've played even a handful of their games you must know that simply using the same IP isn't the same making the same game. How exactly is Super Mario Party the same as Mario Kart, and how is that the same as Luigi's Mansion? And even then, installments of the 'same' game come about once or twice every generation at worst rather than yearly "No really this is an entirely different game from just a short while ago" installments like what everyone else in the market seems to do.
[/quote]

Eri:
Is that why they made the Wii, the almost failest console of all time?

(inb4 people say because it made money it was a success despite failing in all other regards)

So it failed despite being the most successful console financially, but you're not going to bother to explain why? Um, okay then. So we're just supposed to take your word for it, then?

Is that why they made the Wii, the almost failest console of all time?

(inb4 people say because it made money it was a success despite failing in all other regards)

Eri:
Is that why they made the Wii, the almost failest console of all time?

(inb4 people say because it made money it was a success despite failing in all other regards)

I don't see where the Wii was a failure, except maybe graphics.
It was the best console of the previous generation.

Muscular Pikachu you say?

Well, it's awesome how Nintendo simply stuck with their guns and ran with it, instead of giving in to what's belived to be popular at the moment.

People will run here and start with "But they make Mario over and over, and over again!", I know of certain other companies that makes certain yearly games that are fairly similar to each other, and no, 50 gb of data doesn't count as "innovation".

Ninty has it's niche and that other franchise has it's (HUGE) niche, if people don't like 'em, there are many other options out there (like, literally thousands of different options).

Eri:
Is that why they made the Wii, the almost failest console of all time?

(inb4 people say because it made money it was a success despite failing in all other regards)

This post makes my brain hurt. "Fail" in the sense of how the internet uses it is not the same as "failure."

Objectively, the Wii was the most successful console of the previous generation in spite of only having a relatively small selection of titles that were actually worthwhile. It is far from a failure.

Desert Punk:
Isnt afraid of failure, but yses the same characters over and over and over again.

Sure.

How does that have anything to do with not being afraid of failure? Nintendo has its library of first person properties, sure. But each time they wheel one of those properties out they try something completely different and new within that framework.

SupahGamuh:
50 gb of data doesn't count as "innovation".

Pfft, yes it does. Just wait until Call of Duty: Encyclopedia Guntannia. 5000TB of modern literary shooter with totally sweet graphics brah!

It's weird hearing him say "Nintendo is not good at competing" when they have dominated the handheld gaming market for years. That's just the power of the pokeymans I guess.

Infernal Lawyer:

Edit:

Desert Punk:
Isnt afraid of failure, but yses the same characters over and over and over again.

Sure.

Fixed the youtube for you, cause you didnt do it right in the first time. :P

Also allow me to chuckle about you "calling" something when you post several minutes AFTER me?

Pickapok:

How does that have anything to do with not being afraid of failure? Nintendo has its library of first person properties, sure. But each time they wheel one of those properties out they try something completely different and new within that framework.

You have to wonder how many of those would sink or swim if they didnt have random franchise #32 name attached to it though.

Granted they arent as bad as some others. I am looking at you Syndicate!

Cognimancer:
Iwata cites the Pokemon franchise as an example of Nintendo making a strange call that paid off in the end. "Will America accept cute monsters? No, they said. Some people even recommended to make Pikachu more muscular. If we followed their advice Pokemon would never have been the success that it was."

He's claiming that someone genuinely thought cute sprites would be wildly unpopular with people? Is the "they" he's referencing beings that had never encountered humans and had no knowledge of video games, or does Iwata just hang out with lots of people who hate sprites and inexplicably lack human emotions and therefore do not enjoy cuteness?

Desert Punk:

Infernal Lawyer:

Edit:

Desert Punk:
Isnt afraid of failure, but yses the same characters over and over and over again.

Sure.

Fixed the youtube for you, cause you didnt do it right in the first time. :P

Also allow me to chuckle about you "calling" something when you post several minutes AFTER me?

Pickapok:

How does that have anything to do with not being afraid of failure? Nintendo has its library of first person properties, sure. But each time they wheel one of those properties out they try something completely different and new within that framework.

You have to wonder how many of those would sink or swim if they didnt have random franchise #32 name attached to it though.

Nah, I fixed it myself. Figured it wasn't working, so I just posted it anyway and got tips somewhere else. Thanks anyway though.

And I don't blame you for not believing me. I should have added "ninja'd, but still fucking called it in my head" or something. I just noticed what you said after I posted my initial comment. Hence the 'edit'.

Oh, and I edited that post further, so would you like to answer that, please? :P

Edit: Cripes, I'm having a hard time making these damn things XD

Infernal Lawyer:

Edit: Cripes, I'm having a hard time making these damn things XD

Did you mean to quote me a second time in that other post, I didnt mention the Wii being a failure :P

And sure, the games are a bit different. But as I said, you have to wonder how many of those would fail completely if they didnt have Mario/Zelda/Whatever attached to it knowing that they will sell copies just because it has those characters attached to it.

Desert Punk:

Infernal Lawyer:

Edit: Cripes, I'm having a hard time making these damn things XD

Did you mean to quote me a second time in that other post, I didnt mention the Wii being a failure :P

And sure, the games are a bit different. But as I said, you have to wonder how many of those would fail completely if they didnt have Mario/Zelda/Whatever attached to it knowing that they will sell copies just because it has those characters attached to it.

And because they're good.

And why do you keep with that? There were Two Super Mario on Wii, 3 if you count NSMBW, it's not yearly releases, it's one of the reasons they can prolong the sagas.

Not afraid of failure? It does explain why they seem to be trying so hard to do it.

Anoni Mus:

Desert Punk:

Infernal Lawyer:

Edit: Cripes, I'm having a hard time making these damn things XD

Did you mean to quote me a second time in that other post, I didnt mention the Wii being a failure :P

And sure, the games are a bit different. But as I said, you have to wonder how many of those would fail completely if they didnt have Mario/Zelda/Whatever attached to it knowing that they will sell copies just because it has those characters attached to it.

And because they're good.

And why do you keep with that? There were Two Super Mario on Wii, 3 if you count NSMBW, it's not yearly releases, it's one of the reasons they can prolong the sagas.

It's actually kinda funny. There are more Call of Duty games on the Wii than Mario games. There's also the same amouny of Street Fighter IV games on PS3 and Xbox as the number of Mario games, yes 3 releases of Street Fighter IV.

Yes, Mario and Zelda have had a ton of releases, but they are also really old series. I don't think they are still around because they have a massive fan abse that buy all their games. A good deal of those who buy the games today are too young to have grown up with it and share fond memories of their first game being Super Mario. They may be recycling quite a bit, but there's few really innovative games even when we leave Nintendo. While it would be neat if game development would be at least a little bit innovative innovation for the sake of innovation isn't really a good thing.

CriticalMiss:

It's weird hearing him say "Nintendo is not good at competing" when they have dominated the handheld gaming market for years. That's just the power of the pokeymans I guess.

I think thats the idea-- really until the apple iphone, they weren't competing. Others were trying to compete, and doing a poor job of it.

Desert Punk:

Infernal Lawyer:

Edit: Cripes, I'm having a hard time making these damn things XD

Did you mean to quote me a second time in that other post, I didnt mention the Wii being a failure :P

And sure, the games are a bit different. But as I said, you have to wonder how many of those would fail completely if they didnt have Mario/Zelda/Whatever attached to it knowing that they will sell copies just because it has those characters attached to it.

I can't really argue with that, even though I don't think it's THAT much of a bad thing as long as the game is still quality and you're not just slapping a well known image onto a mediocre or crappy game for easy sales (looking at you Call of Duty: Declassified, you piece of utter and complete garbage).

I recall reading somewhere about how Super Smash Bros actually started out as just having general faceless brawlers (or at least as late as the Alpha version) until someone came up with the idea of asking Nintendo if they could use their characters, so I guess there's that (IF I'm not just talking out of my ass). Again though, if the game is worth playing and not just a cheap cash cow, using well known IP's to secure interest in it isn't a bad thing... and then there's the whole "innovation for it's own sake is bad" argument, but I digress.

I suppose I agree with you more or less, anyway, even if I don't see a problem with how Nintendo does it per say... for now :P

sooo...a Pikachu in its resting state looks like a bunch on bananas Oo ?..

bravetoaster:
or does Iwata just hang out with lots of people who hate sprites and inexplicably lack human emotions and therefore do not enjoy cuteness?

tbth the contents of an average corporate boardroom would probably do well to avoid "psych evaluations"....

Desert Punk:

Infernal Lawyer:

Edit: Cripes, I'm having a hard time making these damn things XD

Did you mean to quote me a second time in that other post, I didnt mention the Wii being a failure :P

And sure, the games are a bit different. But as I said, you have to wonder how many of those would fail completely if they didnt have Mario/Zelda/Whatever attached to it knowing that they will sell copies just because it has those characters attached to it.

Because Star Fox Adventures, Mario Sunshine, Metroid: Other M, and Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker are great examples of games that the brand name did not equal sales. Wind Waker is the most under rated of the list too.

Well good for Nintendo, I'd almost say it was a brilliant business plan if we assume that the eight generation won't last eight years like this one did. The success of the Wii and the 3DS will always be in their favour. Besides, if they didn't do their own thing we'd have three PlayBox U's so that'd be boring. Or god forbid a 3DVita.

Well, this works for games...

On the system side there's being stupidly stubborn about the internet not existing till you're years behind everyone else and still haven't caught up yet. Friend codes were a failure with no upside at all. Hell, the entire online strategy hasn't been 'challenging the status quo' so much as 'desperately trying to pretend it doesn't exist, because we sure don't have a clue what the hell we're doing here'.

I say amen to that.

Nintendo may have had some slip-ups in the past, but they always bounce back!

I wouldnt be afraid of failure if i had one of the largest working capitals in existence either!

Iwata cites the Pokemon franchise as an example of Nintendo making a strange call that paid off in the end.

It would be an even better example of a "play it safe" Nintendo franchise that's terrified of change and innovating in any way whatsoever. It's pretty much Nintendo's COD.

That's great Nintendo. Now if you could "take a risk" and send us some Mother 3 love?

I'd probably say the same after releasing that pile of crap The Wii, Other M, Skyward Sword, the 'NEW' (of all the fucking buzz words) Super Mario Brothers a couple of times, the other extremely safe titles, etc. Not to mention you have defenders everywhere that you don't need to pay.

Oh well. I hope they do better with the Wii U.

I'm glad Nintendo keeps doing what they do, there aren't really any other companies filling that niche. Alternatively they would be churning out first person shooters and story driven cover shooters, and i honestly prefer them being stuck in the past, to that. I think they are really good at innovating their franchises (apart from Zelda that is...), the new mario games always has some new gameplay element that shakes things up by having actual impact on the gameplay and level design. And they are generally really good at kerping things fresh with the way they design their levels.

I just wished they made new characters once in a while (the once they made for WarioWare seties were awesome), and i wished they had a bit more succes, cause they are a refreshing alternative to PS and Xbox, which are mostly similar to each other. I like that they don't really care about story and online features and i like that they care about gamedesign and level design.

Nazulu:
I'd probably say the same after releasing that pile of crap The Wii, Other M, Skyward Sword, the 'NEW' (of all the fucking buzz words) Super Mario Brothers a couple of times, the other extremely safe titles, etc. Not to mention you have defenders everywhere that you don't need to pay.

Oh well. I hope they do better with the Wii U.

What? Zelda Skyward Sword? The Zelda with the best combat controlls, best graphics, probably best characters and story too? And rated 93.25% on Gamerankings?
New Super Mario Bros Wii was just one game. And it was just the second of the series.

I'll give you Other M.

MrBaskerville:
I'm glad Nintendo keeps doing what they do, there aren't really any other companies filling that niche. Alternatively they would be churning out first person shooters and story driven cover shooters, and i honestly prefer them being stuck in the past, to that. I think they are really good at innovating their franchises (apart from Zelda that is...), the new mario games always has some new gameplay element that shakes things up by having actual impact on the gameplay and level design. And they are generally really good at kerping things fresh with the way they design their levels.

I just wished they made new characters once in a while (the once they made for WarioWare seties were awesome), and i wished they had a bit more succes, cause they are a refreshing alternative to PS and Xbox, which are mostly similar to each other. I like that they don't really care about story and online features and i like that they care about gamedesign and level design.

Except for Zelda? The only Zelda that played it safe and barely inovating was Twilight Princess since it was a return to Oot style. And even then it had the wolf and awesome dungeons.

Anoni Mus:

Nazulu:
I'd probably say the same after releasing that pile of crap The Wii, Other M, Skyward Sword, the 'NEW' (of all the fucking buzz words) Super Mario Brothers a couple of times, the other extremely safe titles, etc. Not to mention you have defenders everywhere that you don't need to pay.

Oh well. I hope they do better with the Wii U.

What? Zelda Skyward Sword? The Zelda with the best combat controlls, best graphics, probably best characters and story too? And rated 93.25% on Gamerankings?
New Super Mario Bros Wii was just one game. And it was just the second of the series.

I'll give you Other M.

MrBaskerville:
I'm glad Nintendo keeps doing what they do, there aren't really any other companies filling that niche. Alternatively they would be churning out first person shooters and story driven cover shooters, and i honestly prefer them being stuck in the past, to that. I think they are really good at innovating their franchises (apart from Zelda that is...), the new mario games always has some new gameplay element that shakes things up by having actual impact on the gameplay and level design. And they are generally really good at kerping things fresh with the way they design their levels.

I just wished they made new characters once in a while (the once they made for WarioWare seties were awesome), and i wished they had a bit more succes, cause they are a refreshing alternative to PS and Xbox, which are mostly similar to each other. I like that they don't really care about story and online features and i like that they care about gamedesign and level design.

Except for Zelda? The only Zelda that played it safe and barely inovating was Twilight Princess since it was a return to Oot style. And even then it had the wolf and awesome dungeons.

I hated Skyward Sword (except for a good dungeon here and there), i've never played a game so padded and bogged down by annoying tutorials, they always tell you things 3 times, even though they are often stating the obvious. So frustrating to play!

Gameplayvise i thought it was fine, the wii controls were fun enough, but i don't really think it's that much different than TP, WW or OOT. The way the gameplay plays just makes it all very similar no matter how they try to dress it up. I don't think the level design has any impact on the combat system and the various items you collect don't really change things that much. It can be fun. and all the games has some neat puzzles and dungeon designs, but they still pretty much feel the same to me. The handheld versions is a different story though.

Anoni Mus:

Nazulu:
I'd probably say the same after releasing that pile of crap The Wii, Other M, Skyward Sword, the 'NEW' (of all the fucking buzz words) Super Mario Brothers a couple of times, the other extremely safe titles, etc. Not to mention you have defenders everywhere that you don't need to pay.

Oh well. I hope they do better with the Wii U.

What? Zelda Skyward Sword? The Zelda with the best combat controlls, best graphics, probably best characters and story too? And rated 93.25% on Gamerankings?
New Super Mario Bros Wii was just one game. And it was just the second of the series.

I'll give you Other M

You really expect that to convince me? Just forget it mate.

bravetoaster:

Cognimancer:
Iwata cites the Pokemon franchise as an example of Nintendo making a strange call that paid off in the end. "Will America accept cute monsters? No, they said. Some people even recommended to make Pikachu more muscular. If we followed their advice Pokemon would never have been the success that it was."

He's claiming that someone genuinely thought cute sprites would be wildly unpopular with people? Is the "they" he's referencing beings that had never encountered humans and had no knowledge of video games, or does Iwata just hang out with lots of people who hate sprites and inexplicably lack human emotions and therefore do not enjoy cuteness?

That sort of thing does happen. Americans have a different set of values when it comes to an interesting looking game. I remember an interesting horror game called "Nanashi no Game" was never translated to English because focus groups complained that "you couldn't shoot anything".

It's very possible that they thought the cute levels of pokemon could have driven away the consumers who would look at it and assume it's a kiddy game that isn't worth their time causing it to fail in the states.

Desert Punk:

Infernal Lawyer:

Edit: Cripes, I'm having a hard time making these damn things XD

Did you mean to quote me a second time in that other post, I didnt mention the Wii being a failure :P

And sure, the games are a bit different. But as I said, you have to wonder how many of those would fail completely if they didnt have Mario/Zelda/Whatever attached to it knowing that they will sell copies just because it has those characters attached to it.

It's interesting you say that.

Okami, widely regarded as cult classic and one of the best Legend of Zelda titles around, has been released for seven years, across three different platforms.

How many copies has it sold, you ask?

Roughly 1.5 million (because sales figures for the downloadable PS3 version are speculative at best).

How much has The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D--a remake for a handheld system of a game that has been released over and over again for fifteen years (not even making jokes at the expense of other Zelda games, Ocarina has probably been re-released more than any of them if you count the compilations)--sold?

3.14 million.

Anoni Mus:

Eri:
Is that why they made the Wii, the almost failest console of all time?

(inb4 people say because it made money it was a success despite failing in all other regards)

I don't see where the Wii was a failure, except maybe graphics.
It was the best console of the previous generation.

That seems really subjective. You can't declare that the Wii is the "Best" console of it's generation like it's a fact. In my opinion, it was the worst console with a crappy gimmick, no games I wanted, and tons of really bad games (especially when they did get Cross Platform games). At least the N64 had games I wanted.

I wouldn't call it a failure. But I certainly wouldn't call it the best console of it's generation. I mean it sold a lot of consoles at a profit. So, that was a thing.

Also, motion controls suck. So does 3D.

shrekfan246:

Desert Punk:

Infernal Lawyer:

Edit: Cripes, I'm having a hard time making these damn things XD

Did you mean to quote me a second time in that other post, I didnt mention the Wii being a failure :P

And sure, the games are a bit different. But as I said, you have to wonder how many of those would fail completely if they didnt have Mario/Zelda/Whatever attached to it knowing that they will sell copies just because it has those characters attached to it.

It's interesting you say that.

Okami, widely regarded as cult classic and one of the best Legend of Zelda titles around, has been released for seven years, across three different platforms.

How many copies has it sold, you ask?

Roughly 1.5 million (because sales figures for the downloadable PS3 version are speculative at best).

How much has The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D--a remake for a handheld system of a game that has been released over and over again for fifteen years (not even making jokes at the expense of other Zelda games, Ocarina has probably been re-released more than any of them if you count the compilations)--sold?

3.14 million.

Another thing Okami suffered from was a poor lack of any real marketing. I wasn't even aware of the games' existence until I saw it featured on Spike TV Awards (where it promptly lost to every single category to CoD and similar shooters.)

However the same thing can be said for their recent W101. Everyone cried for a new IP, and nobody actually went out of the way to buy a new IP.

So I can't really blame Nintendo for doing new things, but sticking a familiar old coat of paint on it.

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