Iwata hopes to earn back the core gamer love.
With its Wii and DS platforms, said company big boss Satoru Iwata in an investors' briefing in Tokyo, Nintendo had immensely succeeded at appealing to a new audience beyond the traditional gamer hardcore. However, it had "regrettably" done so at the cost of possibly alienating that very same core audience, who perhaps felt "that the Wii was not a game system for them" despite the release of "compelling" games, he admitted. This, said Iwata, was something that Nintendo was hoping to change with its next generation of hardware.
Once consumers came to believe that a system "is not for us," said Iwata, it was "extremely difficult" to change their minds. It was a balance of consumer "width" - appealing to a wide range of potential customers who may only buy one or two products - and "depth" - appealing to a narrow subsection of customers who will buy many products, he said. With the 3DS and Wii U, Nintendo intended to focus on consumer depth first with games that appealed to the hardcore, and go for consumer width second with the next-generation equivalents of titles like Brain Training, Wii Sports or Wii Fit.
Despite the 3DS' middling success worldwide and a seemingly collective sense of apathy, confusion or possibly both about the prospects of the Wii U, Iwata seemed optimistic about their prospects. The proof would be in the software, he said - just as "not so many people were able to comprehend the potential" of the Wii and DS when Nintendo had merely been talking about their killer apps instead of demonstrating them, the same would hold true for the Wii U and 3DS.
However, Nintendo wasn't ready to play its cards just yet. "[As] people in the industry have observed what we have done in the past, if we prematurely disclose our development information, it is possible that products with similar concepts could be launched before Nintendo itself can finalize and launch the products."
Throughout the investor Q&A, Iwata stressed that Nintendo would be both demonstrating a "richer" 3DS lineup and showing off first-and-third party titles for the Wii U this year at E3.
"[We] have not designed [the Nintendo 3DS and the Wii U] to be mere improved versions of their predecessors," he said. "We have designed them so that they can realize what has been impossible."