Company president explains that you can’t rush quality, and “Miyamoto is not a god”
Nintendo President Satoru Iwata has responded to criticisms surrounding the Wii’s slender release list in the first half of 2009.
Speaking at a press conference after the company’s financial briefing back in March (the translated transcript of which has only just been released), Iwata suggested that the lack of new compelling software for the Wii since Christmas was “inevitable” due to the pressure in delivering quality products.
“Honestly speaking,” he said, “whether entertainment software is good enough or not cannot be told until development nears completion. Even amongst the software created by Shigeru Miyamoto of Nintendo, some have turned out to be entertaining enough in line with the original development concept while some turned out to be lacking something in the end.”
Iwata disagreed that Nintendo’s inability to promptly release software should be deemed a mistake. He believed that a delay means Nintendo are looking to make a product more entertaining.
“One of the reasons why Miyamoto is highly praised is because of his ability to stop, rethink about, and fix how he can convey the appeal of a software when he finds out during the latter phase of development that the software will not be good enough. This is why the games he has worked on have a high batting average to produce big hits,” he said.
“However, he is not God and even Miyamoto himself cannot hit the mark every time nor always predict how long it takes to complete development.”
Iwata’s answers were in response to a question which cited the unimpressive sales of Wii Music. Also, at E3 last year, Nintendo pledged to deliver Wii Sports Resort in Spring 2009; a launch window which has since been pulled back to June and July, leaving a big-game-sized hole in the Jan-July release schedule.
“I believe my management job is to set parameters of the development timeframe,” added Iwata, “and with this uncertainty in mind, to plan our product launch timings without too much time between each one, but it is not easy to get this down perfectly.”
He added that Nintendo is of course making efforts not to miss out on “great opportunities”, a sentiment highlighted by the fact that the Wii is selling at an all-time low in Japan.
“While it is always my goal to be able to build development plans so that the company can constantly provide the market with software that surprises consumers in meaningful ways one after another, it is easier said than done and the actual lineup is not always as I had imagined it.”
Iwata concluded that the company has “found some seeds of potential next fun things”, which he hopes he can show in the near future.