Nintendo: Only Rival Is 'Indifferent' Consumer
Nintendo's biggest challenge to further market expansion is the remaining "consumer indifferent to games," says Nintendo Korea's chief executive -- who doesn't consider Microsoft and Sony to be direct rivals.
Speaking to The Korea Herald, Mineo Koda claims that
the company has seen no sign of hardware sales being affected by the global economic downturn.
Nintendo claims that the recent launch of Wii Fit
has apparently been performing relatively well in South Korea, which is not historically a console-rich market. Nintendo DS sales also continue to rise, passing the two million mark in 2008.
"Sales of our products do not depend on whether the economy is good or not, but whether we introduce fun products or not. I realized this through my experience in the video game industry," said the 25 year Nintendo veteran.
With South Korea boasting one of the fastest broadband infrastructures in the world, PC gaming has long dominated in the country. However, Koda still describes the online market as having "a limited audience."
"We believe that the Korean market has growth potential as there are many people who are not interested in online games and who used to play online games, but do not play them anymore," he said. "We would like to continue our challenge of broadening our customer base in Korea."
He concluded: "As there were many violent games, many parents had negative images of games. We face a major challenge of changing those negative images."
However, Koda did not address piracy, which is still a major problem in South Korea, with DS flash carts and even pirated Wii software apparently limiting official software sales significantly, in some cases.