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Nintendo: Only Rival Is 'Indifferent' Consumer
Nintendo: Only Rival Is 'Indifferent' Consumer
January 14, 2009 | By David Jenkins

January 14, 2009 | By David Jenkins
More: Console/PC

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.

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Ian Fisch
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I think the one good thing that will come with the recession is that hopefully 2009 teaches Nintendo a lesson for what they've done with the Wii.

Myself and almost every hardcore gamer I know bought a Wii when it was released based on the promise of an exciting advancement in input technology. Then we realized that the Wii advertisements and press releases were misleading of what the technology was actually capable of. We also thought that Zelda, Excite Truck and Red Steel represented the beginning of a steady flow of hardcore games - instead Nintendo completely abandoned the hardcore gamer in favor of fad gamers. Would it have killed them to use some of their amazing wealth to invest in a few hardcore projects? If they'd done so in mid-2006 my Wii would have something to do right now other than gather dust.

People suspect that 2009 will put a halt to these impulse buyers. Nintendo will have to come back to the hardcore audience that it so flippantly abandoned. I for one am done buying Nintendo consoles.

E Zachary Knight
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I think I am the opposite. After the PS came out Iwent that way and skipped the N64 and GC. They didn't have anything I wanted to play. I was young and had tons of time.

The Wii has actually gottne me back into Nintendo and I am loving not only playing some of the great games from Nintendo but also the many 3rd party developers who actually care. I have also started going back and buying GC games I skipped and playing those now.

It is the 3rd parties you should be looking towards for your "hardcore" needs. Nintendo can only go so many directions at once. They cannot please everyone. But with all the 3rd party devs, there should be games enough for every one.

It is funny that in your list of games you list only one Nintendo developed and published game, yet go off and berate Nintendo for abandoning the "hardcore"

Fábio Bernardon
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Nintendo delivered what they promised. What they did not expected was that people would be expecting more than that - and they are willing to provide more, with another peripheral.

And the lack of the so called "hardcore games" is not Nintendo fault. They release most of their major franchises in 1.5 years, and are developing more. The fault here is from 3rd parties that did not expected/invested in the Wii. That may change this year, although I believe most publishes will rather close its door investing in PS3/XBox360 than turning to Nintendo's side.

E Zachary Knight
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Judging by everyone's best 2009 Wii games, it looks like several developers are changing over already. More will be announced this year.

Alvaro Cavalcanti
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That's so true. It's 3rd Parties' fault. A couple of months ago (I think) I read a statement from a producer (can't remember the company) saying that they regret not giving the proper credit for Wii and that only now they would start developing hardcore titles for it.

The way I see it (and hope) this year will have some nice surprises for the hardcore market.

Sean Parton
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There's a fair few awesome hardcore games for the Wii, especially M-rated ones. This whole "no hardcore games for Wii" argument is beyond old.

Misc Wii "Hardcore" Games (sans most obvious ones):

~No More Heroes

~de Blob

~Geometry Wars: Galaxies

~The "House of the Dead" ports

~Guilty Gear XX Λ Core

~Metroid Prime 3

~Mushroom Men: The Spore Wars

WiiWare Games:

~Dr Mario Online Rx

~Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King

~Star Soldier R

Just a random lottery pick from me off of Wikipedia, YMMV for genres and so forth.

Carlo Delallana
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Quote - "As there were many violent games, many parents had negative images of games. We face a major challenge of changing those negative images."

Strides are being made in that direction and we can see the fallout from this. The audience for games is widening but another perception issue could make a comeback. Shovelware helped sink the mighty Atari 2600 empire. Indifference can come out of this scenario as well when the new audience sees no further value in games.

This is really not an issue of casual versus core, new unskilled players versus long-term skilled players. This is about respecting your customer, respecting the player.

You can't expect to have a longterm relationship with your players if you keep subjecting them to sub-par experiences regardless of who it is you are targeting. otherwise we will end up with an indifferent audience.

Jonathan Pynn
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@ Carlo... Extremely well said.

Fábio Bernardon
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@ Carlo. Indeed, very well said. But do not forget that Nintendo do not publish trash, and that is why they have a huge fan base and their games always sell millions. Other companies do publish trash, and then they complain that their games do not sell as well...

And I agree with you, too much bad games may give a bad impression of the system in the long run. And then it may affect all titles in that platform, not only the bad ones. But I think these new gamers will take a while to see that difference, so we will have to wait and see.

Jamie Roberts
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In order for consumers to take the platform seriously, developers have to take it seriously. And yeah, the third parties are definitely skimping in that department.