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Nintendo's Miyamoto Addresses Wii U Price, Power, iPad Similarities
Nintendo's Miyamoto Addresses Wii U Price, Power, iPad Similarities
June 20, 2011 | By Kyle Orland

June 20, 2011 | By Kyle Orland
More: Console/PC, Business/Marketing

Veteran Nintendo designer and EAD general manager Shigeru Miyamoto says the recently announced Wii U may not "necessarily dramatically outperform the systems that are out now," partially out of deference to price concerns.

In an interview with GameSpot, Miyamoto said including the new touchscreen controller with the system "maybe to a certain degree somewhat reckless" from a cost standpoint, and that the company is trying hard to find the right balance between advanced technology and family-friendly pricing.

"We're very sensitive to pricing because people have generally only a certain amount of their spending that they'll devote to entertainment," Miyamoto said. "And if you're talking about parents buying something for kids, there are certain price points where parents may be willing to or not willing to purchase a certain product."

"But at the same time, you have these technological advances, and you have the needs of being able to take advantage of that technology, and those result in increasing costs and things like that," he continued.

Nintendo president Satoru Iwata told Nikkei this month that the Wii U would likely cost more than the Wii's price of ¥20,000 ($250).

Iwata has also said he hopes that the system's HD graphics will help attract third-party first-person shooters to the system.

Miyamoto used the GameSpot interview to reject the idea that the Wii U's touchscreen controller was somehow inspired by the success of Apple's iPad, saying the company had worked on the concept for "several years" before Apple's tablet computer launched.

"We felt it was kind of a funny coincidence that, while we had been working on this, all of a sudden right as we're getting ready to bring it to the public, there's this tablet boom," he said.

"On the one hand we felt that if we were to show it off at E3 last year, then people would look at it and say, 'Oh, it's like a tablet.' But on the other hand, it may have actually helped us because it made it easier for people to understand the concept."

Elsewhere in the interview, Miyamoto refused to rule out the future availability of Virtual Boy titles on the 3DS' digital eShop, but said the idea was "not my exact plan."

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John Leffingwell
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How about modification?

"I want everyone in the world to have a software reason to buy a Wii U!"

Nathaniel Smith
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I'm sure Nintendo will put everything into insuring the wii u's selling price does not go above $250, even if that means sacrificing gaming power for gaming gimm...- I mean innovation.

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I'm not really a fan of the Wii. That said...I'm kind of hoping that third party shooters don't fare well. To get me to get it, just make some innovative games, and make them fun without being minigame-fests.

And possibly have a standard controller instead....? No? Ok :).

Jamie Mann
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"Miyamoto used the GameSpot interview to reject the idea that the Wii U's touchscreen controller was somehow inspired by the success of Apple's iPad, saying the company had worked on the concept for "several years" before Apple's tablet computer launched."

To be fair, there's probably some truth in this: at heart, the Wii U controller is essentially modelled on the 3DS and Nintendo has dabbled in the past with console/handheld hookups - the Gamecube/GBA hookup being the best-known one, though there was also some Wii/DS experiments (e.g. Geometry Wars). However, I'd suggest that the size of the touchscreen is in direct response to the iPad; I was genuinely surprised at the fact that Nintendo has gone for a 6" screen, given the issues it causes around ergonomics, battery life and production costs. And that's before you consider the "single player" setup they've been forced to adopt.

"Iwata has also said he hopes that the system's HD graphics will help attract third-party first-person shooters to the system."

Graphics may help, but as Techni pointed out, it's not just about the graphics these days, but about the surround: you need an award system, a robust online multiplayer component and a system for issuing updates and buying DLC. To date, Nintendo has not shown any particular experience in providing any of these things.

"Elsewhere in the interview, Miyamoto refused to rule out the future availability of Virtual Boy titles on the 3DS' digital eShop, but said the idea was "not my exact plan." "

Enabling Virtual Boy titles seems highly unlikely: they were designed to be played while (effectively) peering into a darkened periscope. They're not going to transition well onto a brightly lit "open view" screen.

Todd Boyd
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5"-7" tablets seem to be the "sweet spot" for Android devices, so I'm not altogether surprised at its dimensions.

Jason Ward
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I think it's worth clarifying that they haven't adopted a "single player" approach at all. Rather, the Wii U's main controller is focused on one main player (AKA, the "core" gamer), whether she's playing alone or online. The Wiimotes (which I have little doubt will see a revision revealed at E3 2012, along with the Wii U's shipping dates and prices) will facilitate backward compatibility and, of course, casual play in a familiar established, confirmed-selling way.

As for HD graphics, I do think that's plenty to get developers on board, but agree that they also need to add multiplayer. An awards system isn't strictly necessary (though I have to admit I've become a bit of an Achievement whore on Xbox 360, I still couldn't give two shits about Trophies on my PS3, nor do I miss either of them on my Wii), but I do think they could knock one out easily simply by creating a "star system" utilizing, of course, Mario's famous stars. Give them in Gold, Silver and Bronze flavors, each with a numeric point value (100/50/25), allow developers to integrate them into their games, and bam--you've got the best of both Achievements AND Trophies.

Now, it's not strictly true to say Nintendo hasn't shown any experience in providing a market for DLC or updates; on the contrary, they've updated the Wii numerous times with expanded capabilities and delivered a fair number of good games to the WiiWare channel, to say nothing of adding channels like Netflix, weather, news, etc. Hopefully they refine these and open them up, but I guess we'll see. I'd love to see them add a marketplace and an SDK, then charge people a 30% fee like everyone else to sell their apps/games on the marketplace. They really could make a mint off Wii U that way, and we'd see some slick apps and games that'd really make the device extremely robust.

Time will tell, I suppose :)

Kamruz Moslemi
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Nintendo has always been the biggest supporter of their own home console systems. I would assume that they know this themselves despite their half hearted attempts at courting third parties which historically have always failed them in the long run.

But then Nintendo of NA had a chance this E3 to throw what remains of their core Wii owners a bone by announcing the long overdue localization of Xenoblade, Last Story and Pandora's tower among others in order to pad out the anemic road to the successor home system, and yet no word.

So far it seems that they are determined to just drop the Wii like a rock as soon as they have their focus set on the horizon, which, once again, is par for the course. The biggest disappointment of the Wii was the lack of a steady stream of compelling first party titles for their core audience, so here to hoping that Nintendo is focusing most of their efforts on addressing that in the future.

Alas I fear having two graphically intensive systems to support will prove too taxing for their internal developers to support in a timely manner in the long run. Giving third rate properties like Luigi's Mansion to outside developers to handle as a way to pad out the most anemic patches is only going to last them so far.

Their long dev cycles for core properties with years of polish and experimentation is both a blessing and a curse in that regard.

Sean Kiley
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Couldn't they sell the system at a loss and make money off software like the old days? Don't get greedy N!

Jamie Mann
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When has Nintendo not sold their hardware at a profit?

Doug Poston
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When did not selling things at a loss become greedy and not just good business?

Yes, they could try to do the same thing as Sony and Microsoft and lose lots of money for the first couple of years in hopes they can last long enough to make a profit but I imagine that's harder to do when you don't have several other products to prop you up while you wait.

Jason Ward
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That's a failed business model. Ask Sony and the $5,000,000,000 hole where their wallet used to be :p

Jonathan Murphy
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Will the virtual store be fully stocked day one? Will there be an online community for the Wii U? Will they charge a monthly fee for services? The key to supremacy will lie in their online capabilities.

Giro Maioriello
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'The key to supremacy will lie in their online capabilities.'

The more I think about it, the less convinced I am that online is that important.

After all, the Wii has the least amount of online support but the highest sales.

If online was that important surely the Xbox 360 would have sold 86 million instead?

When you work in the industry it's hard not to look though 'gamer goggles' (for lack of a better term) and see what is important to the typical customer. I still feel that online needs better implementation from Nintendo. I just don't think it's a major selling point for them.

Nick Kinsman
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I'm not sure that's fair, because Nintendo is stating this precisely with relation to attracting those wearing 'gamer goggles'. They want the hardcore back, but the majority of the hardcore are vested elsewhere, in many respects, because you have good online support. The Wii sold fantastically, but it's because there was fan-held devotion, and casual wildfire. There's a lot of goodwill gone from that among the old 'fans', and I know I for one have no reason to go back to them. A functional online service is a pretty big deal right now.

Giro Maioriello
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The term 'hardcore' is always tricky one to deal with. I don't particularly like terms like hardcore and casual.

Arguably Nintendo has never had a hardcore audience - depending on what is considered the definition of hardcore. There are games that most people would consider hardcore now - that were considered casual 7-8 years ago and vice versa. What is mostly now considered the casual market was around long before the Wii.

The 'hardcore' gamers that you talk about were never going to buy the Wii in significant numbers, no matter how good the online service was. The Wii just didn't fit the values that are important to them. Chances are that they're not going to buy the Wii U in significant numbers either for exactly the same reason.

The idea that Nintendo abandoned it's fans is a bit silly. Nintendo is doing what it always does, making family friendly games that are meant to be accessible. The fact that the 'hardcore' are now mostly interested in COD is out of Nintendo's control. So they're going to continue doing what they're good at; and why not - they've been hugely successful at it so far.

With regards to 'Gamer Goggles', I was actually referring to my experiences within the games industry. In my experience the work force is dominated by 18-35 men, who mostly have the same gaming habits and play-style and tastes. They spend all their time around other gamers like who are more or less like themselves. There's a tendency to forget this, so their views can become somewhat skewed compared to what normal gaming habits are - hence people in the games biz can wear 'gamer goggles'. :P

Andre Murphy
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I don't care where the inspiration for the Wii U's controller came from (The I pad, the DS, or whatever!). I just hope Nintendo actually "BRINGS IT" this time around! "NO MORE GIMMICKS!" (which were pretty fun at first. But after the initial nostalgia wears off. What do you have left?)

You don't have to forget about the Wii fanbase but make sure this next system will also pull in the hardcore gamers as well. But not only with hardcore games. YOU MUST HAVE A ONLINE NETWORK UP & READY FROM DAY ONE!!

As for the price? I expect to see at least $300. Higher than $350 & I'll be shocked!