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Leading The 3DS Charge: An Interview With Hideki Konno
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Leading The 3DS Charge: An Interview With Hideki Konno

March 21, 2011 Article Start Previous Page 4 of 4

I think that developers would agree with you -- that selling games for a dollar isn't really sustainable. But what they've been able to do is evolve things very quickly. Things continue to evolve very quickly. Traditionally console or handheld platforms have not evolved as quickly; they've not been able to be updated to the same extent, or try new business models.

Apple has enabled in-app purchases. Also game developers all started racing to the bottom, and then they said "We can't do this anymore," so they thought of different strategies to try to combat that as well.

HK: Mr. Iwata has said that content has value, and we really want to maintain the high value of that content. So of course Nintendo makes hardware, but really what supports that is our software. And so what we're always thinking about is consistently creating engaging content that will keep customers, again, engaged and excited.

So now in terms of one dollar games, or free games, or whatever that is out there in the market, I mean, really, we're not going to be competing with that. We're not going to try to match that; we're just going to continually strive to not just maintain, but increase, the quality of the entertainment that we're providing, and let it sort itself out. Again, we're not worried about competing at a price point level.

And I don't think that's just Nintendo, I believe that's more than likely Sony and Microsoft's opinion on that as well. Now of course as a customer, if somebody said to me, "Hey, we've got Call of Duty on your portable device and it's only going to cost you 100 yen," yeah, I'd be super stoked, really excited about that.

And I'd be really excited to see a great game at a really cheap price, but I just don't think that you could make a game that's immersive and as big as, let's say Call of Duty, or any other large title, and sell it at that price point; it's just not possible. The only way that you're going to get a game at that price point is if it's a limited version with limited levels or something. They're going to have to reduce it to sell at that price. So that other game -- because the content is valuable -- it's still going to be a viable product at a higher price point.

If we went out and created one of our titles -- a big title for Nintendo -- and we decided to sell it at, like, say 100 yen, how many do we have to sell to get back our investment? That number's insane. It's just incredible, right?

Again, it's sort of the same thing, but as a game developer I've put my heart into what I create, and I'm hoping that what I'm putting out there is something that people will be engaged by and entertained by. And as a consumer, I want the same thing. If I go and I see a game that interests me and I think I want to play it, I don't mind the fact that I have to pay a reasonable price for it.

I'm not trying to say that I think games on cell phones are a bad thing; I'm not trying to say that they're worthless, or have no value at all. I'm just saying that they're just different.

One reason I ask is, of course, there's little doubt that Nintendo -- both in terms of game quality and established brands -- can compete very well. But third party developers have tough decisions to make these days.

HK: You know one thing, in answer to a response to that with Nintendo 3DS, we've implemented the gyro-sensor, the motion sensor, AR technology, and all these other new elements that we hope will provide tools and ideas for game developers and stimulate them into creating new and exciting things. So hopefully that balances some of that out a little bit.

As you said before, you're thinking about all the things you're competing with for someone's attention. When the original DS launched, people's lives were pretty different, in terms of their entertainment options. Have you guys done research and observed how the typical user that you would see when DS launched, how their play patterns and use patterns have changed and incorporated that feedback?

HK: To go back in time a little bit, coming up to the launch pre-DS days, I think there were a lot of people who had either played games and just stepped away and didn't come back, or people who just thought that "Games really have nothing to do with me."

So we really wanted to reach out and change that, and really change their opinion and say, "No, no, no, you are related to, and yes you are connected to, and yes you do have a relationship with video games." So we really put a lot of effort into trying to build that connection, or at least build that image.

So rather than, doing any research into play patterns or what people are doing with their free time and that sort of thing -- I think because it's such a habitual part of our process and that we're always thinking, "What is it that we can do again to make people go, 'Yeah that's for me' or 'Yeah, I'm connected to that.'"

What do we do to engage them? That thought process is always going on, but actual research, as you said, into more of those smaller component areas, we didn't do that, no.

Article Start Previous Page 4 of 4

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