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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 3 of 4 Next

One thing that's interesting about the system is that you're not launching it with the eShop yet. Is it because you're putting a lot of thought into exactly how you should tackle that?

HK: We definitely want to make sure that it's ready before we bring it out. The iterations that we've had before -- for Wii and DS -- to be honest, we just haven't been as satisfied as we would like.

It's browser-based, and to be honest, the ease of use wasn't what we wanted, and I don't think that anyone has been pleased with the user response. And I don't think that people have been using it as often as we want. And being able to, again, easily go into it, look around and purchase things. Again, it just didn't work out quite as we were hoping.

And you know on Wii, of course, you had the promotion channel, which is where you went to get new information, and see game demos, or whatever. And so having those two separate, I think, didn't work really all that well, either.

And for Nintendo 3DS, we really want to cover that all in one spot and cover it from all sides. And so we're really taking the right amount of time to make sure that it's right.

And because we're also taking the promotional aspect that we would once separate out and putting that together with the actual shopping aspect to give you the eShop, it's not going to be browser-based; it's a native application. So again, the preparation needed for that is quite extensive.

And again, we're taking more time because we want to be able to create a system where a consumer sees a promotion and says, "Wow, that looks great!" Sees a game demo, game trailer, whatever it is, and says, "I want that!" And the ability to then say "Now I can purchase it right here without having to back out and go somewhere else" -- we want to provide that experience. So that's one other reason why we're not bringing it out with the system itself.

EShop, being similar to WiiWare or DSiWare, would offer games -- independently-developed games, smaller games.

At the same time, Nintendo's been public lately about being not super happy with the way things are going on -- in terms of things like the Apple iOS App Store, in terms of developers selling games on the cheap for download. I was wondering where your opinion falls.

HK: And you know personally -- and this is my own personal opinion from a development standpoint -- we don't want content to be devalued. So if you're a developer and you put some time and effort into a software title and you put it out there...

Let's say that there's a ton of other software out there that's free, which forces you then to take your content which you want to sell for ten dollars and you have to lower it down to one dollar to be competitive. It's not a business model that's going to make developers happy.

And I don't think that you're going to see a game that takes a year or more to develop. Developers spending more time and manpower to do that -- it's not going to be matched in terms of content and quality by something that sells for a buck. I just don't think that's going to happen.

But we're reaching a point where the iPhone is globally popular -- including in Japan. A certain number of users are starting to think about games in a different way. And I wonder if that's informed any of the decisions you've been making with the 3DS.

HK: Competition is something that we've all been involved with, and take a look at. And when I say "competition," it's not only competition with other software maker, or other hardware developers and whatnot, but it's just competition for people's free time. What do people choose to do with their free time? That's what the competition is.

When we're looking at Nintendo 3DS, we're obviously trying to provide something that will engage people, and they say, "Hey, I want to choose that. That's where I want to spend my free time." Rather than how other developers -- whether it's hardware or software -- go about trying to compete for consumers' time is not something that we worry too much about.

So could we say that Nintendo 3DS' development process was not influenced by, or you weren't thinking about, this other situation when you were creating it?

HK: We just didn't think about it. It didn't "influence" us is maybe that is not the right word, but what we were thinking about was, "How can we engage and surprise and make our consumers happy?" That was what we were thinking about.

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