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Miyamoto: Games Weren't 'Fun Enough' To Grow Industry Sales In '09

Miyamoto: Games Weren't 'Fun Enough' To Grow Industry Sales In '09

March 25, 2010 | By Kris Graft

March 25, 2010 | By Kris Graft
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The Nintendo Wii may be the worldwide market leader in the console space, but overall sales for the Kyoto, Japan-based company were down in 2009 versus 2008. And so were the overall industry's.

Why so? After all, Nintendo figurehead Shigeru Miyamoto explained in an interview with the Economist that "any entertainment products are less susceptible to changes in the economy." But many believe that the rough global economy had an effect on the game console market.

However, the creator of Mario and Zelda also revealed that he believes the games industry itself may have been at fault. "The fact that in 2009 we were not able to sell more than we did in 2008 was simply that in comparison, we were not able to produce fun-enough products," he said. "There are always ups and downs in this business."

Nintendo itself had a strong release list in 2009. The company released top-selling games on the Wii and DS including Wii Sports Resort, Wii Fit Plus, Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks, New Super Mario Bros. Wii and, in Japan, Pokemon HeartGold/SoulSilver and Tomodachi Collection, which are chart-toppers. The company also released the new DSi hardware.

In comparison, Nintendo's 2008 lineup was as or more robust for Nintendo -- for example, that year saw the release of Mario Kart Wii and Super Smash Bros. Brawl.

However, industry video game sales were down last year. Nintendo's own sales for its first nine months of its current fiscal year were down 23 percent year-on-year to $13.1 billion through December 2009. Profits were down 9.4 percent to $2.1 billion. In fact, earlier in 2009, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata warned that Wii sales in Japan were "unhealthy." The company was having a difficult time matching the enthusiasm the Wii garnered in the year prior.

But Miyamoto offered a simple solution to future shortfalls: "As long as we create unique and unprecedented experiences with video games, there should be nothing to worry about," he said.


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