GamesBeat

Nintendo’s Scott Moffitt gives us the latest on the Wii U launch (interview)

Wii BundleGamesBeat: What’s the message for pitching people on why they should buy it?

Moffitt: The concise message for Wii U is, we want people to experience new and different ways to play with the GamePad. We want to reinvent gameplay, and give people a more immersive experience with a second-screen controller.

It’s the first of the next-generation consoles. It’s the first HD console from Nintendo. It offers more than just gaming. It enhances your broadband entertainment, whether it’s TV or streaming movies. It has new social features like Miiverse that give people new ways to connect with other gamers in a unique networked experience.

GamesBeat: Some of these things are coming in as fairly new revelations, as far as exactly what they’re going to be. What’s the thinking on slowly rolling out what we’re going to get on day one, as far as information on things like TV and Miiverse?

Moffitt: Wii U has a lot of technology embedded in it. It has a lot of features and functionality. There’s a lot to take in. There is a need for you to experience it, and so we very much want the advertising to convince people to go somewhere and learn more — to take an action, whether that’s to go online and read more about it or go to one of our mall tours and get a chance to play it. That’s an important part of understanding this product. But if we overcomplicate the message, it would be hard for anyone to absorb it all. A sequenced release of information, we thought, was a good way to reveal the different features.

Nintendo Wii UGamesBeat: Everybody expects it to sell well during the holidays. How do you keep it going through 2013?

Moffitt: It’s all about content, and it’s all about reaching out to and educating successive waves of consumers. The content coming on day one … there’s 24 games. Four of those are first-party titles, including New Super Mario Bros. U, Nintendo Land, Ninja Gaiden III, and Sing Party. Then there’s more content coming from third-party publishers, the other 20-plus games. In the launch window, from now until March 31, there are over 50 titles. So you can see, in that first quarter there will be at least as many or more new games coming.

Those games represent content that will appeal to many different types of consumers. There will be content like Wii Fit U and Sing Party and Just Dance 4 for casual gamers. There will be content for core gamers that love shooters and sports games — Madden and FIFA, ZombiU, Assassin’s Creed III. There are great family games like Nintendo Land and Scribblenauts Unlimited. As long as we have the content for each potential buyer group, we have a good chance of reaching them.

Having said that, with Wii, we reached a cultural phenomenon that was really unprecedented. We can’t predict that will happen again. A couple of things are clear, though. The world is a different place than it was when Wii launched. There weren’t as many social networks then. No tablet computers. Smartphones were just coming out. The landscape is completely different. So is the console we’re launching. No console in history for us has had as many features and functions or as strong a software lineup.

GamesBeat: That touches on something we were going to ask about. What is your competition for entertainment time?

Moffitt: With that changing landscape, it’s incumbent on us to win consumers’ time. We have to give them new and different experiences. If we’re just rolling out a faster processor and better graphics, that wouldn’t be enough to excite gamers. We need to make sure we’re giving them an experience they haven’t had before.

The competition is certainly broad. It ranges from toys to electronics. There are plenty of things that could end up under the tree. We’re the only gaming company with two hot new products this holiday. We’re excited to see how everyone responds.

Nintendo Land: Metroid BlastGamesBeat: How are you going to get more of the bigger developers and publishers to commit more titles? Ubisoft has eight titles coming, but you could use more support from the likes of Activision and Electronic Arts.

Moffitt: We know that publishers in the last cycle had to make a choice on whether the economics warranted developing a separate standard-definition Wii version of their titles. They also had to remove functionality that was available to them. They weren’t able to monetize through microtransactions or add-on content. That made it a challenge for them to develop for the platform. It cost them resources. They couldn’t realize as much gain as they would have liked.

We’ve removed those barriers. That problem is history. This console will be in high-definition like the others. We expect that third-party content will be robust, more robust than it was for Wii. Our first-party titles, of course, we expect to be as strong as they’ve always been. The big difference on this new console will be third-party representation. It’ll be much stronger. That’s a plus for all gamers.

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