GamesBeat

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

GamesBeat: The games business has been changing more rapidly in the last few years. How is the console going to be future proofed, so to speak? How is it going to be something that will last and not be passed up by some of these changes?

Moffitt: This is my personal belief, but I think that the console business has some issues similar to the big-screen TV business. There are evolutionary changes in technology that may make your TV not the hottest thing on the market, but you don’t buy a new TV every year or two years because there was a gradual improvement in some tech specs. Gaming consoles seem to be similar.

Phones, on the other hand, aren’t as durable. It often feels like you’re renting them more than owning them. Because you carry it everywhere you go, they get banged up. There are small, incremental changes made in each one, but since it’s a less expensive purchase, you can justify a new one.

There’s no way to fully answer your question about how we future proof. It’s incumbent upon us to keep bringing relevant, interesting content that takes full advantage of the technology. Over the life of a console, you learn how to do that, how to take better advantage of the technology. Having said that, when you have a highly connected device — and we know that with 3DS, for example, about 70 percent of owners have connected it in some way to the Internet — it allows you to make things up, to make changes over time, to provide new features and new applications when you learn that there might be an opportunity to give consumers a new way to enjoy their hardware.

GamesBeat: One thing that was still up in the air from way back at E3 was whether you could do two tablets on one machine and have head-to-head gameplay in the living room that way. Is that still up in the air?

Moffitt: It’s not up in the air, but it’s the same answer we gave at E3. The system is capable of it. When we have a game that takes advantage of that, then we’ll make that available as an added accessory that people can buy. As of the launch window, there are currently no games that require a second GamePad. But the system itself is capable of accommodating a second GamePad. It’s easy to imagine what kinds of games could use that. It’ll be fun when it comes, but there’s nothing ready yet to take advantage.

GamesBeat: Are there any other things worth noting that we haven’t touched on?

Moffitt: Broadly, as we look forward to the holiday, we expect that we’ll have some shortages of Wii U. Nintendo’s number one priority this holiday is 3DS and 3DS XL. We’re seeing an ever-growing momentum in our handheld business. Nineteen months in, we’re still a million units ahead of the pace of DS at this point in its life. As you know, DS was the best-selling gaming system of all time, and so we’re pleased with that. We’re seeing great momentum from the 3DS XL launch in August.

We’ve got two fantastic Mario games that’ll be available this holiday. Paper Mario: Sticker Star launches this Sunday. New Super Mario Bros. 2 launched in August, of course, but this is its first holiday season. I mention that just because it’s going to be a pretty hot gift this holiday, in addition to the Mario games we launched last year.

We have fantastic third-party support from Disney with Epic Mickey, along with Scribblenauts and Skylanders: Giants. The third-party lineup is much more robust than it was last year.

Our dual distribution strategy is still rolling out. What I mean by that is, allowing consumers to either buy their games digitally — using codes they picked up at retail or straight through our eShop site — or buy them physically in stores like they always have. That continues to give gamers more options as far as how they buy our content and how they carry it around. It’s easier, for a game you’re going to use every day, to own it digitally. We’re finding some of those titles have a relatively high share of digital purchases versus physical. Others are skewing more physical. 3DS, in any case, is really priority one for us.


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