Forbes recently sat down with Reggie Fils-Aime, the head of Nintendo Of America, about the upcoming all-important holiday season in a video interview. Of course, there was plenty of interesting stuff to come out of it, so let\’s jump right in. It started with Forbes asking Reggie what the state of Nintendo is going into the holidays.
The state of Nintendo is very strong. We\’ve got a lot of momentum right now going into the holiday season. Let\’s start with the 3DS business. With the launch of Smash Brothers for 3DS, the business is going really strongly, we\’re getting a lot of positive feedback from our retailers. They\’re seeing strong movement not only of hardware but of software. So that piece of business is really going strong and the new Pokemon games will just drive it over the top.
He went into more detail on the Pokemon games.
Right now, they\’re pre-selling at a rate just as strong as Pokemon X and Pokemon Y, which I have to say was a bit of a surprise for us, we thought it might be just moderately lower from an excitement scale, but we\’re not seeing that at all, and it\’s because of what that game has: the new evolutions, the new areas you can explore as you soar on some of the Pokemon…. So the 3DS business is really strong right now.
Moving onto the Wii U…
But as strong as the 3DS business is, Wii U is on a whole other level. Our Wii U business has essentially doubled since Mario Kart 8. The momentum continued with Hyrule Warriors, Bayonetta 2, which has a 91 on Metacritic?!? Last time I looked it had eleven perfect scores. So, content is driving our business, and as we prepare for Smash Brothers for Wii U, as we prepare for Captain Toad later in the holiday season, we\’re feeling very good about our situation right now in the holiday season.
Clearly feeling confident in the games\’ quality, Reggie was asked whether he wanted more games for the holiday season.
I will always take more games. Having more and diverse content is always a good thing. But I will say this: if I have an option between having more games vs having high quality games, I will always take quality.
Asked about whether he believes people will get burned out on the franchises…
If you look at Mario Kart 8 and Super Mario 3D World, Mario\’s in both, but they are completely different experiences. The way we look at it, we\’re trying to provide a broad range of differentiated experiences to the consumer. If we do that, we win! If some of them leverage Mario, that\’s great, if some of them leverage Link and the Zelda universe, that\’s great, but we\’re also making new Ip as well. Captain Toad, that\’s a new IP, Splatoon, coming next year, is new IP. So for us, it\’s having that balance of leveraging our key franchises bring new IP – the consistency is always the quality.
On the threat of Steam and the PC market…
Consumers who play games play a lot of games, and they play games across a range of different platforms. Meaning they\’ll play a game on a smartphone or tablet, they\’ll play a game on Steam, they\’ll play a game on a dedicated home console, they play a lot of games. So the key challenge is how do i provide a unique experience where they\’re gonna play on the Wii U, on the Nintendo 3DS. Our ace in the hole? Our IP. Our franchise characters. That you don\’t find on Steam, that you don\’t find on other gaming outlets. And so for us, yeah, we are somewhat insulated from the experience, and in the end, a consumer who plays games, whether they\’re playing Steam or even on a competitive device, playing games and growing that category is very healthy for us, and we want to encourage that as much as possible.
Reggie says Nintendo is very unique compared to their competitors…
Nintendo is very unique in that we look at what we can do and make sure we can do it to the very best of our ability. We don\’t spend a lot of time hypothesizing about \”What is competitor X going to do, what is this company over here going to do?\” In the end, if we leverage our technology, if we leverage our IP, if we grow our business through smart business partners, we\’re gonna be just fine. That\’s what we did in the Wii and DS generation, that\’s what we\’re doing now through the Wii U and 3DS generation.
So what keeps Reggie up at night?
You know that next, call it, twelve weeks – because the first couple weeks in January are very strong selling weeks for our category – you know, driving our business every day over those next twelve weeks is critically important for us, that keeps me up at night, because it comes down to the execution at this point. We\’ve laid out our plans,we\’ve got all our games, everything is gonna hit the marketplace the way we expect it to. It comes down to execution, are we executing better than anybody else out there in the broader entertainment space. And if we do we\’ll have a great holiday, and with our team and our products, we\’re poised to have a really good holiday.