Reggie: We Must Do A Better Job Communicating The NX

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One common refrain heard in the last five years of Nintendo is the need to do better at launching the company’s hardware, from messaging to software supply. In an interview with [a]list, Nintendo of America’s Reggie Fils-Aime admitted his company can do better at communicating the NX’s unique proposals to consumers. This comes as lessons are learned from the Wii U launch specifically, which caused plenty of consumer confusion.

One of the things that we have to do better when we launch the NX—we have to do a better job communicating the positioning for the product. We have to do a better job helping people to understand its uniqueness and what that means for the game playing experience. And we have to do a better job from a software planning standpoint to have that continuous beat of great new games that are motivating more and more people to pick up the hardware and more and more people to pick up the software. Those are the critical lessons. And as I verbalize them, they’re really traditional lessons within the industry. You have to make sure people understand the concept, you have to make sure you’ve got a great library of games, and when you do that, you tend to do well.

On top of hardware communication, Reggie reiterated a company line oft heard before, that the NX needs a continuous stream of games following launch. This avoidance of software shortage is one of the primary reasons the NX was delayed into March 2017.

Every time we launch a new platform, every time we launch a critical new game, we always learn. We always do our breakdown of what worked, what didn’t, and certainly we’ve done that with Wii U, and we continue to believe that the innovation of the second screen was a worthwhile concept. The games that we’ve launched on the Wii U are hugely compelling: Splatoon, Super Mario Maker, Smash Bros., Bayonetta 2, the Super Mario game, The Legend of Zelda. Arguably, if you line up all of the single platform games for Wii U and the other two platforms, we have by far the most unique games that are highly rated by consumers and highly rated by the media. So those things worked.

On the other hand, Reggie says that lessons have also been garnered from Nintendo’s mobile launches, as with Miitomo this past March. Past Nintendo launches on the traditional hardware side will also apply to future releases, as with the Animal Crossing and Fire Emblem apps this fall.

We’ve seen that we can capture people’s attention in the mobile space. Certainly, we’ve seen that we can create an application that’s fun, distinctive, and that has all of that Nintendo charm. And certainly, we’ve seen a huge amount of consumer participation with the app, especially the Wii Photo app. Wii photos are showing up all over the place. We’ll apply those lessons to the Fire Emblem game and the Animal Crossing games that are launching. In addition to those two, there are another two that will be launching between now and the end of our fiscal year. So we’ve got a strong pipeline of mobile activity that we’re going to continue to bring out into the marketplace.

The cross-pollination of Nintendo franchises on mobile aims to drive sales of the corresponding franchises on proper Nintendo hardware. As Reggie explained, “we believe that as a wide swath of consumers have an experience with Fire Emblem on mobile for example, that it’s going to lead them to purchase the full Fire Emblem experience that today is on our handheld.” This strategy paid off this past July with Pokémon Go’s successful launch also pushing sales of the 3DS and its Pokémon software.

More exchanges on the future of Nintendo’s business, including the move to theme parks, can be found in the rest of the interview.

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A man with a plan. My favorite video game franchise is Pokemon, but his favorite video game is Resident Evil 4. I can also tell you trivial cartoon factoids.