Rhythm Heaven, New Nintendo Franchises Coldly Received By Marketing Types

By Spencer . February 5, 2009 . 1:27pm

rh Rhythm Heaven – the GBA and Nintendo DS games are a blast to play, but even Nintendo’s marketing team in Japan was hesitant about their appeal.


In an investors Q&A Satoru Iwata, President of Nintendo, laments the difficulty of launching new types of software like Brain Training and Nintendogs. “We had similar histories with ‘Rhythm Heaven’ and ‘Girls Mode.’ While we were developing these software and before we were able to show some results in Japan, I do not like to admit this but they received relatively cool reactions. However, once we were able to show some result in Japan, they started to understand that there must be something unique about the software that will make it sell.” Fortunately, for Nintendo’s game development groups Wagamama Fashion Girls Mode and Rhythm Heaven were hot sellers. Both games will come out overseas in the next fiscal year or in simple English, sometime after March 31.


Iwata also discusses an undercurrent of apathy by Nintendo’s marketing teams for franchises that have yet to be established.


“When we announce that a new ‘Mario’ or ‘Pokemon’ software is developed, marketers of Nintendo products all over the world naturally look forward to the launches even when they do not know the contents of the game. On the other hand, when we make a presentation to the same people about software which has had no previous track record and no name recognition, their reactions are not positive for most cases. I am not trying to offend our people in overseas marketing companies at all, and actually, their attitude is quite natural. If one is presented with two products, and the successful sales of one of them is guaranteed, and if they have to anticipate allocating a lot of resources to sell another, it is only natural that people have higher expectations for the one guaranteed to sell.”


Of course it’s easier to sell games based off established franchises like Zelda. Everyone around the world already knows about Zelda. However, if Nintendo’s marketing teams can’t get excited about new games like Soma Bringer or Disaster: Day of Crisis which unlike a Mario game need a strong marketing push it’s no surprise that international releases are lukewarm or in an increasing number of cases never happen. This is the hole-in-my-bucket problem in action.


Images courtesy of Nintendo.

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  • jarrodand

    Sounds like a dig at Reggie. lol

    Nice to hear that Wagamama’s coming over

  • Joanna

    There is one thing I do not understand. If Nintendo of America were to publish these “unknown” titles between more known ones, I’m sure they would be able to still turn a profit while allocating more resources to the lesser known titles. They may not make bucket loads of money the first time around, but the next time around, the work they will have to put into Rhythm Heaven will be drastically reduced and they will turn in more profile. Really NoA, your not looking at the big picture. >___<
    It's this kind of mentality that made it take so long for Fire Emblem and other Nintendo franchises to make it over here. Nothing wrong with playing it safe, but I think Nintendo of America should take more chances (which they have been doing, we are, after all, getting Rhythm Heaven). I don't mean to point Nintendo out, other major publishers are just as bad, take Capcom and Phoenix Wright. And then there is still companies who refuse to take the chance (I'm looking at you Namco). I'm just glad we have Atlus, XSEED, ect to bring over more obscure titles. =)

    • Joanna

      ah! I meant turn in more profit! not profile ^^;;;;

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