The people that buy videogames are becoming harder and harder to satisfy, says Nintendo president Satoru Iwata. Cheap or free games released for smart devices are making people think twice before spending money on game purchases, and this in turn is pressuring traditional developers to create games that are even higher in quality than before.
“With countless games offered for free, consumers are far more careful than ever to decide whether it is worthwhile to spend dozens of dollars to buy one game,” Iwata said to analysts during a recent Q&A. Iwata was replying to someone asking why Nintendo have been delaying so many of their upcoming Wii U games.
“Under these circumstances,” Iwata says, “we feel that it is important to offer games that are even more polished than before in terms of quality to have consumers buy our products, understand the value that they offer and recommend them to others by word-of-mouth. It now requires incredibly high-quality products to satisfy consumers to the level where they feel compelled to recommend them to others; the barriers are indeed higher than before.”
He continued: “Moreover, it is not an easy task to regain the trust of the fans of a franchise once you lose it. Therefore, it is critical for us to improve and re-polish any game that we feel is still lacking in quality. Failing to do so, we feel, would be detrimental to what makes our strong franchises the valuable assets that they are.”
Iwata then elaborated on the Wii U situation specifically.
“We had to push back the releases of some games because it has become more difficult to satisfy the quality standards that we feel are necessary for games to satisfy before they are released,” he explained. “It was not because it took us more time to take advantage of what is unique about the hardware.”
“On the other hand, we have become more experienced as we continue to develop software on our platforms, and we have gradually been able to predict more accurately how long it will take a particular game to meet our quality standards. There has been a software shortage in the past two years (for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U) in the early stages of their product lifecycles because it took us time to meet our quality standards.”
Nintendo’s slate of Wii U titles for 2013 will begin with the launch of Pikmin 3 in August.