There are a handful of interesting quotes in the newly released investors Q&A with Satoru Iwata, the President of Nintendo. Most places like Game|Life are honing in on the possibility of a mass storage device for the Wii. I tend to think this is inevitable because it’s profitable and Nintendo’s increased focus on WiiWare.
The quote I found most interesting is literally the last question on the document and it’s regarding the use of Miis in Wii games. Few games have made proper use of Nintendo’s custom avatar system and most of the titles that do are first party games. Iwata shines some light on the situation by answering the question below.
Could you tell us what kind of criterion do you have regarding the licensing of Mii? For example, I imagine that there is a possibility of difference in sales between sports titles where Mii appears or not. Have you already planned and disclosed such conditions from the outset?
Iwata: To Nintendo, licensing Mii is identical to licensing Mario. If you read Iwata Asks interview series in website, you can understand how Mii was created in detail, so I hope you can read them if you have time. Mii is actually the result of more than 10 years of efforts.
Mr. Miyamoto, the inventor of Mii, himself has been saying that, "In a sense, licensing Mii is same as licensing Mario – Nintendo should grant the license when we can conclude that the proposed project is worthwhile. Should we allow any and all the licensees to use Mii license for whichever projects, Mii’s brand image will be hurt. Because we are not granting Mario license to any and all, we should not do so with Mii either."
This is the current policy of Nintendo. So, at the software development stage, we are consulting with the developers as to how they would like to make use of Mii, and our Licensing Department handles on a case-by-case basis.
I can understand why Nintendo is protective of the Mario license. They obviously don’t want to throw Mario as a face in every game under the sun. However, Nintendo doesn’t seem as protective with their Mii license considering third party use began with a Fist of the North Star Pachinko game (pictured).
Universal digital avatar integration feels far away…