Answering questions from Nintendo’s investors at a recent Q&A session, president Satoru Iwata, touched once again upon the appreciation of the Japanese yen combined with the price drop of the Nintendo 3DS, and how both factors have led to losses for Nintendo in the ongoing fiscal year.
Iwata says that while Nintendo will begin selling the Nintendo 3DS at a profit in the next fiscal year — it currently sells the device below cost — this alone will not be enough to return the company to profitability. Profits will need to come from software sales of key titles.
Nintendo are in the habit of releasing popular games and having them sell for for long periods of time. The Mario Kart games on the Wii and DS are examples of this, both having sold over 25 million copies over an extended period of several years. Iwata believes that in the case of the 3DS, Mario Kart 7 and Super Mario 3D Land will serve this purpose.
One way to ensure that games released in the future have a longer lifespan is through DLC, Iwata says.
With DLC, Nintendo’s primary goal will be to keep word of mouth alive among consumers for a longer period, instead of having them complete the game once, and then ceasing to mention it again. Iwata points to Wii Fit Plus, which was a disc-based expansion for Wii Fit, as an example. In the future, Nintendo could consider releasing downloadable training regiments and games for a title like Wii Fit.
More specifically, Iwata mentions Super Mario games as an avenue for downloadable content as well. Recently, Iwata confirmed the development of a new 2D side-scrolling Mario game for the Nintendo 3DS. There’s a good chance we’ll see downloadable stages for this game.
“As I referred to before, for example, this is the idea of supplying new stages to Super Mario users who want to play the game more but have completed the game and lost interest in the existing stages,” Iwata shares. “This will not only give us new profits but will lengthen the life of a product, in that it will never be out of fashion and can keep attracting public attention as long as many people play it.”