Iwata: “I Hope We Can Create A Market That Is Attractive To Third Parties”

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While relationships between Nintendo and third-party game developers have been relatively stable on the Nintendo DS, the same can’t be said for the Wii, where, especially in Nintendo’s home market in Japan, numerous software publishers have faced considerable challenges finding success for their games, with few exceptions.


Going forward, this is a situation Nintendo intend to address, according to the company’s global president, Satoru Iwata. Speaking with his investors last week, Iwata touched upon the subject of third-party relations multiple times.


“Honestly speaking,” Iwata said to one investor who asked about Nintendo’s reliance on its own talent, rather than on third-party developers, “Wii’s future could have been different if Nintendo had made better partnerships with outside companies in the field of network services at the early stages of the penetration of Wii.”


He continued: “Although we have already put ourselves back on track, we would like to clearly differentiate what is our true strength from what we can basically do by ourselves but can be done better by more skillful outside specialists in order not to fall into that trap again.” Iwata says that aspects of this will be seen in future developments of the Nintendo 3DS as well as Nintendo’s successor to the Wii.


“We want the other companies to be successful,” he emphasized to another investor. “In order to accomplish this goal, we would like to decide on the dates [of Nintendo software] after we know the release plans of other companies’ games so that we are able to consider how we can maximize the sales of our titles without affecting the sales of other companies in the short term.”


A third investor asked about third-party support with regard to the Wii’s successor specifically. “Of course, we would like to cooperate with software developers for Wii’s successor, and as I am repeatedly saying, I don’t believe Nintendo can carry out everything alone,” Iwata replied.


He elaborated: “I am saying that we are responsible for building up the market, but I don’t think that Nintendo can maintain the market alone; We are aiming for creating a situation where software publishers will be willing to cooperate.”


Further questioned as to whether Nintendo would proactively “draw in” third-party support, Iwata stated: “I would not use the term ‘draw in’ third parties, but I hope we can create a market that is attractive to third parties. The end result might turn out to be the situation you call ‘drawing them in,’ but I do not use such words as ‘draw in’ or ‘enclosure,’ as I do not like such expressions.”

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Ishaan Sahdev
Ishaan specializes in game design/sales analysis. He's the former managing editor of Siliconera and wrote the book "The Legend of Zelda - A Complete Development History". He also used to moonlight as a professional manga editor. These days, his day job has nothing to do with games, but the two inform each other nonetheless.