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.