Nintendo's Iwata Talks 3DS, Piracy, Social Gaming

Nintendo president Satoru Iwata answered investor questions after revealing the company's yearly earnings, which has been translated into English by Nintendo.

On the Nintendo 3DS, the company's upcoming handheld, which will support 3D without the need for glasses:

Making games in 3D alone does not make the games more fun. More important is to offer the interactive experiences in the 3D vision. I believe that people will find some entertainment value to them only when we can offer the unique and fun experience with that combination. Because this is a field not yet explored, we will need to go through trial and error.

This bodes well for Nintendo's first party offerings if the attitude in-house is not to just make conventional games and display them in 3D. I believe that the initial titles will be glorified tech demos in this trial-and-error phase, much like the original games for the Nintendo DS.

On social gaming and the possibility of putting Nintendo intellectual properties on free-to-play platforms:

We do not think that [dedicated video game hardware and software] will become obsolete at all. I have never thought that we will need to launch social games in order to avoid our offers from becoming obsolete. The reason why we have been making systems dedicated to games is because creating engaging experiences that can not be available on other devices is the lifeline for the company.

I guess we will not be seeing Super Mario Bros. Facebook any time soon, but Nintendo has never explored the PC market, where these "social gaming" experiences are being made. Sony recently released a casual spin-off version of its upcoming MMORPG The Agency on Facebook. The iPhone would be a perfect place for Nintendo IPs if the company chose to explore social gaming, but Apple's platform is seen as a competing product to Nintendo's DS and upcoming 3DS hardware.

On piracy, Mr. Iwata does not see pirated games as true lost sales:

I do not find a lot of meaning in calculating up the amount of damage due to piracy. While we may be able to calculate the damage by 'number of downloads' multiplied by 'their market value' it does not necessarily mean that all the downloader had the purchase intention but quit due to illegal downloading. This calculation only gives us a virtual amount of damages, not the actual one in market. As I believe it's not very meaningful to calculate them, we have not dug deeper and have no such plans to do so.

Regardless, Nintendo will be making improvements to the 3DS in an attempt to curb piracy as it is a significant issue on the DS. Nintendo recently filed a lawsuit against NXPGAME for allegedly selling "video game copiers" that made DS piracy possible.