Nintendo of America president: 'we need to do a better job' explaining NX's position in the market

Reggie Fils-Aime admits Nintendo needs to work at 'communicating the positioning for the product.'

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Speaking to [a]list Daily, Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime said that NX didn't make an appearance at E3 because Nintendo's launch strategy for the console clashed with the trade show's timing. The company's higher-ups thought it a better idea to revealing The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, which dominated Nintendo's booth this year.

With Zelda out in the wild, Nintendo is shifting its focus to avoiding some of the mistakes it made launching 2012's Wii U. "One of the things that we have to do better when we launch the NX--we have to do a better job communicating the positioning for the product. We have to do a better job helping people to understand its uniqueness and what that means for the game playing experience."

Deemed a commercial failure, the Wii U still boasts a catalog of excellent first-party games. The problem, as Fils-Aime admitted, was that those games came too far and few between. "We have to do a better job from a software planning standpoint to have that continuous beat of great new games that are motivating more and more people to pick up the hardware and more and more people to pick up the software."

Nintendo's already putting that particular lesson into effect. The company pushed the NX to March 2017 to buy itself more time to put together a solid lineup of launch titles. Zelda: Breath of the Wild launch alongside the system as well as the Wii U version.

Additionally, Nintendo plans to release Mario and Pokémon games during the NX console's first six months.

"Those are the critical lessons," Fils-Aime said in regards to the importance of messaging and bolstering a games library with desirable titles. "And as I verbalize them, they’re really traditional lessons within the industry. You have to make sure people understand the concept, you have to make sure you’ve got a great library of games, and when you do that, you tend to do well."

Despite all-but-confirmed reports that NX will be a console-handheld hybrid with detachable accessories, Nintendo has yet to officially reveal the console—due in part to an innovative gimmick that defines its hardware. "In terms of NX, there's an idea that we're working on," Miyamoto said in a recent interview. "That's why we can't share anything at this point, and I don't want to comment on the other companies. If it was just a matter of following advancements in technology, things would be coming out a lot quicker."

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David L. Craddock writes fiction, nonfiction, and grocery lists. He is the author of the Stay Awhile and Listen series, and the Gairden Chronicles series of fantasy novels for young adults. Outside of writing, he enjoys playing Mario, Zelda, and Dark Souls games, and will be happy to discuss at length the myriad reasons why Dark Souls 2 is the best in the series. Follow him online at davidlcraddock.com and @davidlcraddock.

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From The Chatty
    • reply
      August 26, 2016 1:43 PM

      They need to make "THIS IS A BRAND NEW SYSTEM!" a key marketing failure. Too many folks I know who would've otherwise bought a WiiU thought it was a second screen add-on to the Wii and not something they needed.

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        August 26, 2016 1:44 PM

        And of course by failure I obviously mean feature. Yeesh.

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        August 26, 2016 1:58 PM

        naw, they're going to reveal this thing and it'll be called a WiiUMii

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        August 26, 2016 2:28 PM

        So is the NX completely replacing the Wii U or are they saying it's a third system? Because the last time I checked in to all this, the NX was a new system not designed to replace anything.

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          August 26, 2016 2:30 PM

          Kinda like the DS wasn't designed to replace the GBA. It'll be Nintendo's new flagship system I'm sure, unless in some glorious instance of irony, it ends up being something added to the WiiU.

        • Zek legacy 10 years
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          August 26, 2016 2:53 PM

          We don't know what they're saying at this point, the system isn't announced. Reggie is simply observing that the Wii U was an example of what not to do when revealing a new system (making the public think it's merely an add-on).

          If the rumors/leaks are correct, then not only is this their new flagship product, but it's replacing both the Wii U and the 3DS.

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          August 26, 2016 3:31 PM

          Bear in mind that Nintendo made the "NX won't replace Wii U or 3DS" statement chiefly because they didn't want to curb sales of pre-existing consoles. Look at what Sony and Microsoft did: by announcing that Scorpio and Neo exist, they caused a lot of consumers to hold off on buying a console because, well, why wouldn't you buy the new shiny thing? (Sony hasn't officially announced Neo, but it's only a matter of time.)

          NX may not replace 3DS right away; that hardware is still doing well. It's definitely a replacement for the Wii U, though. I'd bank on Zelda: Breath of the Wild being the last, or one of the last first-party games released for Wii U hardware. Nintendo's A-teams have been working on NX software for years, given the lack of new releases for U.

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            August 26, 2016 5:46 PM

            To be fair, XBox owners are well acquainted with buying the same gen of a console several times.

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          August 26, 2016 4:45 PM

          Its gotta be replacing the wiiu, the only game they're still developing for it is the new Zelda, so far as I know.

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      August 26, 2016 2:13 PM

      How about,Nintendo needs to do a better job of making consoles that people actually want to play for a long time,and not make gimmicky devices that will end up collecting dust sooner than they should.

      Newsflash Nintendo,third party devs don't like gimmicks!

      • Zek legacy 10 years
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        August 26, 2016 2:47 PM

        The Wii U is a great platform. It had its own share of problems, but the number of quality games isn't really one of them - I'm not convinced Nintendo needs third parties.

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          August 26, 2016 4:08 PM

          Well they need something, cause they apparently released a bunch of killer stuff for the WiiU and nobody bought it.

          I'm of the opinion they need to really freshen up their old IPs, or start releasing games that appeal to a wider audience. Army Bros seem to be outselling Mario for some reason.

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            August 26, 2016 6:14 PM

            One of many problems is that the first year was dead. 2014 and 2015 had a ridiculous amount of great games, many of the best this generation, but by then it was too late.

            Quality of the library wasn't the issue, both the 3DS and Wii U have some of Nintendo's best work in decades. Getting great games out for the launch window and not having these big release droughts is the main problem they need to fix. Its tough since they're more of a "when its done" company like Blizzard or Valve, but hopefully focusing on one platform instead of two fixes that.

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              August 26, 2016 7:22 PM

              I've never thought the quality was bad. I question if people still want to play those games. The buy in isn't exactly high. We're talking an XboxOne at nearly twice the price and none of the library selling better than Nintendo's best work. This is why I have concerns when people say "It's fine as a Nintendo console". I suppose that works if you have more time and dollars, but I get the feeling that limited time, and money will push people toward the more diverse offerings.

              WiiU has all you want in games EXCEPT developer verity. If you want something that isn't a Nintendo game, then why buy this console? I'm sure someone will counter with Bayonetta, and ZombieU. While one of those titles is fantastic, it doesn't do anything to alter the trend.

              Nintendo can do with a lot of new games that aren't the new versions of games we haven't been playing since the 80s and 90s.

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                August 26, 2016 7:49 PM

                yep, this is the problem with their insistence on basically ignoring 3rd party devs. For anyone whose hobby is gaming a Nintendo home console is attractive, but you must have another gaming platform as well (whether console or PC) in order to play the major games from EA/Activision/UbiSoft/etc. So the Nintendo console isn't cheaper than the competition because you're required to buy the competing device as well as the Nintendo one. And for a lot of people once they have an Xbox or Playstation their gaming money and gaming timeslots are pretty well satisfied, even if they might like to play a new Mario game, it's not worth an additional $300+.

          • Zek legacy 10 years
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            August 26, 2016 6:48 PM

            I think it was an image problem more than anything else. Their sole defining feature was the tablet, which even they rarely used in their own games and it had so little range that most people had no use for it. The Wii association probably did them more harm than good as well. If they can market the NX effectively, I think the portability feature is actually pretty exciting in comparison.

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        August 26, 2016 4:16 PM

        No, third party devs don't like Nintendo, they've always been a shit to work for with the strictest TRCs.

    • reply
      August 26, 2016 2:59 PM

      we have to do a better job communicating the positioning for the product. We have to do a better job helping people to understand its uniqueness and what that means for the game playing experience."


      Yup. That's a core problem that a lot of companies struggle with. Good to hear Nintendo is acknowledging this so that they might work through it. But, the other thing that hurts them consistently is 3rd party support. Hard to pitch a system that rests so heavily on just the first party titles. But, he does speak to having key titles spread out too much, so they're not ignorant of the effect of the problem.

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        August 26, 2016 3:03 PM

        I have a feeling this time around they're going to focus on courting indies. Having the best and most relevant indie titles is easier if their hardware isn't going to have parity with the other big systems. It will go a long way to filling in the gaps between bigger 1st party titles.

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          August 26, 2016 7:53 PM

          They're at least thinking about it. Unity supporting the "new" 3DS wouldn't have happened without Nintendo's cooperation.

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          August 26, 2016 7:58 PM

          that requires selling a lot of consoles if you're talking about anything Nintendo exclusive. If you're an indie developer you can target all of Xbox/PS/PC fairly easily today and find an addressable market in the 100-200m range. Even if you were to target just one you get 30m+ people on the platform. Nintendo will have to offer some pretty enticing terms with good tools and sell a lot better out of the gate than the Wii U.

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            August 28, 2016 7:18 AM

            Nah not talking about exclusives, I just mean it's another stream of content that would help justify the purchase for some people.

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        August 26, 2016 3:29 PM

        I think building NX as a console-handheld hybrid will help. Nintendo has lacked third-party support for consoles since the N64, but developers still flock to their handhelds. That market isn't as strong as it once was, true, but I think the fact that the NX looks to be an all-in-one system will entice third-party devs interested in developing handheld games but not console, and vice versa.

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          August 26, 2016 5:02 PM

          In concept I agree. Mostly up to Nintendo to execute.

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      August 26, 2016 3:54 PM

      With Zelda out in the wild

      booooooooooooooooooo

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      August 26, 2016 4:06 PM

      What they need to do is drop the god dammed price on the Wii-U.

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        August 26, 2016 4:09 PM

        I have a feeling they will, but not until the holidays. No reason to run a fire sale on the Wii U before they've officially let the NX cat out of the bag.

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        August 26, 2016 4:13 PM

        Agreed. I think it was too expensive at launch, and remained so throughout it's life. But Nintendo ain't eatin' costs. That loss leader nonsense is for the birds.

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        August 26, 2016 4:31 PM

        Not going to happen. Rumor has it they stopped parts production late last/early this year and are just using what stockpile they have. You might see something decent at Christmas but it will likely be a bundle.

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      August 26, 2016 4:09 PM

      This kind of implies they've done any job of explaining what the NX is at all, when all evidence seems to go against that.

      • reply
        August 26, 2016 4:17 PM

        Well, yeah, they haven't officially announced it yet, it's too early. He's saying when they DO, they need to communicate the benefits/uniqueness/market position etc.

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        August 26, 2016 4:21 PM

        See, this actually bothers me, but not for the same reason it bothers most people: Nintendo doesn't have to explain what the NX is until it's ready. Just because people have been digging up patents and the like doesn't mean Nintendo is obligated to pull back the curtain yet. That's not how business works.

        Besides, news and trends move so fast today, especially in games and technology. It makes more sense to unveil NX within 4-6 months of its release rather than 2+ years beforehand. On that note, press, bloggers, streamers, and the collective peanut gallery of consumers have done a fantastic job making the NX a centerpiece of conversation every month, if not every week. Anticipation and curiosity are nearly at a fevered pitch, which will only make the unveil and subsequent launch bigger deals.

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          August 26, 2016 6:51 PM

          how realistic is it to keep your console announcement bottled up until only a few months before release if you need 3rd parties to have already been developing for 1-2 years+? You're going to end up letting leaks and rumors drive a lot of the expectations of your launch event among hardcore followers.

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      August 26, 2016 4:14 PM

      We will call it Mega Nintendo.

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      August 27, 2016 4:04 AM

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