Although the Wii U hasn’t exactly sparked the same sort of gaming revolution as its predecessor, it’s hardly a failure either. Despite the doomsaying. So, much to the chagrin of Nintendo critics, the console will be hanging around for a while longer…which isn’t to say that the company isn’t being proactive about their next step. In a Q&A with investors that was just released, Nintendo President Satoru Iwata dropped the perhaps unsurprising news that the corporation was already working on its next big project:
Once we launch a new platform, we naturally start to prepare for the next one. As it takes several years to develop a single platform, if you ask us whether we are preparing for our next system, then the correct response will be that we are always developing new hardware. On the other hand, the most difficult question for us to answer in public in concrete terms is when we are going to launch our new hardware and what kind of hardware we are going to launch, and I am afraid that I cannot talk about this in more detail. However, I can certainly assure you that we are not at a dead end of any kind in which we are out of ideas for developing new hardware. I of course believe that launching new hardware will not produce good results unless we first make sure that those who have already purchased our platforms are satisfied. We will continue to work hard to ensure that consumers who already own our platforms are satisfied, and make sure that people will continue to see great value in our software, but I would like to say that we are preparing for our next hardware system, and in fact, we already have a clear idea to some extent about the direction our next hardware is going to take.
While lacking any real details, it is a confirmation that Nintendo is hard at work preparing some new evolution of their gaming strategy. But will the gamers who have already moved on return to Nintendo after being disappointed by their recent output? That question is one that, sadly for Nintendo, may be harder to answer.
In another question, Iwata commented on profit and loss regarding the Wii U, stating:
We set the sales unit forecast of 3.60 million units of Wii U hardware as the target that we should at least reach by making the releases of two key titles for this fiscal year from the very popular, evergreen franchises that have been under development since before the launch of Wii U hardware, “Mario Kart 8” and “Super Smash Bros. for Wii U,” the pillars of our entire marketing strategy for this year. These two titles can be enjoyed alone or with others, and we believe they will encourage those who do not own Wii U hardware to purchase it. With respect to the impact of Wii U hardware sales on profit and loss, in order to sell 3.60 million units, we have to produce some more hardware units on top of our current hardware inventory. However, since the loss arising due to the hardware production costs being higher than our trade price was taken into account in the previous fiscal year, you could assume that there will be almost no loss this fiscal year for the sales of the 3.60 million hardware units.
Obviously Mario Kart and Super Smash Bros.titles are Nintendo’s bread and butter at this point. But to quote Josiah Bartlet, what’s next? Where is the innovation? Or the exciting new games that could become their own franchises? Perhaps these will unveil themselves at E3 next month. Or at least we hope they will, because who really cares about new ways to play stuff if the actual games aren’t memorable.