Yes, this is what we've all been waiting for: Nintendo springing into action, facing up to their mistakes, being candid about the challenges ahead, and coming out swinging. It's action stations, and president Satoru Iwata has outlined the path ahead for Nintendo. This is the road to redemption!
Let's recap. Nintendo's corporate strategy meeting today yielded some very interesting information. You can read through the whole thing here, but here are the main points in bullet point form:
- Mario Kart 8 will arrive on Wii U in May 2014
- Nintendo will focus on trying to communicate the value and importance of the Game Pad, with games showing off the controller's unique features to be fast tracked
- Move from device-based systems to account-based systems: Nintendo Network IDs will become a platform in and of themselves, allowing for unified Nintendo experiences across Nintendo hardware and smart technology
- Nintendo to explore opportunities on smart devices -- "no restrictions" on dev teams
- "The possibility of making games or using [Nintendo] game characters" for smart-based apps hasn't been ruled out, though saying "Nintendo are bringing Mario to smart devices" would be "completely" misleading
- Nintendo will launch a “quality of life” platform in 2015 as they look to redefine entertainment
There's a lot to unpack from that, and some things that we've heard Nintendo say before and then fail to execute. But there's also a lot of new stuff to pick apart, particularly when it comes to smart devices and this new idea for a QOL-improving service.
Nintendo's biggest difficulty with the Wii U has been making it seem essential in any way, shape, or fashion. And I don't just mean for us gamers, but actually mainly for the millions of people who'd never call themselves "gamers" who bought a Wii or a Nintendo DS. Nintendo haven't found a way to capture the minds of those people, and that barrier begins with the Game Pad. We've said it ever since we first had a Wii U in our hands; that people would see the Wii U as some sort of tablet accessory -- a mere extension of its predecessor, and therefore unessential.
That's not lost on Iwata either.
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