Posted on January 30 2012 by Nathanial Rumphol-Janc
That is such a classy title. Just makes you want to read, doesn’t it? Iwata had quite a bit to talk about in these topics and questions, which nice because even those that don’t keep up to the every day news of the world of gaming can understand what he is talking about.
His first response is to a remark about Capcom’s Monster Hunter Tri G making a change to the Nintendo 3DS’s user demographics. He says quite simply, that they are correct. The number of 3DS users who think themselves as skilled game players is increasing. He then continues to discuss about the ages and gender ratios of Nintendo players, and describes the demographic as a camel hump.
He also talks about the overseas market, where software sales is mostly generated through home consoles. Thus, most western publishers will put more priority in the development of software for the home consoles. Yet, because of the recent increase of sales in the Nintendo 3DS, the attitudes are now changing. He continues to discuss how he hopes to see Japanese software sell better outside of Japan. I suggest localizing more.
The last bit of info on this portion of the Q&A is about “Touch Generations”. Many ask why they aren’t just moving these games to the 3DS, and it’s simply because the games already made for that generation are no longer fresh. Mostly, he is hoping to create more of a balance in the demographic you will see quite a bit in the quote.
Regarding your remark on Capcom’s “Monster Hunter 3 (Tri) G,” (Japanese title) making a change in the Nintendo 3DS’s user demographics, you are exactly right. The number of Nintendo 3DS users who think of themselves as skilled game players is increasing. Also, the number of male Nintendo 3DS users in junior high school, high school and university is increasing. I believe I have previously shown you a pyramid chart of Nintendo DS’s and Wii’s user demographics, which showed surges in children and their parents’ age demographics, and between which was a dip, so that it looked like a two-humped camel. I think that dip is now being significantly filled. For years, Nintendo’s video game platforms have had an almost equal split between male and female consumers but, probably with such a background, the male-female user composition for the Nintendo 3DS at this point in time must be about 6 to 4 in favor of male users. Of course, there are a large number of female users of the product, but the ratio is more male-favored at present.
In the overseas markets, the main battlefield for third party publishers is the home console market. As you once again look at the graph that I showed you today, you will notice that a higher ratio of software sales is generated on home consoles. As the result, the major western publishers tend to put more priority on developing their software for home console systems. On the other hand, now that they were able to confirm the Nintendo 3DS’s marketability in the just-finished holiday sales season, their attitudes are gradually changing. Also, until such software from the overseas publishers pours into the market, the Japanese software makers have a great business opportunity, I believe. This is one thing that I often talk about with Mr. Hatano. If the company can cooperate with the Japanese software makers and increase the overseas sales of their quality software, we can prove to the others that the market is there for them and the Japanese software makers will be able to expand their markets. Therefore, if we can do so, there will be a number of advantages. In other words, the important factors are: One, such titles will be launched by the western software makers and succeed in the market, and: Two, Nintendo and the Japanese software makers will effectively cooperate so that their titles will sell well outside Japan.
As for the “Touch-Generations” titles for the Nintendo DS, as many of you recognize that these titles were able to gain popularity among different consumers and to expand the total number of consumers for the hardware, we often receive such questions as “Why don’t you do the same for the Nintendo 3DS?” If the company was to simply port these “Touch-Generations” titles to the Nintendo 3DS, there would be nothing fresh. Although we have not included the software in the lineup that we have announced so far for this year, we are, of course, preparing several titles with which we will be able to aim to expand the entire gaming population. By releasing these titles in the market, and by linking them with other network activities of the company, by taking advantage of such communications among friends as “Swapnote” or interactions in public enabled by “StreetPass” communication, if we can beef up the joy of the software, and if we can communicate to consumers the brand-new experiences such software can deliver, I believe we will certainly make a change. For example, in comparison to the Nintendo DS and the Wii, fewer senior consumers are using the Nintendo 3DS today. It must be inevitable as there are few titles among the Nintendo 3DS software so far developed with this age demographic in mind. The situation must change after applicable software is introduced. However, for the Nintendo 3DS, we have to first maintain the situation in which the current owners of the Nintendo 3DS will be satisfied. We cannot put too much priority on expanding the entire user demographic at present. It is important to maintain a good sense of balance here. – Satoru Iwata