Reggie: Nintendo not good at creating “core” titles like BioShock 2

Tuesday, 16th March 2010 14:36 GMT By Stephany Nunneley


Reggie Fils-Aime has said the sales-curve on “core” titles like BioShock 2 and Dante’s Inferno may not pay off the initial investments on the titles.

Using the latest NPD figures as an example, Reggie said that if those numbers were “the best” those titles could do for the month, then neither will pay off the investment.

“The interesting thing about this business is that developers love to create technically advanced games, and very visually stunning games, but the fact of the matter is not all of that content is selling exceptionally well either,” he told IndustryGamers at GDC.

“Look at the most recent NPD results. I’m not sure how much was invested into a game like Dante’s Inferno, or how much is invested into a game like BioShock 2, but if that sales level is the best that they will do in a particular month, and it’ll fall off rapidly from there, then those games aren’t going to pay off their investment.

“So to me, it’s a much bigger question than ‘why aren’t developers creating core content for the Wii?’ It’s a much broader question: ‘How can the development community create content that will strike a chord with consumers and be financially attractive?’

“For us, it is important that third parties bring their very best content to our platform. You could say ‘Why?’ It’s because… well, let me focus in on the West.

“There are 28 million Wiis out there in the marketplace. We know, based on our data, that we’ve got consumers from 5 to 95 playing on that platform. The fact of the matter is we know we create great content for younger consumers, we know we’ve got great content for more casual players, and we want fantastic content for that more active player who loves Metroid or Zelda but maybe also wants something like a BioShock 2 to play as well. And we also recognize that we don’t create that type of content ourselves. We’re not good at it and it’s not a key focus area.

“As a platform holder our responsibility is to create a large installed base for developers to create content, to provide them with the tools and the insight to help them create great games, and to have in place a profit model that motivates them to create the content and reap the rewards. We’ve done that; global installed base is over 67 million for Wii and there are 120 million in the DS family. So there’s a large installed base, an easy platform to develop for and a strong set of tools out there.

“So we want that content on our platform, so we have to court third-party developers and encourage them to make [those games], but it also has to be financially viable for them as well.”

Last month, Wii came in third-place to Xbox 360, and only beat out PS3 by approximately 37K units.

On the software front, Nintendo only had three titles in the top ten compared to five in January, leading some analysts to predict that the bloom on Nintendo’s rose is fading a bit.

More through the links.



  1. Eregol

    Is he saying that everyone should just make casual games?

    #1 5 years ago
  2. Blerk

    I think he’s saying “you guys make the ‘core’ games that lose money, we’re good at making stuff that earns pots of cash”.

    #2 5 years ago
  3. Gheritt White

    I think he’s saying that core games are irrelevent, financially speaking.

    #3 5 years ago
  4. reask

    He seems to be more into sales than games.
    Strange approach for the long term.

    #4 5 years ago
  5. themadjock

    The Wii fad is finally ending, after Sony gets the Move out there we will see if HD is not important Reggie. How many good titles are there for the Motionplus?? And they internet service is useless, can’t even play Sports Resort online… Get it sorted for the next console or you will be going the way of Sega.

    #5 5 years ago
  6. Blerk

    Y…eah. I’m kind of thinking that for the a large percentage of the people who like the Wii, HD really isn’t that important. I’m pretty sure the Wii will still be kicking everyone’s arses next Christmas as well.

    #6 5 years ago
  7. theevilaires

    Well it is to me and a lot more hardcore games. As the PS3 gets cheaper and hardcore games insist that MOVE is better, the casuals will take notice and some will want to experience better visuals.

    we were all casual gamers at once too Blerk….remember that.

    #7 5 years ago
  8. Blerk

    I don’t think they will. Especially when practically everything that Sony has shown so far has been utterly charmless compared to Nintendo’s happy-bouncy-family look and feel.

    Since when have casuals paid any attention whatsoever to what hardcore gamers think? :-D

    #8 5 years ago
  9. Goliath

    This is the problem with the industry; there is no happy medium. The games have to justify the consumers investing in the console and its new technology. Meaning, the reward for a consumer spending X amount of dollars on a new console is that visually stunning game but that game cost so much money to develop, market and distribute that the revenue it generates means the publisher wont make a profit for a long time. Nintendo is profitable, its games reach it’s core demographic, the casual audience. Contrary to what the “core” gamer may believe, the casual gamer is the group responsible for every generation’s consoles’ success. The Wii isn’t a fad. It specifically targets the consumer who made up the larger part of the PS2′s install base. People keep waiting for that mass consumer migration from PS2 to PS3 but it’s not going to happen; those casual consumers this generation have found that alternative.

    #9 5 years ago
  10. Blerk

    Bang on! Round of applause!

    #10 5 years ago
  11. one million

    hehe I can’t even remember when I last read a nintendo fanboy rant. First sign that the “hardcore” have abandoned the Wii.

    #11 5 years ago
  12. Gekidami

    This is pretty representative of what Nintendo think of video games these days, really. More toy maker then game dev they’ve become, and they’re pretty much admitting and embracing it to.

    #12 5 years ago
  13. theevilaires

    Amen, Gek. Nintendo really is out there floating around pluto or something.

    #13 5 years ago
  14. Blerk

    The hardcore have abandoned the Wii, on the whole. And more to the point, Nintendo don’t need them any more. There’s no wonder they’re happy to leave the hardcore games to other people.

    Geki’s right – they’ve found their niche, they rule it, they’re happy. And it just so turns out that that ‘niche’ is actually a huge slice of gaming’s money which the other two are now regretting missing out on. They won’t get it back this generation though, it’s too late.

    #14 5 years ago
  15. JonFE

    No Sony or Microsoft representative could try to sell anyone Super Mario Galaxy or Donkey Kong Jungle Beat (the bongos original) with a straight face…

    …and I meant that as a compliment to Nintendo.

    #15 5 years ago
  16. The Hindle

    Its a shame though saddens me really that the makers of some of the best games of all time and hardest games as well have turned into what they are today. There is a term to describe Nintendo at the moment and thats selling out.

    #16 5 years ago
  17. Dannybuoy

    God is it my or is Reggie saying really embarrassing things recently? ;-)

    #17 5 years ago
  18. Blerk

    I don’t think it’s called ‘selling out’, Hindle – I’d call it ‘business’.

    #18 5 years ago
  19. themadjock

    The shame is that we hardcore gamers grew up loving nintendo and they abandoned us. I understand their reasons for doing so – survival, I also apprieciate the effect the have made in making playing games more mainstream instead of geeky but I just hope with their renewed wealth they can innovate for the hardcore again as well as keeping the casual family market happy.

    #19 5 years ago
  20. Blerk

    I don’t think Nintendo has changed at all, actually – it’s the market that has changed. They’ve always catered for the mainstream, but today’s mainstream is actually very different to the mainstream of the 80s or 90s.

    #20 5 years ago
  21. theevilaires

    themadjock is right 100%

    #21 5 years ago
  22. The Hindle

    They abandoned the people who made them what they are, thier hardcore fans. Its like someone said above you dont hear from Nintendo fanboys no more.

    To me they have sold out as Sony and Microsoft both do casual gameing yet they still do games that cater for the hardcore, Nintendo on the other hand….

    Will come back to haunt them eventually as this mainstream audience will inevitablly find something else to craze over.

    #22 5 years ago
  23. themadjock

    Ok, Blerk what games have you played on your Wii recently?

    Do you own either of the other consoles or do any PC gaming. Do you have a family?

    #23 5 years ago
  24. Blerk

    But that’s precisely what Reggie is hinting at there – there’s no money to be made from the hardcore on the Wii. They are, at the end of the day, a business. As much as you’d like to think that they’re all cuddly and bouncy and making games for your pleasure, they actually just want what’s in your wallet.

    #24 5 years ago
  25. Blerk

    The last thing I played on the Wii was Wii Sports Resort, which is fairly amusing when played with the kids. 99% of my gaming time is on the 360 or PC, though. And that PC gaming time is pretty much all indie/casual stuff.

    It’s probably easier for me to let it go though because I’ve never really been much of a Nintendo fan. I’ve enjoyed the odd Zelda and/or Metroid, but I don’t really like much of their output.

    #25 5 years ago
  26. subversus

    I don’t know why top brass people always think it’s all about money for developers. It’s all about passion. If you want to make some money there are less risky ways to do it – you can start selling cars for example or open a grocery store.

    #26 5 years ago
  27. ruckus

    As far as my gaming is concerned it’s third party output that is down – no probs with Nintendo. Plus gaming over the years I’ve never found one platform that served all my gaming needs anyway, guess I’m just a slut 0_0!

    edit: “It’s all about passion” lol, it should be but thats been missing for ages, if it ever did exist…

    #27 5 years ago
  28. xino

    they can’t make those titles because they are good at kids and casual games.

    #28 5 years ago
  29. JonFE

    Why exactly do hardcore gamers miss Nintendo’s output? Don’t they get enough good games to play as it is?

    Is Nintendo really the traitor of the gaming industry as some of you paint it? Are you absolutely sure that the others two wouldn’t do the same, just to have Nintendo’s market share? What is the target audience of Move and Natal anyway?

    Could it be that you have just outgrown Nintendo?

    I don’t remember any other Nintendo console getting more than one Mario platform (the Wii already has SMG, NSMB and SMG2 will be here in June) or Zelda game (besides Ocarina of Time along with Majora’s Mask that is).

    #29 5 years ago
  30. NiceFellow

    I don’t mind people making money, but in the end I want creative leads going in directions that suit them vs low risk stuff.

    In the same way I want David Lynch and Cronenberg films (does anyone think those are going to post Avatar level numbers) I want people creating games like Bioshock, Deus Ex, System Shock, etc.

    The overall medium would be boring without them.

    One thing I don’t like about Nintendo’s apparent strategy (possible videogame publishers as a whole) is the apparent lack of seeing project X as funding project Y. In the film industry it’s a given that the money raked in from the big, dumb Hollywood blockbusters helps fund smaller, more niche movies.

    In videogames it seems to be X worked and Y didn’t match it – even when X is MW2 and Y is something more niche and worthwhile in itself removed from a purely commercial view.

    I’d like to see Reggie considering taking some of the money from Wii Sports Resort and funding something like ICO or SOTC on the Wii.

    #30 5 years ago

    I was a huge fan of Nintendo.

    I also agree that they have sold out.

    They used to have a reputation for taking ages to release high quality games, but now they have one for releasing too much hardware and casual games for non-gamers.

    Their target market used to be young gamers, now it’s overweight soccer moms.

    Maybe if they had focused on nailing down a precise Wii mote, instead of thinking about balance boards and heart monitors for your finger, they might have had the FPS market sewn up.

    There’s a few bob to be made in the FPS market apparently…

    #31 5 years ago
  32. Blerk

    You’d never convince the hardcore to step ‘down’ to the Wii now that they’ve been sold on the hi-defs, though. There’s money to be made in that market but I seriously doubt there’s money to be made in that market on a Nintendo platform.

    JonFE’s right – this would be a problem if hardcore games weren’t being made by anyone, but they are. Just not so much on Nintendo platforms. And Nintendo do still throw you the occasional bone, so buy multiple machines and be happy. Surely? :-)

    #32 5 years ago
  33. themadjock

    Thanks for sharing Blerk. I bought the Wii at launch and had lots of fun with my family and friends, I don’t have kids though. I think the turning point for me came with WiiFit when I realised that the balance board didn’t have any other really compelling applications. I sold it on and got more than I paid for it when they where in short supply. I think the best games on Wii have been Mario Kart, MS at the Olympics and Dead Space Extraction. The rest of the time I am enjoying the PS3 which started off fairly poor and has gone from strength to strength. I also do some PC gaming but no where near as much as I used to. Only thing on PC now is Starcraft 2 and Diablo 3 in 20??

    #33 5 years ago
  34. Hero of Canton

    I don’t think Nintendo has changed so much as ‘hardcore’ gamer tastes. In the days of the N64 if we’d had what Nintendo has given us this generation, most people would have been very happy. But times have changed and many gamers want something different, and Nintendo isn’t going to provide that – partly because it never has.

    #34 5 years ago
  35. Blerk

    I’m trying to imagine what a Nintendo-created shooter would be like. Am I right in thinking that they’ve never actually made a proper shooter, only published bought-in or second-party stuff?

    #35 5 years ago
  36. Gekidami

    Theres the Metroid Prime games, they were actually really good shooters. And had nothing cartoony about them.
    Atleast i assume Nintendo made the Metroid Prime games.

    #36 5 years ago
  37. JonFE

    Just imagine Luigi’s Mansion, but with spitting instead of sucking Blerk. :D

    EDIT: I’d argue that the first two Metroid Prime games are not actually shooters, Gekidami. Their die-hard fans would probably agree.

    #37 5 years ago
  38. Blerk

    Retro Studios made Metroid Prime, not Nintendo. They’re ‘second party’, so they’re sort of almost Nintendo but not quite.

    Edit: And yeah, I’d count them as action-adventure-platform games rather than straight shooters.

    #38 5 years ago
  39. Gekidami

    Looking on the devs wiki page it says that they’re fully owned by Nintendo now, so they are first-party.

    #39 5 years ago
  40. ruckus

    Duck Hunt? :p

    #40 5 years ago
  41. DrDamn

    The Wiimote design lacks enough usable buttons for more hardcore applications.

    One side issue. Whilst MS & Sony would obviously like the money and market share Nintendo have taken this generation the approach they took really doesn’t fit with their longer term aims. I.e. A household entertainment hub.

    #41 5 years ago
  42. Telepathic.Geometry

    I don’t think that the hardcore have abandoned the Wii so much as they’ve abandoned sole-ownership of a Wii.

    #42 5 years ago
  43. themadjock

    Thanks guys, this discussion has helped me see the Wii’s hardcore failing from a new direction, Blerk, JonFe and others particularly. I wish they could re-produce the palyablility of SNES classics like UN Squadron, Contra, Starwing(Fox). Perhaps John is right maybe I have outgrown the Wii but that’s no excuse for no trophy/achievement system or modern PSN/Xbox live features.

    For Example If I want to play the superior version of Bomberman on the Wii I have to start a chat on my PS3 so I can have VoIP with my friend….

    #43 5 years ago

    They published a ok game called GoldenEye 007.

    #44 5 years ago
  45. Blerk

    Again, created by a team which came from outside of Nintendo. Have one of Nintendo’s own internal teams ever made one?

    #45 5 years ago
  46. ruckus

    “no excuse for no trophy/achievement system or modern PSN/Xbox live features.” Which you care for, which is fine – I don’t so for me, no excuse needed. If they do, do it – then please let us ‘hardercore’ ;) gamers have the option of switching it off.

    #46 5 years ago
  47. Goliath

    @ Telepathic.Geometry

    I don’t think Nintendo intended the Wii to be a core gamer’s sole console. I think they were always acutely aware of allowing the HD console it’s audience and distinguishing itself from that experience. The intention was always to be a casual distraction for both the core and casual gamer. The Wii is gaming at its core; social, interactive and engaging, and it provides a unique experience for the core gamer that other consoles don’t necessarily meet. Last year I bought Metroid Prime Trilogy, Super Mario Bros. Wii, A Boy and his Blob, and Little King’s Story for the Wii. This year I’ve bought Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars and No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle. All core experiences. I’m not looking for my Wii to meet all my gaming needs but it has experiences I can share and enjoy as a core gamer. I think the folly of the other console makers is in not recognizing this.

    #47 5 years ago

    @ Blerk:

    I don’t know, but the point is that it was and still is an exclusive.

    It was the N64 pad with it’s analogue stick and trigger that was one of the bigger factors in it’s success.

    So as I said that if they’d spent a little time on pushing the Wii Mote for FPS’s, and maybe thought about their (old) core gamers by coming out with a similar title, I might have a different opinion.

    They used to think that publishing and bundling FPS’s was important at one stage, but not anymore apparently.

    #48 5 years ago
  49. ruckus

    In respect of GoldenEye – it was a good fps done on cheap hardware. It was one of the few console fps’s (at the time) that didn’t completely suck compared to what was on the pc. I think times moved on, personally…

    #49 5 years ago
  50. YoungZer0

    Nintendo: Toy Manufacture.

    That’s about it. I think calling Nintendo a Game Company is an insult to all real Game Companies.

    Jesus, even Activision has more heart.

    #50 5 years ago
  51. Telepathic.Geometry

    @Goliath: I agree with pretty much everything you said there. :)

    @YoungZero: I think you’re very naive, stirring, or a silly billy.

    #51 5 years ago
  52. vincentw00t

    I’ve noticed that the community on VG247 is pretty terrible. It’s mostly vitriol and knee-jerk reactions. This discussion is a pretty good example of that.

    At least there’s one or two people with their heads screwed on properly.

    #52 5 years ago
  53. Detale

    I actually thought this was quite a respectful discussion, with a number of interesting points raised.

    #53 5 years ago
  54. Goliath

    @ vincentwoot

    It’s not necessarily VG247. The problem is the internet has a very vocal majority who in real life are the minority of the gaming community. They think that their opinions and interests are shared, or should be shared, wholly by the gaming community at large when it isn’t.

    #54 5 years ago
  55. subversus

    “edit: “It’s all about passion” lol, it should be but thats been missing for ages, if it ever did exist…”

    Bioshock, Demons Souls, Portal, hell even blockbusters like L4D2 are clearly made with passion. If you don’t see games good enough for you, you should find a new hobby.

    #55 5 years ago
  56. Blerk

    Indeed, I thought this was one of our better discussions! :-D

    #56 5 years ago

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