Nintendo is making games, not art, says Iwata

Friday, 2nd August 2013 08:16 GMT By Dave Owen

Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has stated that the company needs to focus on creating games that resonate that customers, rather than art. The point was made during a long interview with Toyo Keizai Online.

In the wake of recent dire financial results for the Wii U system, Iwata restated the beleaguered console’s place in the current game’s market with the belief that better software support in the coming months can revive its fortunes.

“It’s difficult to say ‘the Wii U is a system that does such and such’ in a simple manner, and understanding it takes time.” Iwata said. “While we unfortunately had a period in the first half of 2013 where releases were sparse and hardware sales have lulled, I don’t think that the concept and potential of the Wii U have been rejected.”

To bring customers to the platform, Iwata believes that Nintendo should not focus on making games into art, but on creating games that resonate strongly with their audience.

“Nintendo developers are extremely insatiable when it comes to whether what they make resonates with customers or not. They’ll do anything to achieve it.” Iwata said. “Both Miyamoto [Shigeru] and I repeatedly say, ‘It’s not like we are making pieces of art, the point is to make a product that resonates with and is accepted by customers’.

“Creating is like an expression of egoism,” Iwata went on to say. “People with a strong energy to create something have a ‘this is the strength I believe is right’ sort of confidence to start from. Their standpoint is that ‘this is the right thing to do, so this must be what’s good for the customer, as well.’ But the final goal of a product is to resonate with and be accepted by people. You can’t just force your way through. By saying ‘the point is to be accepted’, I mean, if you go to a customer with your idea and you realise they don’t understand it, it’s more important that they do, and you should shift your idea.”

This interview follows the news that the Wii U sold only 160,000 units worldwide between April and June. This means that, after strong launch sales, the system has shifted only 3.61 million in its lifetime.

Thanks, GameSpot.



  1. Joe Musashi

    This is precisely the same straw-man logic that my wife uses when presenting me with a less than satisfactory meal.

    Iwata, get your ass back into the kitchen!


    #1 1 year ago
  2. Dragon246

    “Iwata believes that Nintendo should not focus on making games into art, but on creating games that resonate strongly with their audience.”

    Oh, okay. 8 Mario games in 2013 prove that. *cough*milking*cough*

    “It’s difficult to say ‘the Wii U is a system that does such and such’ in a simple manner, and understanding it takes time.”
    Uh, how ’bout making a console that resonate strongly with consumers?

    Really, Wii U is walking dead, with more dead less walking. 10k outside of Japan and US. That really says it all. Worse than Wii, 3DS, PSP, Vita, PS3,360.

    #2 1 year ago
  3. monkeygourmet

    Awww their being humble! :)

    This is a strange comment IMO. I find games like Pikmin, Mario Galaxy etc… Incredibly artistic.

    Maybe not as much as something like Journey, but Journey was created from the ground up for that kind of experience.

    #3 1 year ago
  4. KAP

    I was gonna draw a abracte portrait of every Nintendo IP on a large canvas, I was soon told I was infringing copyright laws and told to burn and bury it.

    #4 1 year ago
  5. monkeygourmet

    Also, it’s kind of ironic he should say this.

    With the Miiverse, Nintendo has created the biggest platform for art and artists in the videogame space.

    #5 1 year ago
  6. monkeygourmet


    How did Sony NOT manage to get the Vita to resonate with customers?

    At least with the Wii U, you can see their difficulties (a lot were brought on by themselves, name etc…).

    The Vita has 2 sticks for FPS, a touchscreen for casuals, online games and movie store, big name AND Indie releases etc… etc…

    I mean, how did they have all that and STILL manage too struggle?

    #6 1 year ago
  7. DrDamn

    “This is a strange comment IMO. I find games like Pikmin, Mario Galaxy etc… Incredibly artistic.”

    I think the point he is making is that they should be games first and foremost. If they are artistic too on some sort of level that’s not a bad thing, but make games which people want to play.

    Not really necessary to go in that direction is it? We have enough of *those* sort of threads already.

    #7 1 year ago
  8. redwood

    @6 IMO vita has longer legs than the wii U… just wait.

    #8 1 year ago
  9. spazman

    aw Iwata, u presided over a console built for 7 year old’s, and now the 7 year old’s have all grown up and want ps4′s – bless

    #9 1 year ago
  10. Bringit

    BREAKING NEWS: 7 Year Olds don’t exist anymore, says Spazman.

    The top forum commentator told VG247 that they’ve all grown up.

    When asked if it’s possible that there could be new 7 year-olds coming through Spazman just said ‘Aw bless.’

    #10 1 year ago
  11. monkeygourmet

    @7, 8

    Im not saying it won’t.

    Im just trying to bring it to people’s attention that sometimes you can have what looks like a sure fire success of a device on paper, then for whatever reason, the public doesn’t ‘bite’.

    It’s often not as simple as:

    “Uh, how ’bout making a console that resonate strongly with consumers?”

    For someone heavily into sales figures and such, that’s an incredibly childish view of a console launch.

    The Xbone’s introduction, even with all of MS’s marketing might and goodwill after the 360 is a good example of this.

    Likewise the PS3 after PS2.

    #11 1 year ago
  12. Clupula

    Really, the quicker Nintendo can force this out-of-touch salaryman to resign, the better off they will be.

    Yes, we’re going to recover with disposable product. Wonderful. Let’s not strive to be anything more. Let’s not attempt to maybe branch out and get the attention of people who previously wrote you off.

    Let’s just make toys.

    #12 1 year ago
  13. Clupula

    @6 – Price. I would probably pick one up if it was $150.

    At least in the States, $250 is home console price, not a portable, which carries the perception of not being worth the same type of investment.

    #13 1 year ago
  14. The_Red

    Of course. If Da Vinci had released 42 sequels and spin-offs for Mona Lisa, they wouldn’t have called him an artist.

    #14 1 year ago
  15. Lengendaryboss

    HAHAHA ;)

    #15 1 year ago
  16. DrDamn

    Absolutely but it is simple to respond to Dragon’s points without dragging the Vita into the conversation which will inevitably derail the conversation.

    If the games resonate and the console is priced well then it’s moot, unless you’ve done something like created a console which stabs you in the eyes whilst you play.

    #16 1 year ago
  17. Clupula

    @16 – Ah, you mean the Virtual Boy.

    #17 1 year ago
  18. monkeygourmet


    All consoles are ‘toys’ IMO. And; your right about price for the Vita, especially the memory sticks.

    Isn’t that the gamble though?

    Release older (cheaper) tech that makes profit sooner but has a shorter life span, or more cutting edge tech that has high R&D and manufacturing price, but has potentially more ‘shelf life’?

    The latter used to work, but these days, even cutting edge products are practically out of date by the time they get to market.

    By the time Vita picks up, people are not so ‘wowed’ by it’s features, which begs the question, why target such high end performance in a console?

    Im not saying the Wii U approach is right by the way, Im just pointing out there are positives and negatives to both sides.

    One negative I never agree with though, are idiots saying somethings for children because it isn’t crazy powerful.

    There has to be a good balance between power / price / services. So far the PS4 looks to be getting that right IMO.

    #18 1 year ago
  19. Francis O

    PS Vita will have longer legs than the Wii U because Sony isn’t making another handheld gaming device.

    There will be a Wii U 2 or Wii 3.

    But on topic, Nintendo is about making games, and their games are good. No amount of bashing from the Vg247 drones can stop that. Sales have already increased due to Pikmin 3 and that’s just the start.

    Looking forward to picking up Pikmin 3 and Splinter Cell this month. Then The Wonderful 101 in September.

    #19 1 year ago
  20. Clupula

    @19 – Oh, I’m afraid you seem to have not seen this week’s Japanese sales.

    The Wii U is back to being outsold by the PS3…a seven year old system with a very high profile successor on the way in a few months. And the Vita.

    Those sales increases you spoke of? They are gone.

    I’m afraid this station is very operati…

    Wait. Wrong speech.

    #20 1 year ago
  21. Lengendaryboss

    “PS Vita will have longer legs than the Wii U because Sony isn’t making another handheld gaming device.”
    The exact same thing was echoed by Patcher and we both know how wrong he is right? So if PS Vita has long legs wouldn’t Wii U also being out? Oh but wait only when it concerns Nintendo right?
    Splinter Cell? is it not another shooter with stealth elements and action packed moments? ;) Thats the question :D

    All in good jest Francis :P

    #21 1 year ago
  22. Clupula

    @21 – Don’t you know shooters are bad…unless they’re on Nintendo systems? Duh!

    #22 1 year ago
  23. Francis O


    - I should rephrase what I meant.

    The PS Vita is strong enough to where Sony doesn’t have to make another handheld any time soon.

    Splinter Cell
    Metal Gear

    Call of Duty

    #23 1 year ago
  24. Francis O


    Clupula, work on your failing YouTube channel.

    #24 1 year ago
  25. Clupula

    Hahahahahaha…work on having something in your life other than the internet, son.

    There’s a whole world out there, outside your door. Might want to check it out sometime, instead of worrying about something I put very little effort or care into other than it being something kinda fun for me to do every now and then.

    I mean, the last video I did was basically me saying, “Oh hey. I’m not dead,” because I hadn’t had the time nor interest in doing one in two months.

    You, on the other hand, your entire self-worth seems to revolve around Youtube and that’s just really, really sad.

    Go out. Meet a girl. Meet a boy. Take a walk in a park. Go to a club. See a band. There’s so much more than the internet out there.

    #25 1 year ago
  26. Lengendaryboss

    Good, good thats right backtrack. especially on MGS

    “And second, you don’t have to shoot people all the time in Watch Dogs, there are stealth and hacking elements. Metal Gear Solid 4 isn’t a shooter, yet there are plenty of guns and shooting.”

    So back then it wasn’t a shooter but includes lots of shooting and apparently didn’t have stealth and now it does. backtrack much further Francis and you will fall into a pit of your own hypocrisy :D :P :) ;)

    Edit: you don’t have to shoot people in MGS, you can stun them (Stun Knife) punch X2 kick, CQC them, grenade them, sneak by. Shooting is a option and only to a point mandatory in boss fights lethal or otherwise. You clearly haven’t played MGS4.

    #26 1 year ago
  27. Professor Zoom

    Wii u is crap. That’s all that needs to be said…

    #27 1 year ago
  28. Lengendaryboss


    #28 1 year ago
  29. viralshag

    I rate Clupula a 2/10 on the human scale based on his YouTube channel… Try harder!


    #29 1 year ago
  30. Francis O


    Son? Bitch please…

    Trust me, I’m not worrying about your shitty YouTube channel. You spend so much time bashing Nintendo on here, you could do that on YouTube and make a little extra money for a rainy day.

    It’s funny how you think you know my life or something? My work revolves around the internet, but I get plenty of time away from it.

    Meet a boy? Sorry, I’m not like you brokeback Legendarychump. Not that I have anything against gays.

    #30 1 year ago
  31. Clupula

    @29 – Really, I better start raising my subscriptions soon, before the UN does something about me. lol

    #31 1 year ago
  32. Lengendaryboss

    Thats right Francis stoop to cheap comebacks, you need something else besides blatant hypocrisy to fall back on.

    “Not that I have anything against gays.” Hmmm you imply me and him are that on more than one occasion when we are not and say you have nothing against gays even though you know its offensive.

    Yep i think we need a larger pit.

    #32 1 year ago
  33. Francis O


    Nobody is back-tracking. Look at how many threads where I said the PS Vita is fine. It just needs games.

    Like I said, MGS, Splinter Cell, Watch Dogs, have shooting, but they are not shooters. COD, Battlefield, Medal of Honor are pure shooters

    #33 1 year ago
  34. Professor Zoom

    #28 Not false…

    #34 1 year ago
  35. Lengendaryboss

    Keep telling yourself that.

    Edit: Do i have that link that infamous comment you made about Infamous SS? No i won’t.

    #35 1 year ago
  36. Lengendaryboss

    @34 and Francis as well.

    #36 1 year ago
  37. Clupula

    @30 – Hey, Francis, with how often you bring up the gay thing, I couldn’t be sure you weren’t projecting, so I tried to cover all the legal bases with my suggestion to you to just go out and do things that don’t revolve around the internet. You’re under the impression that this shit is important.

    And yes, I suppose I could start playing amateur Michael Pachter and giving my predictions and opinions on videogame stuff, if I wanted. It’s a hobby of mine, but it’s not a focus of my life. I’m too busy playing music, acting, and shopping scripts around to add being a self-proclaimed analyst to the list of things I do.

    On the other hand, I will say if I had good video capture software, I’d probably start putting up some reviews and recommendations of stuff I own, but that’d be the extent of it. This is a hobby. It’s something fun and therapeutic for me. I’m not interested in being your internet competition, although I can totally understand why you’d want me to be.

    What better way to make you the hero you style yourself to be than for you to have a nemesis? Any storyteller can tell you that a hero is nothing unless he has a strong villain to overcome.

    #37 1 year ago
  38. Sini

    it’s over people
    only reason why nintendo is still in home console space instead of focusing only on handhelds is because they deluded themselves with wii that they could hold onto casuals. Nintendo decay has been plain to see for over a decade now. Wii U lost casuals and it’s following the trend of selling less than gamecube.

    #38 1 year ago
  39. Dragon246

    So…….I smell butthurt :D
    I was hoping for some popcorn stuff.

    #39 1 year ago
  40. Ireland Michael

    Because the current Microsoft and Sony lineup are so artistic, right?


    I’ll give Sony credit for actually trying from time to time, but beyond them, gaming right now is about as artistic as a wet plastic bag floating in the wind.

    #40 1 year ago

Comments are now closed on this article.