Iwata: “Nintendo is not good at competing,” so must offer something different

Thursday, 10th October 2013 11:06 GMT By Dave Cook

Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has given a speech regarding his views on the company’s standing and future as it continues to make Wii U a success. He has stressed that simply copying the competition is not Nintendo’s style, and that he isn’t afraid of failure.

Iwata gave his talk at the B Dash Camp startup conference in Osaka, and The Bridge has translated it.

“When we talk about Nintendo we cannot ignore (former president) Hiroshi Yamauchi who just recently passed away. He always said that if you have failure, you don’t need to be too concerned. You always have good things and bad, and this reflects the history of Nintendo. If you do the same thing as others, it will wear you out. Nintendo is not good at competing so we always have to challenge [the status quo] by making something new, rather than competing in an existing market.”

On the risk of bringing Japanese IP and ideas to the western market, Iwata reflected on initial fears that he Pokemon brand would fail in the US. “Will America accept cute monsters?” he asked, “No, they said. Some people even recommended to make Pikachu more muscular. If we followed their advice Pokemon would never have been the success that it was. Brain Training software (Brain Age) became a hit in Japan, and I proposed that we sell it globally. And even as I said that as the president, no one listened.”

Brain Training of course, was a mad success in the end, and we’re pretty sure Pokemon has sold a lot of copies. Pretty sure.

It’s clear that Nintendo can catch lightning in a bottle, but do you feel that those days are through with Wii U? Does 3DS fare better in your view?

Let us know what you think below.

Via CVG.



  1. monkeygourmet

    This strikes true, for better or worse.

    The Wii U was most certainly miss-timed though, it launched when the 360 / PS3 had there strongest line ups and a lot of big hitters coming that didn’t make the jump to Wii U (Bioshock etc…). It’s was like going up against 2 PS2′s in some respects.

    I’m still not convinced that making a console on spec with the PS4 / Xbone would have worked though. It would have secured the third party vote potentially, but I can see Nintendo still getting shafted by EA / Acti because of their less established online system and the cost and risk would have potentially outweighed other factors.

    I can’t imagine the ‘hardcore crew’ missing out on PS4 / Xbone over a similarly priced powerful Nintendo machine. I think a lot of people have made their minds up after the Wii, and I doubt a more powerful machine with an unproven online system would have made them interested.

    Effectively, they could have been in the same boat as the Wii U, but with a shit load more financial outlay… It’s a tricky position to be in.

    One thing I’m sure on though is the wasted potential of the IPs they still hold. Where is FZero, Star Fox, Animal Crossing, et all…? These titles should have been announced by now in some form or another and it wouldn’t have hurt to have a few more around launch.

    #1 1 year ago
  2. tezzer1985

    Hmm I’m torn on this, I don’t think they should copy other companies, but I do feel they should cater to their fans. i.e Pokemon console RPG (I would buy a Wii U for that), new Nintendo IP, better online infrastructure, just the basics that’s all they need to do.

    #2 1 year ago
  3. ps4fanboy

    Nintendo will find a way out of this.

    #3 1 year ago
  4. Animeboy413

    Hahaha, Nintendo is outdated company and behind the times

    #4 1 year ago
  5. Animeboy413

    Iwata wants to create something didfferent? How about a more powerful console one that will be easy to develop for and be able to match your rivals. Clearly Sony and Microsoft are above them with PS4 & XBox One.Matter fact just go 3rd party Nintendo!

    #5 1 year ago
  6. polygem

    I deeply respect nintendo for their attitude. Iwata is a great ceo. A rare breed. It must be tempting for them to jump on the hype trains for easy cash ins. Ninty follow their vision though. They have the long term in mind. Sometimes that makes them look slow. In the long run this focus and straightness brought them to the strong position they are in now. Polititians and the industry could learn a lot from nintendo

    #6 1 year ago
  7. dsr

    Scumbag Nintendo:

    Says it want to try something different.
    Rehashes its own decade old title to make a quick buck.

    #7 1 year ago
  8. SplatteredHouse

    “i.e Pokemon console RPG” such as this, perchance? (Did you even buy the last one?) …the parallels, they’re becoming too strong!

    #8 1 year ago
  9. Joe Musashi

    What Nintendo say and what Nintendo do rarely seem to be the same thing these days.


    #9 1 year ago
  10. Dragon

    At least they admit they cant compete toe to toe with Sony and MS, which some of their hardcore crowd has problems understanding.
    However, innovation just for the sake of it will is never good, something the disastrous fail aka Wii U tells us.
    I hope his joking when he talking about keeping Yamauchis legacy alive. Yamauchi worked hard to broaden nintys base, and the present management headed by Iwata is incapable of doing so. Anyone with an iota of financial knowledge acknowledges that fact, except fanboys of course.

    #10 1 year ago
  11. polygem

    @Dragon: they could directly compete. they´ve CHOSEN to go a different path though – because they are not good at competing, morally, attitudewise, corporate ethicswise. that´s what he´s trying to say. they focus on their vison more than on jumping on the next trend. this is what makes them so special in the gaming landscape and this is why they are so important and relevant in the gaming culture as a whole. don´t you think if nintendo would make a powerhouse console, would create a metroid AAA space shooter, a mario galaxylike game with a more mature look in form of a new ip…it wouldn´t sell like crazy? it would. they could directly compete if they would choose to – but they´re not good at it because that´s not how they roll. they choose not to. they choose to be different to create unique gaming experiences that clearly have a nintendo handwriting to it. i really can´t believe why so many gamers aren´t able to see this. it´s the same discussion over and over again.

    #11 1 year ago
  12. salarta

    I think everyone that’s paid attention to Nintendo to some degree knew this, but it’s good to see someone at Nintendo actually admit it openly.

    Trying something new is okay, the problem is that Nintendo’s idea of new since the Wii has been to attach a gimmick to whatever device they’re trying to sell while claiming it’s some kind of groundbreaking experimental work, while also allowing themselves to fall a generation behind their competition on critical components needed to stay relevant in the industry.

    They’re trying to compete in big console business and in the mobile business, and they’re getting worse with both because they don’t incorporate features needed and expected of any company working in those fields today. On consoles, their graphics and networking capabilities are a generation behind Sony and Microsoft, hurting both porting options and player interaction. On mobile, the real money is in things like phones and tablets where there’s a wider market of products to choose from, and people can connect to each other easily without needing to have the same kind of device. And when it comes to more hardcore video game playing, Sony more or less has that covered with the Vita being more graphically powerful and better connected network-wise.

    Nintendo seems to think that packing in a random new feature nobody really asked for, one that comes off entirely pointless most of the time, makes up for lacking in critical areas. The best comparison I can think to make is that if Nintendo was a car manufacturer, while their competitors spent time improving fuel economy and driveability, Nintendo would go with a go-kart motor but try to sell the car on being able to have the outside change colors and flash words. It may be a neat feature, and people may even want to try it out, but it means nothing if the key components of the car suck.

    #12 1 year ago
  13. monkeygourmet


    And where would one buy one of these Go-Kart, colour changing Cars you speak of?

    #13 1 year ago
  14. Ilovesony

    awww… Poor nintendo…. I remember when they were the company everyone loved…I hope they come back.. but I see them becoming the next Sega

    #14 1 year ago
  15. salarta

    @13: Copyright Mario Kart 2014!

    #15 1 year ago
  16. YoungZer0

    @11: God, what a bunch of bullshit you write. They can’t compete because their ideas are outdated. They produce nothing but shovelware and refuse to do anything new. They are going to die a slow death, not because they choose to, but because their incompetence leaves them no choice.

    #16 1 year ago
  17. Bomba Luigi

    Guess thats the Lesson they learned. N64 and GC where Powerful but didn’t sell well, then they made the Wii with a new Idea (good or not) and it worked. So they tried something similiar again – but this Time it didn’t really work.

    That can happen. I guess in the Long Run it will work somehow with the WiiU like it worked somehow with the GC, but I really don’t see a Wii-Like Moneyprinter.

    I own a WiiU and still like Nintendo, but not because of the Hardware they made. Because of the Games they made.

    #17 1 year ago
  18. Clupula

    I’m sorry, if I’m on the board of directors, and my CEO tells me that our company can’t compete with other companies in our field, I would want him removed immediately.

    #18 1 year ago
  19. monkeygourmet

    For balance, he (Iwata) also said this about Wii:

    “I do not intend to declare how many Wii we will be selling today, but Wii will be a failure if it cannot sell far more than GameCube did. In fact, we shouldn’t continue this business if our only target is to outsell GameCube. Naturally, we are making efforts so that Wii will show a far greater result than GameCube.”

    Although that is prob the same speech he will use after Wii U if he’s still around (Just replace Gamecube with Wii U and Wii with Wii U’s successor), it would be good to be a fly on the wall to see how much pressure Nintendo are really under. They do a great job of looking like the don’t give a flying fuck, which is somewhat terrifying but also exciting if you are a fan of their products.

    #19 1 year ago
  20. pcbros

    @16 – “They can’t compete because their ideas are outdated. They produce nothing but shovelware and refuse to do anything new. They are going to die a slow death, not because they choose to, but because their incompetence leaves them no choice.”

    So what new things is the competition bringing this upcoming generation? I’m seeing a lot of old ideas with better graphics.

    Nintendo is like the Disney of the gaming industry. They have a family image to maintain and prefer not to go down the mature gamer path. Nintendo does not want to grow with gamers, they prefer to stay young for the new gamers and those who enjoy family friendly games.

    #20 1 year ago
  21. polygem

    @16: i think you couldn’t be more wrong. like he said, even if the wiiu will not be a success it doesn’t mean it was a failure in the long run. nintendo focus on the long term and they evolve their ideas and ip’s through innovative hardware… that is different to their competition. that’s the business strategy they’ve chosen and look where they are and how it worked out for them. their ip’s alone are worth billions. that you are saying that they are refusing to do something new is really strange though. to say it with your own words…god, what a bunch of bullshit you write. look at wii, wiiu and the miiverse, 3ds. what the fkcu are you even talking about?
    @18: you are a short term man. not working now. kill it. if you read the article you’d find out that iwata explained that this is exactly not how nintendo look at their business.

    #21 1 year ago
  22. pcbros

    As a family oriented guy, I can appreciate what Nintendo brings to the table. I can easily name 5-10 games I could be playing with my family if I owned a Wii U. The GamePad is also great for keeping the family together and not splitting them up into different rooms.

    My issue with the Wii U is the pricing.

    #22 1 year ago
  23. bradk825

    When my kids get a little older I’ll certainly have a Nintendo console in my home again.

    Although I don’t have one now, I have nothing but fond feelings toward Nintendo. I remember playing Donkey Kong on NES, sitting on the floor next to my Dad, playing Goldeneye with my brother in later years, 4 player split screen on a 13 inch tv, lol. And when the Wii came out I was impressed that while other companies were more focused on shooters and action/adventure games Nintendo kept their family-friendly approach going strong. They also introduced us to motion control and paved the way for Kinect and Eye.

    Nintendo will come back from the spot they are in now.

    #23 1 year ago
  24. polygem

    @13 and 15:

    you’re welcome!

    #24 1 year ago
  25. Pytox

    Where is Francis guy to defend this? :D

    #25 1 year ago
  26. Legendaryboss

    Shush, you will awake it, but he’s most likely living in his own fairy world of imagination waiting for the right time to return.

    Anyway this whole “not having full third party support” “not geared to compete” “not catering to all audiences” Doesn’t warrant the label different, but they have dug their hole and i just wonder if they can get out.

    #26 1 year ago
  27. Pytox

    @26 hah :D

    #27 1 year ago
  28. polygem

    @26: “but they have dug their hole and i just wonder if they can get out.”i am sure they can. the wiiu is fantastic. people are’t buying it but there’s not much to hate about the system itself really. it’s a solid piece of hardware that works great and has some great software and a fun online/social system. maybe consumers don’t really see the advantages of it but it’s definitely not a bad product. because of that i think nintendo will either be able to u-turn wiiu or move on with a new machine in a few years which will become more succesfull. i’m very confident about that. i am definitely not among those painting nintendos future black. i play a lot of their games on their current systems and it’s all very enjoyable stuff. i said this before, imho softwarewise they are in top form atm. i think we’ll see a lot of amazing games for both wiiu and 3ds in their lifetime.

    #28 1 year ago
  29. Legendaryboss

    You really should work for Nintendo with an attitude like that or do you?

    But to comment on what you said:

    But you seem to firmly believe what you say. but you remind of those sale people on the street you would normally avoid to hearing the same thing.

    #29 1 year ago
  30. Dragon

    That is called being a saleman. And as a saleman, you gotta believe you have got the best crack.

    “but you remind of those sale people on the street you would normally avoid to hearing the same thing.”
    Yup. Same feelings here. That is why I ignore those saleman-esque responses. Better not burst their bubble I guess.

    #30 1 year ago
  31. dreamcastnews

    @29 to be fair, LB; it is a decent console. Sure it’ll never live up to the SNES or NES legacy but there is certainly an allure of untapped potential about it.

    Price is a massive issue and to be honest, I think at £179.99 without the GamePad and it being an HD Wii 2 would have been a better option, that pad is it’s talking point but also it’s downfall in margin.

    #31 1 year ago
  32. polygem

    @lb: well tbh i only hear the same ol’ stuff from you guys as well.

    @ dragon…well, this is not exactly ignoring is it :)

    i mean what i say, i think i have a point. i am not talking out of my ass. you can disagree but trying to write it off as fanboyish devotee salesman crap is pretty weak. you’re making it a bit to easy for yourselves. nintendo won me over again. i had a hard time liking the wii and only bought into that thing late. i truly enjoy their current systems. what can i do…there’s nothing wrong with it or is it? sometimes it seems like that’s how you guys want it to look like.

    #32 1 year ago
  33. Legendaryboss

    Damn you mistakes! Damn you! :)

    Yeah, okay.

    I never said otherwise, but your right it is a decent console with flaws which can never be fixed in favour of being different. I guess i want more from Nintendo. Although theres a limit to how much you want hear that passionate wall of salesman speak, usually for me theres no limit, i’ll just ignore or swear if need be: I never want to be converted.

    In real life of course.

    #33 1 year ago
  34. polygem


    #34 1 year ago
  35. polygem

    and tbh the sameish con nintendo arguments are keeping me coming back here…some of that bullshit just needs to be countered/corrected.

    #35 1 year ago
  36. Legendaryboss

    Really? Are you sure? I’m very certain someone would have pointed it out, well if yes the difference is obvious. I don’t go on preaching how PS Vita and 3DS is where its at right now etc, etc. I don’t need to convince others of that; i’ll let the buyers/owners of said systems do that.

    And are you sure you don’t see it at @28? Because thats exactly the sort of stuff i hear from sales people, give or take a few points.

    Remember i appreciate your passion.

    Edit: They keep coming back because they aren’t being fixed.

    #36 1 year ago
  37. polygem

    well again, to me IT IS where it’s at atm. not trying to convince anyone just pointing out how i see this. again, i praised the vita more than once with the same passion here as well as halo and demons souls and a lot of other stuff. yeah, i am passionate about games and i enjoy nintendos current gen like crazy. like crazy. it’s damn good and to me, the best overall experience atm. call me salesman all you like, if ninty will make games and or hardware i don’t enjoy anymore, trust me, i’ll say that immediately.
    i was called a 360 fanboy on here for a long long time. i hate where they are heading with the one and that’s what i post. if one day nintendo products wont win me over anymore, trust me, i’ll point that out for you guys loud and clear.

    #37 1 year ago
  38. dreamcastnews

    @37 me too, I was a massive 360 fan and didn’t like the PS3 for years but since Uncharted and Heavy Rain etc started showing me that Sony are about new franchises and story driven adventure also PS-Plus turned my head, I left the grip Microsoft had over me.

    Now the Wii U is my primary machine with PS+ filling in anything I’m missing, I’m quite happy with this but I totally understand people who have a different configuration.

    Back to the point though, Iwata is right Nintendo aren’t good at competing, they can do it, they just don’t excel at it. The GC and N64 show this – both powerful for the day, both largely shunned. I don’t really agree with motion sensor gaming being a gimmick as in previous statements, I firmly believe that gaming does yearn to be more immersive and how the player controls the game was always the first place to start.

    If Nintendo did come out with a competitor to the big’uns imagine how much LONGER we’d be waiting for games then! Doesn’t bear thinking about.

    #38 1 year ago
  39. polygem

    same here. 360 was the main console for a long long time. now i play mostly on 3ds and wiiu as well as on the ps3 and vita. i am a plus subscriber too. even sold my 360 recently :) never thought that would happen…ever.

    #39 1 year ago
  40. pcbros

    “To defend a console is to be one with it. To attack a console is to be in need of it. To ignore a console is to not care for it.”


    #40 1 year ago
  41. ChunkyLover112

    As long as they don’t do anything Sony does, I’m sure they’ll be more than fine. Just reoax, Iwata.

    #41 1 year ago
  42. monkeygourmet

    Yeah, Nintendo are the last pure gaming company. Can’t imagine why anyone would purposefully want them to fail. That’s a shitty attitude and no mistake.

    #42 1 year ago
  43. pcbros

    @42 – Some people are just idiots but others have just outgrown it.

    Some people might find Disney World boring as an adult but I still enjoy it.

    #43 1 year ago

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