Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has said that it won’t release Wii Vitality Sensor until its quality level is where it could approach 99 percent of users.
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“I imagine that you are worried about that because it hasn’t been put on the market even though a long time has passed since it was initially announced,” Iwata said at an investors meeting last week.
“This is a totally new type of entertainment, and there are large individual differences in the biological information of humans. For example, if it was acceptable that only 80% of the users thought the result was natural, then we could propose this to consumers right now. However, we are aiming for a level of quality in which 99% of consumers feel comfortable, and that is why this project is taking time to complete.”
Iwata continues that Vitality Sensor has “a lot of interesting potential,” but insists it won’t give a date until it is good and ready.
“I feel that this project has a lot of interesting potential, and we would like to continue this project without giving up, but it is difficult to overcome this hurdle, so please understand that now I cannot clearly say when we will be ready to put this on the market.”
Wii sales unbounded by Kinect
Iwata also said that Wii sales were unaffected by the launch of Kinect. The 360 motion camera launched last November worldwide, and has since hit 10 million sales in terms of hardware and software.
“I think the image of Microsoft’s Xbox 360 is largely different between Japanese citizens and U.S. citizens,” he said.
“I think I can say that the Xbox 360 business has been in a good condition since last summer. On the other hand, when we talk about whether Kinect contributed to significantly expanding the number of Xbox users, as I have previously shown you the data on the graph, the number of Wii users has grown to about 10 million, but the growth in the number of Microsoft users is much smaller.
“However, hit titles are not being released continually every month for Kinect software, so we don’t believe Wii sales are being seriously affected.”
Iwata also says that Nintendo-type games aren’t reaching all gaming demographics. However, he insists that a fix is on the way and that he hopes to show it in just four weeks at E3.
Nintendo working to create “attractive market” to third parties
Third-party support hasn’t been one of Wii’s strongest points since it launched with a couple of exceptions, but Iwata stated that it’s looking to make a market that is “attractive” to potential third-party developers and publishers.
“There actually are some arguments which attribute the reason to the system’s ‘performance,’ but in terms of “performance,” Nintendo DS did not overwhelm other devices by its performance,” he said.
“However, it proposed what other devices could not, and that value was recognized, and as a result the software sold well, which is the most important point. Unfortunately, there are very few success stories of third-party software in Japan on Wii. This lowered the motivation of the software developers, and at a time when these software developers should have been running their businesses on the platform with the biggest installed base, this wasn’t the reality. On the contrary, in the U.S., several titles sold well.
“Not only “Just Dance,” which I introduced today, but for some titles, such as “Guitar Hero,” even if the titles were released for multiple platforms, the Wii version sold the most, and in such a situation, the developers did not completely lose motivation for development on Wii.”
He continued: “I would not use the term “draw in” third parties, but I hope we can create a market that is attractive to third parties. The end result might turn out to be the situation you call “drawing them in,” but I do not use such words as “draw in” or “enclosure,” as I do not like such expressions.”