Iwata: “I certainly do not think that Wii was able to cater to every gamer’s needs”

By Stephany Nunneley
30 August 2011 18:23 GMT

Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata has said he feels Wii was miscategorized by the media as a casual gaming console compared to PS3 and Xbox 360, and while he disagrees with the label, he admitted the console did not “cater” to every gamer’s needs.

Speaking in a special edition of Iwata Asks with Shigeru Miyamoto, Iwata said the firm hopes to change the public’s casual perception of the firm with the release of Wii U.

“Shortly after the Wii console was released, people in the gaming media and game enthusiasts started recognising the Wii console as a casual machine aimed toward families, and placed game consoles by Microsoft and Sony in a very similar light with each other, saying these are machines aimed towards those who passionately play games,” he said. “It was a categorization between games that were aimed towards core, and casual. I’ve been having a sense of disagreement as I personally think the definition of a core gamer is much wider, namely, someone who has a much wider range of interests, someone who enthusiastically plays many types of games that challenge different creative directions.

“On the other hand, I certainly do not think that Wii was able to cater to every gamer’s needs, so that’s also something I wanted to resolve. The keyword for our presentation at this year’s E3 is “Deeper and Wider”. With Wii U, I would like to offer this proposal with that concept.

“Of course, with the Wii console I’m sure everyone would agree that we tried really hard to go wider, but even though we worked aggressively to go deeper in certain areas, the general public’s impression that Nintendo was casual grew as time went by. ”

Miyamoto, in response, said he feels it is just “easier” for the media to categorize games into the casual and core genres, but the firm is always “working on a very core level of detail,” and because of this the firm doesn’t take the casual accounts seriously.

“One of the key reasons that such things as the core and the casual exist today is that we decided not to adopt HD on the Wii console,” said Miyamoto. “Of course, besides that there are things like issues with the controller and the challenges that it brings, network functionalities and many other things, but I think HD was the biggest factor that everyone was able to clearly understand the difference.

“In terms of the HD capabilities, Wii U can do something similar, and on top of that, it is equipped with this new controller that adds an entirely new structure to games. I think this is an opportunity for those games that were considered to be core up to now, to evolve into something even more interesting, structurally. In that sense, I do wish all kinds of games would be released, regardless of the debate over core or casual.”

Despite Iwata and Miyamoto feeling the “core vs. casual debate” will probably never see a resolution, Iwata feels Wii U may change all of that.

“I even feel that the barrier that separated the two genres was only something psychological, just an impression that people had about them,” he said. “For example, The Legend of Zelda games were something geared towards the toughest audience, and it has been so from the beginning. So it’s not like at Nintendo we don’t have it in us. But there are quite a number of people who assume that Nintendo is the equivalent of being casual.

“If we are able to break those psychological barriers with Wii U, I feel like we will be able to take our goal of expanding the gaming population even further. It would even be possible to expand our customer base and bring in more people, and out of those new people, there will be those who will find certain controls or elements of deeper gameplay intriguing, and eventually will become passionate game fans. That was the way the history of video games has been, and I want to keep the tradition going so it doesn’t fade away. That, I think is the true meaning of “a game for everyone”. A game for everyone isn’t just wide, but also very deep.

“That’s how it will become everyone’s game.”

Wii U is slated for release sometime next year.

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