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3DSWiiU

Iwata Explains Wii U Game Delays

by Andrew Brown - May 1, 2013, 7:42 am PDT
Total comments: 19 Source: http://www.nintendo.co.jp/ir/en/library/events/130..., (Nintendo Financial Results Briefing)

Nintendo's Global President (and new NoA CEO) sheds some light on the Wii U's slow release progress.

The extended delay of Wii U games, according to Nintendo President Satoru Iwata, is due to the development teams being spread thin between projects in order to accommodate the launch lineup.

Those understaffed teams were forced to work slower on titles, such as Pikmin 3, but Iwata reassured the investors present at the recent Q&A that the extra development time was being spent fine-tuning the games so as to provide the maximum amount of consumer satisfaction.

"We originally planned to release a few first-party titles for Wii U during the first half of this year, but no big titles are scheduled for release before Pikmin 3 in July because we decided to take time to add the final touches to ensure that consumers fully feel that they are valuable titles," Iwata explained. "The brand of a franchise would be completely degraded without customer satisfaction. This is why we delayed the release schedule of such games."

The sentiment has a long standing importance to Nintendo's core business ethic, as Shigeru Miyamoto has been quoted in the past to say "A delayed game is eventually good, a rushed game is forever bad."

Iwata went on to relate the logic to recent release successes that underwent some form of a delay to match Nintendo's high quality aspirations. "We have recently reaffirmed the fact that a delicately crafted game will never fail to appeal to consumers. A good example is Animal Crossing: New Leaf we released at the end of last year. Tomodachi Collection has also made a good start in its first week," Iwata said. "The reason why Fire Emblem Awakening and Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon have been well received by consumers in the U.S. and European markets is that they still respect the value of games that have been carefully developed to take advantage of dedicated gaming machines."

Some of the Wii U games that have missed their initial release windows are Wii Fit U, The Wonderful 101, and the aforementioned Pikmin 3. Wii Fit U and The Wonderful 101 are scheduled for summer releases, while Pikmin 3 is coming out in July in Japan, August in North America, and the summer in Europe.

Talkback

azekeMay 01, 2013

Cue broodwars and Ian Sane... 3... 2... 1...

On the actual topic -- come on Iwata. This is bad form. Hopefully these random employee kidnappings were worth it and will result in some kickass games.

jglonekMay 01, 2013

This excuse makes no sense to me. There were two first-party launch games right? Nintendo Land and NSMB U? If they have that few developers that helping with two titles caused delays on the rest we are all in trouble

broodwarsMay 01, 2013

Mega+Facepalm+Gif.+For+your+reaction+fol

Seriously, it's **** like this that makes people say that Iwata needs to go. You don't launch a console with almost no must-have software, and then under-staff your that console's projects in favor of ones for an existing handheld.  You ESPECIALLY don't do that when you have a well-deserved reputation for incredibly poor 3rd party support to fill in your software holes.  Nintendo's leaders chose to squander their one-year head-start on the next-gen consoles, and now the Wii U is probably beyond saving barring a total barrage of Megaton announcements at E3 the likes of which we've never seen on a Nintendo platform.

There's just total incompetence as far as the eye can see with this company's handling of the Wii U...

the asylumMay 01, 2013

I have a better idea: forget about Wii U Fit altogether. BAM! Instant resource relief that can be used on something worthwhile.

TJ SpykeMay 01, 2013

brood, Nintendo actually made sure the Wii U had a FANTASTIC launch. The problem is the dry software lineup after that (16 games since launch: 8 in December, 0 in January, 1 in February, 6 in March, 1 in April).

Fatty The HuttMay 01, 2013

Quote from: azeke

Cue broodwars and Ian Sane... 3... 2... 1...

On the actual topic -- come on Iwata. This is bad form. Hopefully these random employee kidnappings were worth it and will result in some kickass games.

+1 for accuracy of prediction

Ian SaneMay 01, 2013

Well if they didn't take people off other projects for the launch games I guess we would have got Pikmin 3 earlier but NSMB U and Nintendoland could have missed launch completely.  The launch is a tight deadline and they couldn't launch with nothing.  It doesn't say anything about moving people to 3DS projects, though I could see them having done that.  Iwata just mentions them moving them to the Wii U launch games.

I figure Nintendo's inexperience with HD games caused them to underestimate the amount of time and staff they needed.  Pretty much every Japanese developer got caught off guard by that last gen, just Nintendo is learning this the hard way six years after everyone else.  If Nintendo is going to do this routine where they intentionally stay behind a gen they can't learn as they go or they'll be years behind.  They have to get up to speed by observing the rest of the industry.  They did this same nonsense with online gaming and we had to watch them go through growing pains while Sony and MS already had this stuff figured out.  So on the Wii U we had to deal with delays but on the other consoles we don't?  How do you justify that to your customers?  "Uh, sorry, we're behind the times" isn't a valid excuse.

At what point will Nintendo be up to speed on this?  Is it realistic to assume that once the Wii U releases pick up that things will be more steady or are droughts like this going to be the routine?  Unless Nintendo has increased staff they can't possibly increase the releases.

AdrockMay 01, 2013

Nintendo has increased their stable of talent and developed good relationships with independent studios like Platinum Games, Next Level Games, and Monster Games in the past few years. The problem is that Nintendo is still struggling to fill their release schedule. I'd like to see Nintendo be a bit more proactive in rectifying this issue; that way they don't have to "borrow" talent from other teams to finish projects. A company as large as Nintendo shouldn't have this much trouble completing games.

pokepal148Spencer Johnson, Contributing WriterMay 01, 2013

Quote from: Ian

If Nintendo is going to do this routine where they intentionally stay behind a gen they can't learn as they go or they'll be years behind.  They have to get up to speed by observing the rest of the industry.  They did this same nonsense with online gaming and we had to watch them go through growing pains while Sony and MS already had this stuff figured out.  So on the Wii U we had to deal with delays but on the other consoles we don't?  How do you justify that to your customers?  "Uh, sorry, we're behind the times" isn't a valid excuse.

At what point will Nintendo be up to speed on this?

Until the PS4 and 720 launch and are deconstructed we have no idea if they are still behind, i would appreciate if you stopped pulling that crap.

Ian SaneMay 01, 2013

Quote from: pokepal148

Quote from: Ian

If Nintendo is going to do this routine where they intentionally stay behind a gen they can't learn as they go or they'll be years behind.  They have to get up to speed by observing the rest of the industry.  They did this same nonsense with online gaming and we had to watch them go through growing pains while Sony and MS already had this stuff figured out.  So on the Wii U we had to deal with delays but on the other consoles we don't?  How do you justify that to your customers?  "Uh, sorry, we're behind the times" isn't a valid excuse.

At what point will Nintendo be up to speed on this?

Until the PS4 and 720 launch and are deconstructed we have no idea if they are still behind, i would appreciate if you stopped pulling that crap.

Not being able to create HD games at a decent timeframe because you are inexperienced with the process while every other videogame developer in the world has six more years of experience then you does mean you are behind the times.

PlugabugzMay 01, 2013

The problem is not the 16 games at launch but what happened 3 years prior when we was in the peak of the Wii's lifecycle.

Nintendo put out so much content in year 3 of that lifecycle we are, realistically, one year away until things start to upswing.

Other publishers will delay things if necessary to avoid overloading the release schedule, but Nintendo will only do it for polish reasons. That makes their development cycles largely fixed (Zelda excluded) and too close together. Hence the droughts running across N64, Gamecube, Wii and now Wii U.

Pixelated PixiesMay 01, 2013

This is of course a very obvious statement, but Nintendo's big blunder with the Wii U was in not creating a platform that third party's felt comfortable supporting. The other console manufacturers don't need to rely on their internal studios to put out big games each and every quarter. They make a handful of games each year but by and large they leave it to other developers to populate their system with games. Wii U owners probably wouldn't have minded about delays for Pikmin 3, Rayman Legends and Wonderful 101 if they had Devil May Cry, Metal Gear Rising and Bioshock Infinite in the interim.

Ian SaneMay 01, 2013

What is odd is that the Wii U's launch didn't come out of nowhere.  Clearly we all knew that the Wii, just entirely because it didn't support HD resolutions during a time that HDTVs became the standard, needed to be replaced around the time it did.  Sony and MS had these hardware beasts that could probably have lasted a bit longer but it was obvious the Wii was not futureproofed enough to last ten years or anything like that.  Nintendo should have had a vague idea of the Wii U's release date years ahead of time, but still needed to move people off other projects to reach it.  They had years to plan this out.

The other odd thing is that it isn't like Nintendo was really productive and are now in a drought.  The Wii's release schedule was incredibly barren for the last two years of its existence and then they followed that up with the Wii U having the same thing.  On the console front we're realistically on a drought that is two and half years old and counting.  Console releases by Nintendo have been infrequent occurances for quite a while now.  So what has Nintendo been working on (handhelds games I suppose)?  What were the last two years of the Wii building up to?  What was taking up all of Nintendo's resources before the Wii U launch that required them to shift staff around and delay later projects?  If we got a big splash of Wii games and then a drought on the Wii U, I would get it, but that isn't the case.

The fact that this company is so inept at attracting third party support just makes it worse.  They seem to have to take on the burden of carrying a console by themselves, and then they release like two games a year.  Either the Wii U needs good third party support or it needs games from Nintendo to fill the gap, and it has neither and the last two years of the Wii had neither as well.  Is this anything new?  Hasn't Nintendo had crap third party support since 1996?  Haven't they always had to support both a console and a handheld?  So why in the last few years are they suddenly caught off guard by this?

The best explanation I can think of is the Wii and DS were so exceptionally successful that Nintendo felt no reason to change.  The DS launched with a port of Super Mario 64 as its only first party title.  It took like a year before that system was anything worth a damn.  You would figure the response to this would be "Oh shit, we really had nothing for the DS for a while there.  We need to increase our game development so that we don't launch a system with such a pitful lineup ever again."  But instead of observing that they dodged a bullet they seemed to just notice that the DS printed money so everything they did there must be the right move.  Even if they have screwed the Wii U to save the 3DS, it's the same situation.  Nintendo didn't have much available but didn't seem to think this mattered and the best rationale I can think of is that the Wii and DS were hugely successful so they must have done everything perfectly and there is no need to improve anything.  Both the 3DS and Wii U have been launched with an assumption that everyone will buy them entirely because they're the next DS and Wii.

Any point I would have made in regards to this news has already been raised, so I'll just add that I really don't know what the hell is going on with Nintendo and Wii U right now. I really don't.  Nintendo has always been a well-oiled software production machine, so to hear them admit that they've been caught flat-footed by HD development - especially when the rest of the industry has been doing it for a decade - is completely shocking.


EDIT: Couple of thoughts. With Pikmin 3 being in development for as long as it has, the project was still unpolished and behind schedule? Wow. Also, it's quite telling that the list of "delicately-crafted games" that Iwata mentions are all 3DS games.

Pixelated PixiesMay 01, 2013

Quote from: NWR_Lindy

Any point I would have made in regards to this news has already been raised, so I'll just add that I really don't know what the hell is going on with Nintendo and Wii U right now. I really don't.  Nintendo has always been a well-oiled software production machine, so to hear them admit that they've been caught flat-footed by HD development - especially when the rest of the industry has been doing it for a decade - is completely shocking.


Is it really that shocking? The most damning criticism of that Emily Rogers article a few weeks back was that Nintendo have got caught out by this same issue each time it has released new hardware. In the run up to launch, Iwata makes comments about how Nintendo have learnt from the mistakes of the previous system and he resolves to make sure there are no gaps in the software line up; yet each time that's exactly what we see, huge crater sized gaps.

I would agree that Nintendo, compared to some developers and publishers, put out a prodigious amount of games, but they also have a history of delaying games. I wouldn't go so far as to say that they're a well-oiled machine. Fastidious and talented? Yes. Quick? No.

I also don't really buy that Nintendo has been caught flat footed by HD development. I think what we're seeing on the Wii U is the product of Nintendo being Nintendo. I'm a little frustrated and more than a little disappointed that Nintendo keep doing this to themselves, but I can't say any of this surprises me.

What I'm surprised by is the fact that they would understaff teams making HD games (can you really even call them "HD games" any more, since ALL console games are HD now?), when they're the ones that have been complaining the loudest about the high cost of HD development for years now.


What I'm getting at is that you would assume that, because they've been complaining about that cost, that they would know exactly what that cost is, and how many people along what type of timeline it takes to get there. You would think...

Pixelated PixiesMay 02, 2013

Quote from: NWR_Lindy

What I'm getting at is that you would assume that, because they've been complaining about that cost, that they would know exactly what that cost is, and how many people along what type of timeline it takes to get there. You would think...


I get what you're saying. You are saying that because Nintendo had sidestepped HD in the previous generation for reasons of cost, that when they finally did adopt HD you would think they would have assigned sufficient resources before doing so.

My point, however, is that I don't accept that the costs of HD development had any real bearing on these delays. As I said before, this is Nintendo being Nintendo. What Iwata kept hitting home during that Investors Q&A was that these games were delayed to ensure quality. Unless I'm missing something, he wasn't admitting that the company had been caught flat-footed by HD development. If we were to avoid inferring hidden meaning in his words, all Iwata really said was that they delayed the games to make them better. That's something that we have seen Nintendo do time and time again. Which for me makes this news decidedly unsurprising.

Ian SaneMay 03, 2013

Quote from: NWR_Lindy

What I'm surprised by is the fact that they would understaff teams making HD games (can you really even call them "HD games" any more, since ALL console games are HD now?), when they're the ones that have been complaining the loudest about the high cost of HD development for years now.


What I'm getting at is that you would assume that, because they've been complaining about that cost, that they would know exactly what that cost is, and how many people along what type of timeline it takes to get there. You would think...

Maybe Nintendo never really believed in what they were saying about the costs and it was just their canned excuse for staying a generation behind.  Or maybe Nintendo now believes that the costs are down but don't realize that part of that is that the savings come from devs having more experience with such games and can thus make them more efficiently.  Those devs also have engines they can reuse and with sequels they can even reuse art assets.  Nintendo's lack of experience means that they are no different than a company starting their first PS3 game back in 2006.  They don't have resources to reuse or previous experience to cut down development time.  So even if the average cost of game development industrywide went down over the last six years (and I don't think it has), it could be entirely due to experience so Nintendo would not benefit from that.

Or maybe Nintendo is just determined to release games within the costs that they deem acceptable and have discovered they can't do it.  Like they think that other games ballooned in costs because of incompetence and that Nintendo is just so much better that they'll get things done right... but then they couldn't.

Mop it upMay 03, 2013

Sometimes it feels like Nintendo is too small a company to handle how large the gaming industry has grown, like it's been progressing too quickly more recently for them to keep up with.

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