Many realize that Nintendo has been slow to embrace online gaming. It wasn’t until Mario Kart DS with Nintendo Wi-Fi connectivity that the Big N experimented with online multiplayer, and even then things were somewhat limited. Nintendo has offered increasing functionality since then, although you can still say it’s behind the competition.
During an episode of the program GeekWire Podcast promote it new book, former Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime was asked if he had any regrets/lessons learned when it came to the company not pursuing the online multiplayer game more aggressively. One interesting observation is that this was apparently “an area in which the Americas and Europe have been constantly trying to educate the company in Japan about the value of online gaming, and the investment in online infrastructure that needs to be done in order for the experience to be a positive one.”
Here are Reggie’s full comments:
“So I’m going to answer the question from two distinct points. First, Nintendo’s business philosophy has always been to do things differently, innovating in ways that played a role in the company’s strength versus playing on the strength of others. So for example, when it comes to multiplayer, Nintendo really excelled.” in what we internally call “couch playing” – sitting next to someone playing Mario Kart, sitting next to someone playing a variety of different games like Wii Sports.Personal multiplayer has really been where the company stood out, and that’s where they focused a tremendous amount of the focus.
In order to play an online multiplayer game, the company really needed to think about the new type of game, and what different types of experiences we would need to create in order to excel now in this form of gameplay. And frankly, the company took a while to think about that, to come up with something they thought would be fundamentally different and add value in a new way. I would argue that the company’s primary success began with taking on Smash Bros. A major franchise for them – taking that online, which was exceptionally good. This, not a first-person shooter – sort of between a first and third person experience – with a franchise called Splatoon, which has done incredibly well in the market. That’s the first part of the answer – the company is always thinking about how it can enter these markets uniquely and differently, and leverage their strength.
The second thing I would like to highlight is – this is where some of the cultural differences come into play. Culturally, the company didn’t see much opportunity in the internet. It was an area where America and Europe were constantly trying to educate the company in Japan about the value of online gaming, and the investment in online infrastructure that needed to be done so that the experience was positive. You’re absolutely right in the fact that out of the three major hardware competitors in the video game space, this is where Microsoft has invested heavily, becoming their competitive advantage – and I’d still argue today regarding their connected gameplay. It has been an ongoing push area by the western parts of the company to encourage development and investment in infrastructure, and I’m sure the talk continues today.”
Reggie has a lot to say lately. For the past two weeks, talk about it Why does he think Nintendo hasn’t come out with a new F-Zerohow is he It was originally thought that Metroid: Other M would be a “deadly moment” for the seriesfor him He hates Donka Kongaand the fact that Mother 3’s content is not the reason why the game can’t be translated.