During their Pre-E3 event, Global President Satoru Iwata revealed new information about the company’s newest console, the Wii U.
Streaming live from Nintendo’s Tokyo Headquarters, Iwata began the presentation by acknowledging that the conference room in which the presentation was taking place was vastly unfurnished, though pointed to a framed picture of Japanese characters that read “Create Something Unique” claiming it has been the slogan that the company has used as its guidance since its founding.
Iwata believes that during Nintendo’s E3 conference many viewers will find their announcements to be “certainly unique” but in a “good way.” The conference was mostly to further explain the Wii U, most likely due the confusion regarding the console from last E3 and wanting to clear up any questions before their press conference.
Iwata also went on to talk about the book “Alone Together” by Sherry Turkle, saying that new technologies have made life easier and more efficient, but suggests it is changing the nature of human relationships. One of the challenges Nintendo has set for itself was to make something that would unite people rather than divide them, whether in the same room or distances apart.
As the game industry advances, and graphics and gameplay become more engrossing, the community aspect has metamorphosised into something else.
Years ago, people still would play games with friends, but not over the internet as seen in a game like Diablo III, or over a live service like a Call a Duty game. Players would have to go to the other’s house and pick up a second controller to play. Before the rise of the internet, players would have to buy books of “cheat codes” or have word-of-mouth methods of finishing a Dungeon in a Zelda game, or Meteoroid title. Gamer’s traded Pokemon through an oversized link-cable, which would connect two Game Boys to trade a Charmader for a Bulbasaur.
These experiences don’t exist anymore – modern gaming has WiiFi and GameFaqs and Wikis providing answers and connectivity between players. Though with this connectivity comes solidarity, and is an interesting aspect of gaming for Nintendo to try to tackle.
Iwata showed a stock photo of a family sitting together, starting at various devices commenting that, “This scene may look familiar, as a group of friends or family sit together but are not truly connected.”
The existentialism of Nintendo’s creative strategy is similar to the one they used when first marketing the Wii. If recalled, the American commercials for the console during its launch stared Nintendo Execs going to family’s houses saying, “We would like to play,” before engaging in a round of Wii Sports. Unlike it’s competitors who often try to sell consoles on graphics, performance or gameplay, Nintendo has been selling to the family unit. Not only that, they are trying to sell the innovation of the headlining feature of the Wii U, its controller.
Now officially called, the Wii U Gamepad, clearly company is hoping to converge the platform of touch-screen mobile gaming to the home console. Again, it’s risky, though if the Wii and 3DS have shown anything it’s that Nintendo takes risk and turns it into rewarding hardware.
Through integrating the family unit as well as various new technologies, it’s apparent that Nintendo is a company that sees the industry through a different lens. Though obviously still trying to be profitable, they really are a company that works to innovates their hardware in more ways than just spec updates and graphics tweaks. Whether this will be a good direction can only be fully concluded after the company unveils new games during their E3 Press Conference on Tuesday.