Tatsumi Kimishima says launching the NX next year is the “Proper” thing to do
After every Nintendo investors briefing there’s an investor Q&A. Sometimes these bring silly questions from clueless investors – other times we get some good news that Nintendo didn’t officially talk about before.
This is one of those times, although the English translation hasn’t gone live yet Twitter friend Cheesemeister3k has translated some of the big points from the Q&A.
The biggest question was surrounding the March 2017 release date of the NX. The question was around why Nintendo would release after the holiday season. The biggest time of the year. Here’s what Nintendo president, Tatsumi Kimishima said;
Q: You indicated that building up software is the reason why NX will be released in March 2017, and I know development takes time, but I don’t think there’s any reason in missing the year-end sales season. When the GameCube was launched in September, I recall that President Yamauchi said that, “It is absolutely imperative that we do not miss the year-end sales season,” and after the 3DS launched in February and NX will miss the year-end, making an impression that Nintendo’s conventional thinking has changed. Why is NX launching in March?
A: There is no change to our thinking about launch timing. When launching hardware, “How much software can customers play?” is important. Launch timing must be based on that. Customers having more money to spend during the holiday season is one big factor in starting then. But our integrated hardware/software business doesn’t end that year, but is something that can continue to be played for several years so we think that “releasing something proper” is the most important thing. By that, we don’t think “holiday season timing is a must” but rather that we should launch when we can provide something proper. That point has not changed.
Next about the 3DS in 2016, it’ll be a focus for Nintendo considering they’re not going to ship many Wii U’s
Q: It seems the great reduction in the Wii U hardware sales forecast is influenced by the timing of the NX release, but how about 3DS?
A: This fiscal year, the 3DS has big titles as previously presented, and in sufficient quantity. Both hardware and software will make large contributions to sales. Also, while Wii U sales are forecast to drop to 800,000 units, the upside is that we can focus on the 3DS.
Unlike the Wii U, the NX should be profitable out of the gate Kimishima believes;
Q: While NX details are not being announced today, I want to know about its effect on results for this fiscal year. Previous launches have not had enough titles and were therefore slow to start. Can you promise to have a proper lineup at launch? The Wii U was a net negative, so also in consideration to cost, please tell me how the first year of the NX will contribute to results.
A: As the concept and other details of NX will be announced another time, I will just answer the points of your question. As you said the software lineup will be built-up. Having a full software lineup when the hardware launches is one reason for the NX launch timing. Also, we must be in a state to release titles not just at launch, but continually afterwards. We are planning for it to be a platform that will be played for a long time. Next, about cost, we aren’t thinking of the hardware being unprofitable. When the Wii U launched the exchange rate was that of a very strong yen, and so that we don’t have that kind of a situation again, launching as a loss-leader won’t be what makes up our business, so that’s how we’re progressing with NX development.
These do sound like things we have heard from Nintendo before, especially about the launch titles and having something ‘proper’ on release.
Kimishima also says that despite dropping the prediction on the number of Wii U units they’re going to sell to 800,000 that downloadable games, smart phone titles and eventually the NX Will cover it. This assumes the NX still launches next March and within their financial year.
Is Nintendo taking a risk in moving the NX away from the holidays or does it not matter anymore? Will they meet their March release date or be caught short this financial year? Let us know what you think.