May 22nd, 2006, 19:32 Posted By: wraggster
Article from Spong
Newsweek, America’s second largest circulation weekly magazine in the U.S. is running a story this week suggesting that Nintendo’s recently unveiled Wii “could cap off a remarkable comeback.”
This follows laudatory pre-E3 reports in Time magazine, America’s first largest circulation weekly magazine, earlier this month – which you can read about on SPOnG right here.
Nintendo’s PR machine, so it would seem, is quietly seeding the story of Wii right where it needs to be – bang in the centre (center? – Ed) of the US mainstream. Aside from Miyamoto appearing on Larry King to demonstrate the device, it’s hard to see what else it can do to spread the word (and SPOnG would not be at all surprised if this is part of the company's ‘Q4: Wii US PR strategy’!)
Newsweek’s N'Gai Croal offers a quick round up of E3 to non-gaming readers, and introduces Nintendo who is, in his opinion: “placing a double-or-nothing bet on the Wii, which closely resembles a television remote. The hope is that its more appealing, intuitive, gesture-based interface…will lure a wider audience of women, parents and the elderly.”
Croal goes on to offer some context, outlining how Nintendo's share of the U.S. game market, “plunged from a high of 90 percent during the '80s to less than 14 percent today; it's fared only slightly better in Japan and worse in Europe.”
Now, however, he goes on to say, “thanks to new management, a new strategy and a timely assist from its long-profitable handheld-gaming division, Nintendo is finally poised to regain some of its lost market share in the home-console business.”
Satoru Iwata is introduced as ‘the difference maker’ who, “started a task force inside the company to figure out why nongamers didn't play games, and how to attract them to the pastime. Beginning with the successor to Nintendo's popular Game Boy Advance handheld, Iwata and his team determined that they could draw a new audience only by radically changing the machine's interface. The result was the Nintendo DS.”
The DS succeeded, as SPOnG knows, due largely to what Newsweek refer to as the “genius of the company's master game producer, Shigeru Miyamoto.” Newsweek gives the now often used examples of Nintendogs and the Brain Training games to back up this argument.
The Wii is introduced in the piece as “the second part of Iwata and Miyamoto's expand-the-audience strategy” and as “instantly appealing… in a manner reminiscent of Apple's retro-futuristic iPod.”
Miyamoto admits to Newsweek that the first set of Wii games are essentially little more than new ways of controlling the same old games, but also stresses that that won't be the case forever. "Two years from now, we'll have a strong lineup that can only be played using this interface," he says.
Newsweek then goes on to interview a number of leading third party publishers to ascertain their opinions on the Wii, including EA’s John Schappert, supervisor of two large studios in charge of Wii development, who tells the publication: "We looked at the success Nintendo had on the DS by starting with a clean slate, and that's the approach we're taking on Wii."
Laurent Detoc, head of U.S. operations for Ubisoft, (who "spent a hell of a lot of time playing Goldeneye") had apparently long wanted to establish closer ties with Nintendo, so jumped at the chance, when Nintendo approached the team to make a first person shooter for Wii.
"I would use the dominance of the DS in Japan to predict the future for Wii, since the vision for Wii is similar," Michihiro Ishizuka, president of the Konami’s game division, told Newsweek.
"Not only will fan boys buy it [Wii], but it will also be the second console of choice for PS3 or Xbox 360 owners,” added analyst Michael Pachter of the U.S. research firm Wedbush Morgan.
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