Nintendo President Tatsumi Kimishima wants you to know some key details about the gaming company and its products. One: it’s not given up on the Wii U. Two: the successor console codenamed NX will be very different. Three: you’re using amiibo wrong.
On the Wii U, Nintendo’s current home console, Kimishima says the plan is to maintain “business momentum”, despite comparatively low sales for the hardware — just over 10m units worldwide at time of writing.
“I think our first job right now is to make sure that the customers, those 10 million customers who have a Wii U at home have software to play,” Kimishima says. “And we need to make sure that they are satisfied with their purchase and continue to enjoy playing on this platform.”
The Wii U has certainly picked up steam since it hit shelves in 2012. Key releases such as Mario Kart 8 and Super Smash Bros brought the Nintendo faithful back to the machine, while new IP such as Splatoon and Super Mario Maker have shown the company is willing to explore uncharted territory. New exclusives, including Xenoblade Chronicles X have helped raise the Wii U’s profile too. The “momentum” Kimishima speaks of will also include the new Legend of Zelda game, planned for 2016.
Kimishima also dispelled reports he predicted the Wii U’s failure, clarifying “[I said] not that it wouldn’t sell, but that it would be more difficult because of the install base of the Wii itself.” The original Wii was a phenomenal success, shifting more than 100m units globally, in large part to non-traditional gamers. Kimishima’s observations were on point too — those consumers were never likely to buy into the generational aspect of consoles, instead viewing the Wii as simply the machine they played games on, much as a DVD player would be viewed for movies.
On the Wii U’s successor, the secretive Nintendo NX, he called it the “next step in our dedicated device strategy, the core and primary focus of our business.” The response to the Wii U apparently factors heavily in Nintendo’s future plans though, as Kimishima emphasises that NX is “different and obviously a new experience”.
“I can assure you we’re not building the next version of Wii or Wii U. It’s something unique and different. It’s something where we have to move away from those platforms in order to make it something that will appeal to our consumer base.”
Nintendo has repeatedly confirmed it will reveal more information on the NX, chiefly what it actually is, in 2016.
One Nintendo category that is doing extremely well though are its amiibo figures. The figure range, which launched alongside Super Smash Bros but has since expanded to other franchises, has been a huge success. Certain figures are in perpetual short supply, but despite the sell-outs Kimishima says people aren’t actually using them properly.
“What we’re seeing instead is that the amiibo are being picked up more as a collection item at this point, rather than, say, as an interactive item with software,” he says. “And so we haven’t really established them as an enhancement for all of our software at this point.”
The amiibo figures feature NFC chips and interact with select games, much like Skylanders but without a core game to anchor them. Kimishima wants to see more people using them to engage with software, to “tie it back to the game experience, and then we’re creating a stronger connection with general knowledge of our IP and that fun experience they have.”
Essentially: stop hoarding your amiibo, and start using them.
Expect more information on the Nintendo NX early in 2016.