"Customers do not want online games" - Iwata

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Jun 7, 2004
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gamesindustry.biz

Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has given an extensive talk on the state of the industry to the Japan Economic Foundation - including evidence from sales figures which he claims prove that online gaming is not yet an important factor.

Iwata presented sales figures for a PS2 online golf title which failed to match the sales of its offline predecessor (Sony's own Minna no Golf / Everybody's Golf titles, released in the west as Hot Shots Golf) as "proof that customers do not want online games."

According to highlights of his presentation which have been posted online, Iwata told the foundation that "most customers do not wish to pay the extra money for connection to the Internet, and for some customers, connection procedures to the Internet are still not easy."

Alone out of the three major platform holders in the current generation of hardware, Nintendo has been reluctant to commit to online gaming; the company launched a modem and broadband adapter for the console in order to support online titles from other companies, but has not developed any such titles of its own.

With both Sony and Microsoft's future console plans featuring online as a core component, it's still not clear how Nintendo will incorporate connectivity into its next-generation "Revolution" console - if at all.

However, the company has been much more positive about the potential of wireless connectivity for its handheld devices, launching a successful wireless adapter for the Game Boy Advance and integrating both Bluetooth and 802.11b Wireless LAN technologies into the forthcoming Nintendo DS handheld.

Elsewhere in his address to the foundation, Iwata also covered the perception of Nintendo as a company which targets its products largely at the kids market. "Game software should neither be exclusively be targeted at children nor adults," he said. "Instead, we will develop software which anyone can instantly understand."

However, he did acknowledge the growing trend within the industry for creating mature games, adding simply that "at the same time, production of software readily acceptable to adults is worth studying."

Speaking about Nintendo's relationships with third-party companies, Iwata hinted that more development deals with Western developers could be in the pipeline. "We intend to expand tie-ups not only with Japanese companies but also with foreign companies," he said. "We are now holding negotiations with major Western game developers and will be able to conclude a deal by the end of the year if things go smoothly."

He also touched briefly on the subject of Nintendo's ongoing relationship with Bandai - and this time strayed from his usual script on the subject by not directly denying the possibility of a takeover or merger, saying only that "a closer relationship would be beneficial for both sides and it will be nice if the two companies can work together in doing something interesting."

 
Jun 7, 2004
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Blackace said:
Customers = Japanese

how short sighted for such a big company...
Even in Japan FFXI sold well for what you had to pay to play it, and Monster Rancher is selling well too. But let them continue to ignore it, you've got companies now dropping GC versions of games altogether because of Nintendo's stance on online gaming (Burnout 3).
 

Slo

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#6
Yep, a sequel not selling as well as it's predessor is definitve proof that no one wants online gaming!

:barf
 
Jun 6, 2004
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SolidSnakex said:
Even in Japan FFXI sold well for what you had to pay to play it, and Monster Rancher is selling well too. But let them continue to ignore it, you've got companies now dropping GC versions of games altogether because of Nintendo's stance on online gaming (Burnout 3).
No. There isn't company dropping GC versions because of Online gaming. They are dropping support because it doesn't sell well enough. That's it.
 
Jun 7, 2004
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Littleberu said:
No. There isn't company dropping GC versions because of Online gaming. They are dropping support because it doesn't sell well enough. That's it.
You could say in turn it's not selling well because it dosen't have a strong online support though.
 
Jun 6, 2004
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#10
I'm still failing to see where he's wrong, though.

I mean, you can argue all day about what you think about online gaming, but in the end Iwata's comments continue to be strengthened by the fact that broadband adapters on the PS2 and Xbox Live subscriptions continue to make up only a small fraction of total userbase. If you're positioning your games directly at that userbase, you're going to sell less of them.
 
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Littleberu said:
No. There isn't company dropping GC versions because of Online gaming. They are dropping support because it doesn't sell well enough. That's it.
Well even without that, they're leaving GC only owners out on their own with certain games. Look at Splinter Cell PT. PS2 and Xbox owners got the single player and multiplayer, GC owners get single player and connectivity. For a company that claims they're all about gaming, it's strange that they don't want to get onto something like this.
 

Blackace

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#12
SolidSnakex said:
Even in Japan FFXI sold well for what you had to pay to play it, and Monster Rancher is selling well too. But let them continue to ignore it, you've got companies now dropping GC versions of games altogether because of Nintendo's stance on online gaming (Burnout 3).
Yeah those 2 games have sold well... FF sells well because of name brand... you can't deny that...and Monster Hunter is selling well... however online gaming isn't real big here... unless it is an RPG setting...

Sports might do well here online... but FPS just don't sell and a lot of games with online play are FPS games...
 
Jun 11, 2004
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Personally, I’m with Iwata on this.

Fuck online gaming, and just concentrate on making excellent single-player and co-op titles.

+1 to Nintendo.
 
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Death said:
Personally, I’m with Iwata on this.

Fuck online gaming, and just concentrate on making excellent single-player and co-op titles.

+1 to Nintendo.
No one who played online games would think like that... you loser :p I kid, I kid.
 

Slo

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#15
I used to say the same thing when I was on 56k. Honestly, once you start playing your games online, it's really hard to go back.
 
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#16
Kobun Heat said:
I'm still failing to see where he's wrong, though.

I mean, you can argue all day about what you think about online gaming, but in the end Iwata's comments continue to be strengthened by the fact that broadband adapters on the PS2 and Xbox Live subscriptions continue to make up only a small fraction of total userbase. If you're positioning your games directly at that userbase, you're going to sell less of them.
The small fraction is the loudest, which makes them seem bigger.

How many Xboxs have been sold in the US? At E3 Microsoft said they were quickly approaching 1 million Xbox Live users. That's pretty crummy. When you think about it further, they're probably counting every GamerTag ever as a user, regardless of it being active or not. I'll bet a bunch of them are just 2 month trials that never bought a real subscription. When you look at it that way, the 1 million is even smaller.

I'm not here to bash online gaming. I fucking love it. I've got an Xbox Live account. I buy Xbox Live games. They're lots and lots of fun. But most people aren't going to be interested in onilne gaming. Hardcore gamers yes, lots of them love online. But we're talking about everyday gamers. They don't give a shit. It's nowhere near worth the $50/year for them.

Plus Iwata is talking about Japan more than America, where online gaming definatly isn't working as "well" as it is in the states.
 
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Suerte said:
You could say in turn it's not selling well because it dosen't have a strong online support though.
No. Madden doesn't sell well because it has online support, but because it's Madden. Hell, a game won't sell better than any other game because it has "Multiplayer".

Online doesn't sell games yet.
 

DopeyFish

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Littleberu said:
No. Madden doesn't sell well because it has online support, but because it's Madden. Hell, a game won't sell better than any other game because it has "Multiplayer".

Online doesn't sell games yet.
Actually, it does. A lot of XboxLive games are selling better because of that. I know a bunch of people who bought XboxLive games just for the sake of being able to play online alone, whereas single player wouldn't have even had them interested.
 
Jun 10, 2004
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#20
this is old by the way. Came about maybe 4-5 days ago... and there was another thread discussing this.

I hope Revolution is at least online built-in. If Nintendo is making all those claims; revoltuiton...etc all. They have to have this as a minimum.
 

cja

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#21
WTLW

If you read the full article you'll see that Eurogamer have carefully selected and included the "anti-" online comments but somehow failed to mention the open-minded comment Iwata made in between.

Hardly a surprise from a website that continually harks on about Nintendo Europe's delay of Mario Golf but is utterly silent on Sony Europe treating consumers worse when it comes to the Everybody's Golf series.
 
Jun 11, 2004
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Suerte said:
No one who played online games would think like that... you loser :p I kid, I kid.
It’s just a preference.

If I had to choose between playing 8-player “Capture the Flag” online or playing 3-player Super Smash Brothers co-op, I’d choose the latter.
 
Jun 6, 2004
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#23
Although I disagree with him, from a software perspective -- it sure looks like that is the case in a number of games; primarily on the Xbox. PGR2, Amped 2, RSC2, etc. all were sequels to games that sold very well to relatively well and have seen their sales fall off precipitously over the first title that lacked XBL -- the same with all other MGS titles as well which initially lacked online support.

I think we'll obviously see a difference in Madden with people such as me buying it for online, but overall if you look at the sales of online titles -- most of them dont seem to be benefiting a whole lot from it being included.
 
Jun 7, 2004
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cja said:
WTLW

If you read the full article you'll see that Eurogamer have carefully selected and included the "anti-" online comments but somehow failed to mention the open-minded comment Iwata made in between.

Hardly a surprise from a website that continually harks on about Nintendo Europe's delay of Mario Golf but is utterly silent on Sony Europe treating consumers worse when it comes to the Everybody's Golf series.
What open-minded comment? That they might make some online games in the future followed by comments about how developers are losing interest in online games?
 

teh_pwn

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#25
Umm......right.


I'm getting ready for another day of warcraft III. I've put over 300 hours into this game. Most replayable game ever.
 
Jun 6, 2004
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Meier said:
I think we'll obviously see a difference in Madden with people such as me buying it for online, but overall if you look at the sales of online titles -- most of them dont seem to be benefiting a whole lot from it being included.
Exactly. I don't know why it's different on Xbox Live though, maybe because of the big marketing campaign, but it's really not the case for PS2. And now imagine a console where most gamers don't even know the Internet, and you want them to buy and play online games? Nah...

Umm......right.


I'm getting ready for another day of warcraft III. I've put over 300 hours into this game. Most replayable game ever.
And I know people who've put more than that in SSBM, and it's not online.
 
Jun 6, 2004
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#28
Meier said:
I think we'll obviously see a difference in Madden with people such as me buying it for online, but overall if you look at the sales of online titles -- most of them dont seem to be benefiting a whole lot from it being included.
The only difference we are going to see in Madden is that less PS2 copies are going to be sold in favor of people buying Xbox copies. Overall sales will not be affected at all most likely. Sales also wouldn't be any lower if they got rid of online.
 
Jun 6, 2004
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StrikerObi said:
The only difference we are going to see in Madden is that less PS2 copies are going to be sold in favor of people buying Xbox copies. Overall sales will not be affected at all most likely. Sales also wouldn't be any lower if they got rid of online.
Why would less people buy PS2 version when It has the same content than the Xbox version? We're talking about the mass population, not hardcore gamer on a gaming board.
 

Mock

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Slo said:
I used to say the same thing when I was on 56k. Honestly, once you start playing your games online, it's really hard to go back.
I'll only agree in the context of MMORPGs and games like PSO. Otherwise, outside of Halo 2, there aren't many online games I'm dying to play. Steel Battalion:LOC came close for me, but Capcom screwed that one bigtime.

There isn't enough variety out there in the online realm. PSO III is really the closest thing to an online SRPG I can find. There's no other representation of that on consoles, nor is there any attempts at an RTS, a Dynasty Warriors Online - there needs to be a little more out there besides people shooting each other and scoring touchdowns.

Most of my most anticipated games this year are single player - PoP2, Metroid Prime Echos, Fable, Jade Empire, Sudeki, Star Ocean 3, Devil May Cry 3, MGS3. GTA:SA will likely be huge and its not online.

Also, I think bandwidth and broadband penetration has a long way to go before online gaming is the utopia people are making it out to be right now. Things like voice chat and 16 player games just aren't up to snuff yet. Ambition is nice, but execution is everything.
 
Jun 7, 2004
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Death said:
It’s just a preference.

If I had to choose between playing 8-player “Capture the Flag” online or playing 3-player Super Smash Brothers co-op, I’d choose the latter.
I'd choose both. You don't have to take one or the other with online play, the majority of the time there's an online an offline multiplayer.
 
Jun 6, 2004
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#33
I tried to play online games, and I just wasn't able to. Most of the time it's lacking if you don't have a clan/community to play with.

And then I played Wario Ware 4 players. THAT was fun. Could you recreate the same "fun experience" online? I don't think so. Could you recreate the fun of 4 Swords online, I don't think so.

It's just fun to be with friends, in the same room, playing the same game. IMO.
 

Lyte Edge

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#34
Death said:
Personally, I’m with Iwata on this.

Fuck online gaming, and just concentrate on making excellent single-player and co-op titles.

+1 to Nintendo.
No, that would be a big "-1 to Nintendo" for failing to move on with the rest of the industry, and using lame GBA/GC connectivity gimmicks in place of split screen or online gaming. I don't want to have to have a GBA just to play FF Crystal Chronicles and Zelda in multiplayer...that is the lamest shit I've ever heard of.

What Nintendo needs to be doing is to concentrate on making excellent single-player, multiplayer, and co-op titles, WITH OPTIONAL ONLINE SUPPORT AS WELL.

But you know what? It doesn't matter any more. Nintendo's refusal to move on is going to turn around and bite them in the ass hard if they don't change things. I definitely will be buying a DS, but they're about to feel it from Sony with the PSP, too. Let's see what excuse they make up for that when they're getting spanked by Sony in the handheld market, too. :p
 
Jun 7, 2004
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Yea, it's just an extra, that's well worth it for a lot of poeple.

But I'm betting he wont try to make the same comparison when Halo2 and GT4 online are released.
 
Jun 6, 2004
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Lyte Edge said:
No, that would be a big "-1 to Nintendo" for failing to move on with the rest of the industry, and using lame GBA/GC connectivity gimmicks in place of split screen or online gaming. I don't want to have to have a GBA just to play FF Crystal Chronicles and Zelda in multiplayer...that is the lamest shit I've ever heard of.

What Nintendo needs to be doing is to concentrate on making excellent single-player, multiplayer, and co-op titles, WITH OPTIONAL ONLINE SUPPORT AS WELL.
You don't understand that OPTIONAL ONLINE SUPPORT, is shit. It's shit when it's optional. Look at SSX 3, or most EA games. Their online mode are shit, but hey, they are there!! What's the point if there's no one playing the game anyway?
 
Jun 11, 2004
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#38
Quite honestly, this might be Nintendo’s way of protecting themselves by preventing their fan base from being coerced into switching over to PS2 or XBox. Nintendo has a huge exclusive following, and by adopting online gaming, which is predominately a trademark feature of the other two systems, they risk prematurely and inadvertently catapulting their fans into a complex arena where their competitors are much more familiar with. As long as it doesn’t put at risk potential profit, Nintendo will continue to separate themselves, along with their fans, from the other brands.
 
Jun 10, 2004
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#40
LAME!
WTF is Iwata thinking? Does he have absolutely NO vision? He is making a worldwide console for the future, not a Jpn-only console for right now.

Hey, Iwata, maybe people don't want to be nickel & dimed to death for all the "extras". Why don't you include a goddamn AV cable with the Revolution this time, you retard! ...or maybe you didn't include an AV cable in the NGC box because of some "proof that customers do not want AV cables."

Unless the Revolution is significantly cheaper than PS3 and Xenon, I see failure in N's future. They already tried launching inferior hardware after Sony and MS...
 

cja

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#41
SolidSnakex said:
What open-minded comment? That they might make some online games in the future followed by comments about how developers are losing interest in online games?
Well open-minded is a relative term ;)

The parts of Iwata's comments that are either referenced or quoted are bolded:

Iwata: Not at the moment. SCEI's online golf game didn't sell well, while its off-line golf game sold one million copies. This was also proof that customers do not want online games. Online technology has its own interesting features, so I don't rule out the possibility of making use of it for games. But, at the moment, most customers do not wish to pay the extra money for connection to the Internet, and for some customers, connection procedures to the Internet are still not easy.
 

Lyte Edge

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#42
Littleberu said:
You don't understand that OPTIONAL ONLINE SUPPORT, is shit. It's shit when it's optional. Look at SSX 3, or most EA games. Their online mode are shit, but hey, they are there!! What's the point if there's no one playing the game anyway?
EA would be to blame for shitty online support. :p Nintendo could do it better. Anyway, it's optional, so it doesn't take away from anything.

And what do you mean that the "fun" of Wario Ware and Four Swords couldn't be recreated online? It would be the exact same thing, except everyone would get their own screen to play on or would not have to be using a GBA.
 
Jun 9, 2004
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#43
For me, I'd LOVE to play online games (Mario Tennis, Mario Golf, Smash Bros.) but I see Iwata's point completely. And, I seem to be buying the games I'd love to see online anyways, so it seems like it wouldn't even be a big sales difference for me.
 
Jun 6, 2004
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cja said:
Well open-minded is a relative term ;)

The parts of Iwata's comments that are either referenced or quoted are bolded:

Iwata: Not at the moment. SCEI's online golf game didn't sell well, while its off-line golf game sold one million copies. This was also proof that customers do not want online games. Online technology has its own interesting features, so I don't rule out the possibility of making use of it for games. But, at the moment, most customers do not wish to pay the extra money for connection to the Internet, and for some customers, connection procedures to the Internet are still not easy.
And I agree. Ask a children who likes Pokemon : Would you like another Pokemon game? And then ask him : Would you like another Pokemon game when you'll need to buy the game, and then pay per month to really enjoy it?
 
Jun 7, 2004
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#46
You can't seriously think that Nintendo could just magically include an online mode in any game they wanted, without making any other sacrifices towards other aspects of the game? I'd rather they didn't waste their time with online gaming yet.
 
Jun 6, 2004
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Lyte Edge said:
EA would be to blame for shitty online support. :p Nintendo could do it better. Anyway, it's optional, so it doesn't take away from anything.
Yeah and what's the point then? Why did they include Online play then? They could've made the single player experience a lot better in these games without Online.
 

MetatronM

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LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA NOT LISTENING LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA CANT HEAR YOU LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA
 
Jun 7, 2004
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Littleberu said:
And I agree. Ask a children who likes Pokemon : Would you like another Pokemon game? And then ask him : Would you like another Pokemon game when you'll need to buy the game, and then pay per month to really enjoy it?
Then ask them if they'd like the topion to do both. Play it for free just like any other Pokemon, or have the ability to go online and play with others. I'd wager they'd take the one that gives you the most options. Nintnedo seems to be ignoring this. No not everyone wants to go online, that'll never be the case. But there are alot of people that do, so why not give them that option if they want to?
 

Blackace

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#50
I don't feel that online is going to turn the tables for Nintendo... but by saying this it shows me that he is not thinking about the entire market... only the Japanese market... which is a bad sign for Nintendo stock holders... why say you are not going to do somrething? I mean in the next 5 years the market could change so much... at this rate... when Nintendo goes to software only, they won't be making online games then also!
 
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