Nintendo's Iwata: "Our approach to targeting children has been inadequate"

Okay, so I wanted to wait for more context, but since we're now getting google translated threads, we'll attempt to have a decent thread on one sentence.

Background:
1.) This quote is translated from Japanese by DualShocker's Japanese translator, but I also checked this article by a Japanese speaking mod. Edit 2: I checked this with two more people.
2.) There is no additional context to this quote in the non-account holding version of the article.
3.) stump tried registering for an account, but he couldn't get an e-mail verification reply in order for us to get more context.

Iwata's comment:
"We haven’t been targeting children enough."
Article Writer:
"We haven't been targeting kids enough"

and

"targeting kids is not enough"

are both correct grammatically. But while the first sentence stands on its own, while the second implies a "only" that isn't there, and isn't even realistic.

While Nintendo has been targeting kids, they haven't been targeting ONLY kids. As a matter of fact, they have been targeting adults more this generation compared to the past one, even more so in Japan.

On the other hand they've lost a lot of ground on the children segment to the smartphone market, which is why they feel that their marketing with children hasn't been enough. Iwata is recognizing that problem and meaning to solve it.

It's worth mentoning that in marketing terms targeting a segment more/more effectively doesn't implies targeting other segment (IE: core gamers/adult) less.

For the sake of full disclosure, I'm the one that wrote the article on DualShockers, and checked the translation with three other Japanese speakers.
I also checked with Shouta:
5:38 PM <Shouta> "Our approach to targeting children has been inadequate" on first glance
And StreetsAhead agreeing with Shouta:
Yes, I would agree with this translation (living in Japan/working as a translator).
And Zefah:
This is seriously getting ridiculous. You have it right.

I'm a J<->E translator by trade. I've done tons of translations here on GAF. I don't know what to tell you, but anyone who is trying to interpret it otherwise has an insufficient knowledge of Japanese to be doing any sort of translation work.
Had it right in the meaning that "we did not do enough to attract children" and not "our strategy of appealing to children was not enough."
Source: http://www.dualshockers.com/2014/01/29/nintendo-we-havent-been-targeting-children-enough/
Original Source: http://www.asahi.com/articles/ASG1Y41JNG1YPLFA004.html?ref=rss

Full Article via Tenki:

Tenki said:
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So to help lead us off, here's a starting question. Obviously you can talk about other things instead, but please try and not just drive by with a one liner unless you want potentially want your post deleted or (if you're trolling/being hostile/etc) a ban.

Question: Do you agree with Iwata that Nintendo could do more for the children's market?
-If yes, share an idea of what they could do.
-If no, explain why and/or what you think is a significantly bigger problem instead (and explain why that is a bigger problem).
 

SolarPowered

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Feb 17, 2009
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oh man

I didn't think he meant they weren't trying hard enough. This doubling down will not end well. We all know they've got a problem appealing to anyone as it is right now and their home console business needs more than just kids and families. The first year of Wii U has practically been family and kid exclusive outside of Pikmin 3 (which is still pretty kid friendly).
 

Morfeo

The Chuck Norris of Peace
Jan 21, 2013
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This is a translation error. It says "targetting children is not enough".

Edit: Not that I understand japanese, but that is what twitter tells me.
 

Slamtastic

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I was unaware Nintendo had ever done anything but target children (which was fine by me, when I was a child).

I'm not sure what they could do more. They already made multiple Marios, they have a Smash Brothers coming up. Pokemon sold well.
 

Stumpokapow

listen to the mad man
May 21, 2006
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Japanese kids play a lot of mobile-social stuff. Western kids play Minecraft and Angry Birds and mobile stuff. These are kids growing up recognizing Mario more from merchandise than from his games, or more as "just another gaming character" than as the king of games. I think Nintendo has absolutely lost some of their younger market. Moreover, they learn to purchase games very young, and because the costs are so low they learn that they should be able to expect their parents to buy them the game when they want. The same kid asking for a $30 game would get rebuffed. This reinforces a culture where the kids grow up thinking of gaming differently.

Many people will respond with "LOL BUT NINTENDO MAKES TONS OF KIDS STUFF???? TARGET ME NOT THEM FOOLS", but I think this is a Big Deal from Nintendo's perspective.
 

Netherscourge

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Sep 13, 2013
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The problem with targeting Children (other than sounding really creepy) is that the "CHILDREN" who played Gamecube and Wii are now playing XB1 and PS4 because they GREW UP.

Target audiences outgrow their demographic faster than most analysts realize and new children tend to follow the older children, especially siblings, despite age restrictions/ratings.
 
May 20, 2009
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They are more backwards then I thought. All I see when a Wii U commercial comes on is kids. Their problem is they aren't focusing beyond that.
 

EmCeeGramr

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Today's children love Angry Birds and Skylanders and Minecraft way more than they do Nintendo, which is a problem for Nintendo's IP. A lot of Nintendo's games, while being child friendly and popular with children who try them, are edging more towards being aimed at young adults who played Nintendo games as children, not children themselves.

So yeah, Nintendo probably should target children more, regardless if that means that people won't necessarily get to play Dark Souls Zelda or Mature Retro Game or whatever they think will solve Nintendo's problems.
 

phanphare

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Aug 21, 2013
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I think this thread already exists doesn't it? and isn't that a translation error? shouldn't it read more like "targeting children won't be enough"?
 

Sophia

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Feb 8, 2008
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This has to be a misinterpretation of what was said, although I don't technically disagree with the quote. They haven't done a very good job with marketing to younger people in the US as far as I can tell.

Today's children love Angry Birds and Skylanders and Minecraft way more than they do Nintendo, which is a problem for Nintendo's IP. A lot of Nintendo's games, while being child friendly and popular with children who try them, are edging more towards being aimed at young adults who played Nintendo games as children, not children themselves.

So yeah, Nintendo probably should target children more, regardless if that means that people won't necessarily get to play Dark Souls Zelda or Mature Retro Game or whatever they think will solve Nintendo's problems.
I don't think it's so much that they love those properties more then what Nintendo does. Rather I think Nintendo has been extremely poor in recent years at best utilizing their IPs, and thus other properties took over.
 

Doffen

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This seems very odd. Nintendo are good if not great at targeting children and their core fanbase. They need to broad the horizon, not push harder on the market they've already got.
 

Exterminieren

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And, in terms of hardware, he's absolutely right.

3DS was a ridiculous prospect for kids. Far too expensive, with a headline feature that locked under 7s out. Ditto software prices. The Game Boy made it's name on being an inexpensive lump for kids, and trying to be flashy kneecapped the 3DS before it started.
 

Stet

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The only way to really target children these days is via tablet. They grow up with them. In a lot of cases, they're trying to edge out BOOKS.
 

Toki767

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They could always try making educational software with Nintendo IP. How did that Pokemon typing game do on the DS?

I always did want another Mario Teaches Typing game.

He's somewhat right though. Their Wii U output especially has targeted more of the grown-up market from a gameplay perspective. The art styles are what makes it seems it seem like they're targeted at children.
 

Chindogg

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Oct 5, 2010
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Yeah my Japanese is rusty as hell but I think it says something along the lines of "children are not enough."
 

Watch Da Birdie

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What kids are they talking about?

Like when I read this I think, like, around 7-13, but could it mean like really young kids which I'd argue probably do have difficulty accessing even mechanically simple games like Mario and Donkey Kong?
 

Zefah

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I'll go ask someone who speaks Japanese a second time.
This is seriously getting ridiculous. You have it right.

I'm a J<->E translator by trade. I've done tons of translations here on GAF. I don't know what to tell you, but anyone who is trying to interpret it otherwise has an insufficient knowledge of Japanese to be doing any sort of translation work.
 

EmCeeGramr

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It's also worth noting that outside of software, Nintendo's hardware isn't really targeting children. Children don't need glossy hinged handhelds with 3D displays and styluses, or $350 "hidden" consoles controlled by a locally tethered tablet fused to a controller.
 

Massa

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All they've ever done is target children and young adults. What the hell is he talking about?
Pretty simple. He know how much of their audience traditionally is made of kids, and he knows what the numbers are for their current platforms. Those numbers probably show a very big decline.

He's making a statement based on factual data that we don't have.
 

Morfeo

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Jan 21, 2013
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I'm not really sure they can do much more to appeal to children, except getting Minecraft on board. And FIFA, but that isn't happening.


Have you even read the OP?
I'll go ask someone who speaks Japanese a second time.
Lol, very well. As I edited into my post, I dont understand japanese myself, but lot of talk about this comment on twitter, and I thought that was the consensus.
 

steveovig

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Oh Iwata, poor, poor Iwata. He just doesn't get it. Way behind the times and out of touch with his own product demographic.
 
Oct 2, 2013
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If that's what he's really saying, then I disagree, they're targeting the "child" demographic enough (quotes because most children are playing M-rated games anyways) and need to target more adult audiences.

Again, assuming that's what he's really saying.
 

Stet

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From Shouta, who has lived in Japan:

5:38 PM <Shouta> "Our approach to targeting children has been inadequate" on first glance
That could be read both ways. Is there any way to be more specific using Japanese, or is Iwata intentionally being vague?
 

Brawl96

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He's right in saying that nintendo hasn't been marketing the Wii U, not so much a children thing. Sony relies on adults and that doesn't bite them in the ass. Nintendo could do the same thing but they don't.
-Proud owner of a PS4 and Wii U
 

rvy

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Well, I guess he does have a point in that the Wii was really more of a family console than a children's console. But I don't see how targeting children more is gonna help them both for consoles and handhelds. Then again, Nintendo can't really compete with Microsoft and Sony for the core gamer at this point and with so many burned bridges.
 

Doombacon

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No.

I think they need to target 30-40 year old parents that have children. Informing them of why it will be a valuable purchase for THEM over the Wii system they probably already own. Features like the off TV play are very strong here for households since it lets the parents have priority over the TV without denying their child the game.

I think in generally targeting children and hoping that the "I want it I want it I want it!" cries to their parents will by them a $300 box + $60 games is a weak push.
 

Chucker

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Today's children love Angry Birds and Skylanders and Minecraft way more than they do Nintendo, which is a problem for Nintendo's IP. A lot of Nintendo's games, while being child friendly and popular with children who try them, are edging more towards being aimed at young adults who played Nintendo games as children, not children themselves.

So yeah, Nintendo probably should target children more, regardless if that means that people won't necessarily get to play Dark Souls Zelda or Mature Retro Game or whatever they think will solve Nintendo's problems.
Honestly, if I hadn't played my SNES games while my daughter was in the room she'd be content with Angry Birds, Gameloft's My Little Pony phone/tablet game and Where's My Water.

I of course try to foster the interest by having got various Mario plush things for her, but yeah. I see what you're saying.
 

StreetsAhead

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Question: Do you agree with Iwata that Nintendo could do more for the children's market?
-If yes, share an idea of what they could do.
Yes, I think they could provide more licensed merchandise, as well as media like comics, cartoons, and so on.

As for games, I think they are overall fine, but maybe they do need more targeted advertising. A new kid-friendly IP wouldn't hurt either.

I said it in the other thread, but presumably Nintendo is looking at the demographics of people buying their products and maybe the Wii U and/or 3DS do represent a higher percentage of adults purchasing than previous systems.

Overall, I think the quote is very vague and could be referring to numerous things outside of game development Nintendo could do to target children. Hopefully the IM in 1 hour will give us more clarity.
 

DrLazy

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I think going after the younger demographic in earnest is a great idea.

The Wii U is built with families in mind:

  • Off screen play is useful in homes with multiple people trying to use the same tv (families)
  • Assymetric play is great for kids and parents to play together as it offers the chance for less sophisticated gamers to take a simpler role while a "gamer" dad or mom can play the more complex stuff
  • The Wii U is built around local multiplayer, not online. Older gamers care less about local, younger gamers care almost solely about local. It just makes sense
  • Built in NFC is underutilized to this point but its main use could be for kid-friendly collectables
  • Kids are less apt to care about Nitendo's percieved weaknesses -- graphical power, online services, etc.
 

TheBaronOfNA

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Kids are not going to buy Nintendo games just because they push harder this aspect. Saying that only make them sound like they are confirming "Nintendo is for kiddies" that Devs were and enthusiasts like to complain about.

Also, probably no the wisest move given Japan shifting demographics.
 

Jarmel

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Mar 3, 2010
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This is seriously getting ridiculous. You have it right.

I'm a J<->E translator by trade. I've done tons of translations here on GAF. I don't know what to tell you, but anyone who is trying to interpret it otherwise has an insufficient knowledge of Japanese to be doing any sort of translation work.
From Shouta, who has lived in Japan:

5:38 PM <Shouta> "Our approach to targeting children has been inadequate" on first glance
Well this is interesting.
 

Exterminieren

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It's also worth noting that outside of software, Nintendo's hardware isn't really targeting children. Children don't need glossy hinged handhelds with 3D displays and styluses, or $350 "hidden" consoles controlled by a locally tethered tablet fused to a controller.
This, essentially.

GB, GBA and DS targeted kids. 3DS does nothing of the sort.
 

Fourth Storm

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This comment is worrisome. Children like the same devices that adults and older kids enjoy, so I hope he's not going to lowball their hardware anymore than it is. Are they talking about marketing? IPs? They can't be talking IPs...

Perhaps he means cheap, mobile style games that parents can afford?
 

SolarPowered

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Japanese kids play a lot of mobile-social stuff. Western kids play Minecraft and Angry Birds and mobile stuff. These are kids growing up recognizing Mario more from merchandise than from his games, or more as "just another gaming character" than as the king of games. I think Nintendo has absolutely lost some of their younger market. Moreover, they learn to purchase games very young, and because the costs are so low they learn that they should be able to expect their parents to buy them the game when they want. The same kid asking for a $30 game would get rebuffed. This reinforces a culture where the kids grow up thinking of gaming differently.

Many people will respond with "LOL BUT NINTENDO MAKES TONS OF KIDS STUFF???? TARGET ME NOT THEM FOOLS", but I think this is a Big Deal from Nintendo's perspective.
They've been losing these kids (marketshare to boot) ever since the SNES. The Wii was merely a reprieve. It's only become a big deal now because business as usual (last 25ish years of it) has led to such low markeshare that money just can't be made from the remaining kids (install base) anymore.

Kids are growing up and they can't even introduce their kids to Mario or Nintendo. This is just home consoles. The handheld sector is giving way much more viciously to Mobile.
 

Stumpokapow

listen to the mad man
May 21, 2006
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Wrong. You indeed are targeting children excessively... and for too many time...
So if their data shows that they have significant usage dropoff among children, even moreso than among other age brackets, while their competitors have more usage by children, you think they should look at that and say "No, definitely not something that should concern us, maltrain wants Based Bayonetta x F-Zero!" or whatever?

They've been losing these kids (marketshare to boot) ever since the SNES. The Wii was merely a reprieve. It's only become a big deal now because business as usual (last 25ish years of it) has led to such low markeshare that money just can't be made from the remaining kids (install base) anymore.

Kids are growing up and they can't even introduce their kids to Mario or Nintendo. This is just home consoles. The handheld sector is giving way much more viciously to Mobile.
Well it's not just "losing kids since SNES". Even on N64 and GameCube, Nintendo had an above-their-weight-class share of things like licensed game sales. Licensed game sales have collapsed. The work-for-hire license industry is almost over now. Many licenses only get mobile games now. That's a worry.
 

Cess007

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This is a translation error. It says "targetting children is not enough".

Edit: Not that I understand japanese, but that is what twitter tells me.
I really hope this is a case of translation error and Iwata actually said what you post. I reaaaally hope this is the case, 'cause if not... oh dear :(
 

Josh7289

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Dec 9, 2006
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It's possible to read it either way, but I'm not a native speaker so I'm not sure which reading is more natural.

Also, if you write it like this, it also can mean both readings at once: "Our approach to children has not been sufficient."