Nintendo made their appearance early this Tuesday to talk about the things that have helped them become the force they are today. Tom Prata, Senior Director for project development at Nintendo of America, spoke on the ways they grew business with the Nintendo Wii and DS.
Prata started the talk by discussing his early years at Nintendo when he was traveling on business with Sutaru Iwata in 2000 (Iwata is now currently the president of Nintendo.) The discussion he had with Iwata were about many things in the company but ended on how to expand the game player population.
Nintendo showed its internal numbers that from November 2007 to today, the company has grown from 113.8 million gamers who play Nintendo products, to 143.7 million players. Nintendo believes that there are another 150 million potential gamers that they have yet to bring into the fold.
Some have asked now how this growth has occured. Prata says that it is from the Shigeru Miyamoto method of development which some say mirror Nintendo’s development ideals. First, the company observes people and sees what motivates them to do the things around them. They usually don’t look at numbers or stats during this process. The company then looks at the universal themes that surrond the game. After analysing this and other compelling components for the game, the company will produce a proof of concept for a small team to create and test.
Nintendo loves small teams says Prata. He says that the small teams help give better communication and are a lower risk to the company.
Next they showed an example using Nintendo’s newest game Punch-out. The example shows the ways they developed worked to see what ways to make the punching fun by hitting in three ways: up, middle and down.
Another example were the Nintendo Mii’s that are based off the Kokeshi dolls in Japan. Nintendo had originally used the idea of the Mii’s for the Nintendo Gamecube game “Stage Debut”. The game allowed players to take a picture of their face using the Gameboy Advance Camera and let it be uploaded to the Gamecube. The game never was released as Nintendo couldn’t get a viable gameplay idea for the game. It was later redone for the Nintendo Wii.
Finally, Prata ended with the pillars of business for Nintendo in today’s market and how the company is gaining more gamers. Accessibility, a sense of newness, and how the consumer reacts to the game. In a slide from Prata’s slideshow, Iwata explains it all in a few sentences. “If it can’t be enjoyed, it is not the consumer’s fault. The fault belongs to us.”
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