Iwata: Lack of HD kept the Wii in the casual camp
Nintendo president Satoru Iwata says Nintendo’s late entry into the HD era with the Wii U isn’t just an attempt to play catch up, but to disprove the distinction between core and casual titles.
Conversing with legendary Nintendo designer Shigeru Miyamoto in the latest Iwata Asks, the executive acknowledged the difficulty faced by Wii developers over the last few years.
“There had been times up to now where you could do things on other companies’ hardware, but was difficult to do on Wii,” he said.
“With Wii U, I also wanted to alleviate those restrictions as much as possible. … With this new structure that we are now offering, we have come to recognize that we are now able to solve a number of issues that we feel have been surrounding us for years, so we really feel that this has potential.
“I think this is something that developers outside of the company are feeling, and [internal] developers besides [Miyamoto] are thinking of as well.”
Iwata believes the lack of HD graphics on the Wii contributed to the core versus casual division.
“One of the key reasons that such things as the core and the casuals exist today is that we decided not to adopt HD on the Wii console,” he said.
“Of course, besides that there are things like issues with the controller and the challenges that it brings, network functionalities and many other things, but I think HD was the biggest factor that everyone was able to clearly understand the difference.
“In terms of the HD capabilities, Wii U can do something similar, and on top of that, it is equipped with this new controller that adds an entirely new structure to games. I think this is an opportunity for those games that were considered to be core up to now, to evolve into something even more interesting structure.
Expressing a wish for all sorts of games to be released, Iwata said he expects the core and casual markets to merge.
“That core vs. casual debate seems like something that can never see a resolution, but with Wii U, I have a feeling that it all may change. I even feel that the barrier that separated the two genres was only something psychological, just an impression that people had towards them.
“For example, The Legend of Zelda games were something geared towards the toughest audience, and it has been so from the beginning. So it’s not like Nintendo doesn’t have it in us. But there are quite a number of people who assume that Nintendo is the equivalent of being casual.
“If we are able to break those psychological barriers with Wii U, I feel like we will be able to take our goal of expanding the gaming population even further to the next step.”
Keza got hands on with the new console shortly after its reveal; read her impressions.
So is Iwata correct? I'd say that is only true to an extent, since that has been many successful games that were aimed primarily at the core audience.