Nintendo President Responds to Wii U Launch Woes

Nintendo President Responds to Wii U Launch Woes

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Reggie Fils-Aime prefers enthusiastic consumers over lukewarm critics.

Now that the Wii U launch has come and gone, it's fair to say that it went much like many other console launches that preceded it: lots of excitement, some great games, some more forgettable games, and a few technical issues that cropped up along the way. Nintendo's Japanese arm has apologized for some of the launch troubles, including a massive day one firmware update that had the potential to brick consoles. Reggie Fils-Aime, president of Nintendo of America, has also taken some time to respond to launch critics. While he regrets the downtime the Miiverse experience, he stands behind the launch day patch and believes that consumers - not critics - will ultimately decide the system's success.

"Nintendo developers want to make sure that the very best product is available to consumers," says Fils-Aime. "That creates a dynamic where our developers are working on elements until the very last point possible." Fils-Aime also clarified that while the patch will eventually come standard with each system shipped, it won't happen until 2013, meaning those who give or receive Wii Us as holiday presents should be prepared for the large firmware update. "This is quite similar to what's happened with other consumer electronic products," he points out.

Fils-Aime is considerably more pleased when it comes to consumer reception, which has been mostly positive, but takes a jab at critics who suggested that the system has not yet showcased its full potential. "Reviews of a system or review of a game really come down to the quality and capability of the reviewer," he posits. "[When I] see how consumers are reacting to games like ZombiU or ... Call of Duty, that tells me we're doing something very, very positive." He also cites consumer enthusiasm on social networks as a metric of the Wii U's success.

One stumble that Fils-Aime addressed directly was the Miiverse downtime on day one. He insists that the issue was not solely one of server capacity, so the Miiverse will be able to withstand the presumably large influx of new players towards the end of the month. "Come Christmas morning, those servers will not be challenged in the same way."

The Nintendo of America president reiterates that any system launch comes with its own share of challenges, and insists that the big N will continue to improve the console post-launch. "In the digital, connected services area, much of what we're doing is groundbreaking, so we are having to learn as we go to make sure the consumer has the very best experience possible," he explains. As the Wii U's library and feature list grow, gamers will have the opportunity to evaluate Nintendo's growth for themselves.

Source: Gamasutra

Image: Wikipedia

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Anyone else mislead by the title? I thought the article was going to be about poor sales, which would have been odd considering the hype for this and the fact that it's a bit early for sales numbers.

Easy to say considering that fans have already decided the system's success, despite your lack of effort.

Marshall Honorof:
One stumble that Fils-Aime addressed directly was the Miiverse downtime on day one. He insists that the issue was not solely one of server capacity, so the Miiverse will be able to withstand the presumably large influx of new players towards the end of the month. "Come Christmas morning, those servers will not be challenged in the same way."

Haha, that's not the greatest defense. If the issue wasn't from getting capacity spiked, then it was due to the network configuration/software infrastructure instead. Which means that they beta tested the online stuff on the early adopters ahead of the Christmas rush.

Not the worst thing (and often happens anyway), but I'd imagine you don't typically want to say "We had enough capacity, but waited for our early customers to live test the software for our Christmas customers."

Also known as the 'Call of Duty Method'.

"LA LA LA LA! WE CAN'T HEAR YOU OVER ALL THIS MONEY IN OUR EARS! LA LA LA LA!"

I know it can't just be me, but every time I see a picture of Reggie my first thought is always "This guy looks like an asshole". Little gems like this one:

"Reviews of a system or review of a game really come down to the quality and capability of the reviewer,"

where he insults reviewers for not giving the WiiU an unconditional glowing review, does nothing for my opinion of him. Its great that people are enjoying the WiiU but that doesn't change the fact that they still launched the system before it was finished. That's information that I, as a consumer, sort of want before I go drop $400 on your product. Thing like what's mentioned in this particular post-launch spotlight of just a few of the things wrong with it at the moment: http://www.wired.com/gamelife/2012/11/10-things/ .

The system has great potential, but you know what they say about first impressions. Right now the first impression with lots of potential customers is that Nintendo booted the system out the door before it was done to take advantage of the Christmas season. A sound business tactic to get larger than normal release numbers and impress the investors, but a crappy thing to do the early adopters by selling them a system missing advertised features. Further a big target audience are people who aren't very up and up on common sense use of technology, and yet you've got this huge update that brings with it the risk of bricking the system. Oh that's going to go over great on the 25th when a bunch of impatient kids, parents, or grandparents unwittingly brick their system because the update was taking so damn long. You think I'm joking, but there are plenty of people who will stop an update because its taking too long under the confused assumption that something must be wrong.

Though lets be honest here, he's right. So long as the public is happy and buying up the WiiU why should he listen to critics pointing out its flaws? They, and us by extension as a community, can decry the launch problems till the cows come home, but Reggie and the rest of Nintendo can just ignore us because they mountains of money rolling in say they can.

KeyMaster45:
I know it can't just be me, but every time I see a picture of Reggie my first thought is always "This guy looks like an asshole".

An asshole who's made a good few companies quite a lot of money.

And the Wii U doesn't have many faults, so it's not really that bad of Reggie to insult these reviewers. If the system was fundamentally broken then it would warrant all the negative reviews, however there aren't problems with it.

The only problems which the Wii U has had are problems which EVERY OTHER PIECE OF HARDWARE gets.

Marshall Honorof:

One stumble that Fils-Aime addressed directly was the Miiverse downtime on day one. He insists that the issue was not solely one of server capacity, so the Miiverse will be able to withstand the presumably large influx of new players towards the end of the month. "Come Christmas morning, those servers will not be challenged in the same way."

Do people really get angry about stuff like this? When something is launched it usually takes some time to clear out the mess, people should always expect at least a week of "getting shit together". Even when Valve launched that robot thingy for Team Fortress 2 it was a mess and that was just a new gamemode. I would understand if they never intended to fix it or if they took a month to do it, but a day...

A Smooth Criminal:

And the Wii U doesn't have many faults, so it's not really that bad of Reggie to insult these reviewers. If the system was fundamentally broken then it would warrant all the negative reviews, however there aren't problems with it.

The only problems which the Wii U has had are problems which EVERY OTHER PIECE OF HARDWARE gets.

Not many faults?! But as the Escapist loves drilling into our faces every time the WiiU is mentioned, one reporter claimed his WiiU was bricked by his intentionally unplugging it during a system update. Sure, there are no reports of this happening to anyone else, but let's mention it every single time as if it's a common occurrence!

Yeah, it's kinda silly.

The WiiU launch has been pretty smooth. The only issues I noticed were that the optional system update was a bit slow downloading in the morning of launch day (which led to all the ridiculous rumours about it being a bagillion gigabytes in size), and Miiverse was down for the first day, but was available the very next day.

You'd think a tenth of WiiU's were exploding in peoples faces with the over dramatic nature of the reporting here.

Jumwa:

A Smooth Criminal:

And the Wii U doesn't have many faults, so it's not really that bad of Reggie to insult these reviewers. If the system was fundamentally broken then it would warrant all the negative reviews, however there aren't problems with it.

The only problems which the Wii U has had are problems which EVERY OTHER PIECE OF HARDWARE gets.

Not many faults?! But as the Escapist loves drilling into our faces every time the WiiU is mentioned, one reporter claimed his WiiU was bricked by his intentionally unplugging it during a system update. Sure, there are no reports of this happening to anyone else, but let's mention it every single time as if it's a common occurrence!

Yeah, it's kinda silly.

The WiiU launch has been pretty smooth. The only issues I noticed were that the optional system update was a bit slow downloading in the morning of launch day (which led to all the ridiculous rumours about it being a bagillion gigabytes in size), and Miiverse was down for the first day, but was available the very next day.

You'd think a tenth of WiiU's were exploding in peoples faces with the over dramatic nature of the reporting here.

I'm 100% certain that the escapist reporters just have something against Nintendo. I'm not sure what it is, but they all seem to bitch about Nintendo over nothing. I generally just skim over a lot of what's in the article and just read the quotes in anything that involves Nintendo.

Since the reviews I've seen from people I actually trust about this kind of stuff have been incredibly positive, I can see why he's calling out critics who insist that it is the worst thing since Hitler. I don't think it's very professional of him, but I can understand.

A Smooth Criminal:

KeyMaster45:
I know it can't just be me, but every time I see a picture of Reggie my first thought is always "This guy looks like an asshole".

An asshole who's made a good few companies quite a lot of money.

And the Wii U doesn't have many faults, so it's not really that bad of Reggie to insult these reviewers. If the system was fundamentally broken then it would warrant all the negative reviews, however there aren't problems with it.

The only problems which the Wii U has had are problems which EVERY OTHER PIECE OF HARDWARE gets.

So that absolves it from any kind of criticism I take it? No, the system is not fundamentally broken; if it were I would have to adopt a strong belief that Nintendo was actively trying to put itself out of business. It does however have a good few launch day flaws, like the giant firmware update or missing features that were supposed to be available at launch, which could have been resolved prior to release if they hadn't had such a hard-on to get it in stores for this holiday season.

I haven't heard any reviewers call it an outright shit system; I have seen many point out the flaws which should give buyers pause before becoming an early adopter,(the measly 3.2gb of storage after initial setup on the base version, the abysmally short battery life of the tablet controller, the virtualization of the Wii's OS with all the restrictions on memory and graphical power that the Wii had are a few things that come to mind.) and the pointing out of these flaws is very valid. Nintendo HQ in Japan has already apologized for the problems caused by their pushing it out the door, so if anything it makes Reggie's insulting of the reviewers more wrong than it would have been in the first place.

Like I said before though, he is right. The system isn't fundamentally broken, and so far the majority of people who've bought it are happy. Criticism of its problems are still very much reasonable and useful for those who may have been thinking of purchasing one. Its the "buyer beware" disclaimer for consumers, and if some consumers don't want to put up with the launch problems then they'll wait for the major kinks to be worked out by hopefully next year. Denying that there are problems with the console is foolishness bordering on psychotic denial.

KeyMaster45:

A Smooth Criminal:

KeyMaster45:
I know it can't just be me, but every time I see a picture of Reggie my first thought is always "This guy looks like an asshole".

An asshole who's made a good few companies quite a lot of money.

And the Wii U doesn't have many faults, so it's not really that bad of Reggie to insult these reviewers. If the system was fundamentally broken then it would warrant all the negative reviews, however there aren't problems with it.

The only problems which the Wii U has had are problems which EVERY OTHER PIECE OF HARDWARE gets.

So that absolves it from any kind of criticism I take it? No, the system is not fundamentally broken; if it were I would have to adopt a strong belief that Nintendo was actively trying to put itself out of business. It does however have a good few launch day flaws, like the giant firmware update or missing features that were supposed to be available at launch, which could have been resolved prior to release if they hadn't had such a hard-on to get it in stores for this holiday season.

I haven't heard any reviewers call it an outright shit system; I have seen many point out the flaws which should give buyers pause before becoming an early adopter,(the measly 3.2gb of storage after initial setup on the base version, the abysmally short battery life of the tablet controller, the virtualization of the Wii's OS with all the restrictions on memory and graphical power that the Wii had are a few things that come to mind.) and the pointing out of these flaws is very valid. Nintendo HQ in Japan has already apologized for the problems caused by their pushing it out the door, so if anything it makes Reggie's insulting of the reviewers more wrong than it would have been in the first place.

Like I said before though, he is right. The system fundamentally broken broken, and so far the majority of people who've bought it are happy. Criticism of its problems are still very much reasonable and useful for those who may have been thinking of purchasing one. Its the "buyer beware" disclaimer for consumers, and if some consumers don't want to put up with the launch problems then they'll wait for the major kinks to be worked out by hopefully next year. Denying that there are problems with the console is foolishness bordering on psychotic denial.

Thank you for that, I was about to say something similar. Just because the Wii U works doesn't mean it gets a 10/10. I was surprised by the good and bad in Jim Sterling's review of the system like how the Miiverse actually sounds like fun and the $200 tablet controller doesn't even have multi-touch and works best with a stylus. The system obviously has flaws and these are things to know before buying

A Smooth Criminal:
I'm 100% certain that the escapist reporters just have something against Nintendo. I'm not sure what it is, but they all seem to bitch about Nintendo over nothing. I generally just skim over a lot of what's in the article and just read the quotes in anything that involves Nintendo.

I don't think it's any grand conspiracy, Nintendo has just been labelled the kiddy-casual company, so 'real gamers' don't care to talk about it, unless it's to make another prediction of doom (which never grows old).

At this point nothing but adding a bunch of X's to their console titles and throwing billions in ad dollars at it could change the opinion of 'real gamers'.

KeyMaster45:

A Smooth Criminal:

KeyMaster45:
I know it can't just be me, but every time I see a picture of Reggie my first thought is always "This guy looks like an asshole".

An asshole who's made a good few companies quite a lot of money.

And the Wii U doesn't have many faults, so it's not really that bad of Reggie to insult these reviewers. If the system was fundamentally broken then it would warrant all the negative reviews, however there aren't problems with it.

The only problems which the Wii U has had are problems which EVERY OTHER PIECE OF HARDWARE gets.

So that absolves it from any kind of criticism I take it? No, the system is not fundamentally broken; if it were I would have to adopt a strong belief that Nintendo was actively trying to put itself out of business. It does however have a good few launch day flaws, like the giant firmware update or missing features that were supposed to be available at launch, which could have been resolved prior to release if they hadn't had such a hard-on to get it in stores for this holiday season.

I haven't heard any reviewers call it an outright shit system; I have seen many point out the flaws which should give buyers pause before becoming an early adopter,(the measly 3.2gb of storage after initial setup on the base version, the abysmally short battery life of the tablet controller, the virtualization of the Wii's OS with all the restrictions on memory and graphical power that the Wii had are a few things that come to mind.) and the pointing out of these flaws is very valid. Nintendo HQ in Japan has already apologized for the problems caused by their pushing it out the door, so if anything it makes Reggie's insulting of the reviewers more wrong than it would have been in the first place.

Like I said before though, he is right. The system isn't fundamentally broken, and so far the majority of people who've bought it are happy. Criticism of its problems are still very much reasonable and useful for those who may have been thinking of purchasing one. Its the "buyer beware" disclaimer for consumers, and if some consumers don't want to put up with the launch problems then they'll wait for the major kinks to be worked out by hopefully next year. Denying that there are problems with the console is foolishness bordering on psychotic denial.

Oh god.. Are you serious? To win an argument you're going to use points which have been outright refuted TIME and TIME again?

The firmware update only broke systems in the same way every other firmware update on the planet breaks systems. If you unplug anything during a major update, it's going to break! And as someone else said, the update wasn't even that big. It was everyone trying to download it day 1.

As for the storage capacity. Nintendo even say in the video that "It's recommended you buy an external hard drive" because the Wii U supports those. You know why that is? Because it makes the console a LOT cheaper if people use third party storage systems. You may as well complain about the PS2 and Gamecube because they required memory cards.

Jumwa:
I don't think it's any grand conspiracy, Nintendo has just been labelled the kiddy-casual company, so 'real gamers' don't care to talk about it, unless it's to make another prediction of doom (which never grows old).

At this point nothing but adding a bunch of X's to their console titles and throwing billions in ad dollars at it could change the opinion of 'real gamers'.

No, there's a difference between "this company makes family friendly games" and "this company sucks because they release things that suck because they suffer the same problems as ever other major company. Except it's this company so it sucks especially and we're going to make you fully aware of these problems and blame them on the company".

I think Nintendo did a poor job at marketing the Wii U. I've had to explain to several people that the Wii U is a completely new console and not just a Wii extension.
But overall the launch seems to have gone relatively well. Looking at the list of games, I'm not sure whether I'll get it though. Maybe later, in a year or so.

A Smooth Criminal:

KeyMaster45:

A Smooth Criminal:

An asshole who's made a good few companies quite a lot of money.

And the Wii U doesn't have many faults, so it's not really that bad of Reggie to insult these reviewers. If the system was fundamentally broken then it would warrant all the negative reviews, however there aren't problems with it.

The only problems which the Wii U has had are problems which EVERY OTHER PIECE OF HARDWARE gets.

So that absolves it from any kind of criticism I take it? No, the system is not fundamentally broken; if it were I would have to adopt a strong belief that Nintendo was actively trying to put itself out of business. It does however have a good few launch day flaws, like the giant firmware update or missing features that were supposed to be available at launch, which could have been resolved prior to release if they hadn't had such a hard-on to get it in stores for this holiday season.

I haven't heard any reviewers call it an outright shit system; I have seen many point out the flaws which should give buyers pause before becoming an early adopter,(the measly 3.2gb of storage after initial setup on the base version, the abysmally short battery life of the tablet controller, the virtualization of the Wii's OS with all the restrictions on memory and graphical power that the Wii had are a few things that come to mind.) and the pointing out of these flaws is very valid. Nintendo HQ in Japan has already apologized for the problems caused by their pushing it out the door, so if anything it makes Reggie's insulting of the reviewers more wrong than it would have been in the first place.

Like I said before though, he is right. The system isn't fundamentally broken, and so far the majority of people who've bought it are happy. Criticism of its problems are still very much reasonable and useful for those who may have been thinking of purchasing one. Its the "buyer beware" disclaimer for consumers, and if some consumers don't want to put up with the launch problems then they'll wait for the major kinks to be worked out by hopefully next year. Denying that there are problems with the console is foolishness bordering on psychotic denial.

Oh god.. Are you serious? To win an argument you're going to use points which have been outright refuted TIME and TIME again?

The firmware update only broke systems in the same way every other firmware update on the planet breaks systems. If you unplug anything during a major update, it's going to break! And as someone else said, the update wasn't even that big. It was everyone trying to download it day 1.

As for the storage capacity. Nintendo even say in the video that "It's recommended you buy an external hard drive" because the Wii U supports those. You know why that is? Because it makes the console a LOT cheaper if people use third party storage systems. You may as well complain about the PS2 and Gamecube because they required memory cards.

I won't argue with the firmware update point. I got bad information and didn't bother to look into it further. Still, since we seem to be engaged in a certain amount of miscommunication, I want to make it abundantly clear what my ultimate point here is. The WiiU has/had launch issues and design flaws, so most of the criticism of it is relevant and valid. Every console released sees this kind of criticism; therefore the WiiU is not immune to the same level of scrutiny afforded to its competitors. I hope that puts us on the same page; if not then I suggest re-reading and thinking about my last two posts before launching into a spittle-flecked rage post.

Frankly I think we're both in agreement for the most part. Overall the reviews for the WiiU are positive, but the system is not without its flaws.

We'll take the 3.2gb of storage on the base model as our working example for the moment. That you have the option for an external hard drive does not make it similar to the memory cards used in systems like the Gamecube, Playstaion, and Playstation 2. Those systems had no internal memory to store game save files on, so smaller external cards were required. If the WiiU were simply storing the save files of games then I would say 3.2gb is more than enough for the scant few kilobytes they'd take up. From my understanding though there are certain games which require installation to the hard drive and that in fact the game bundled with the larger 32gb model is not bundled with the smaller model because its install size is 3.2gb, thus leaving no room for saving.

You posit that the option of an external drive was a move to save money by Nintendo, however this simply holds no water. In their infinite wisdom Nintendo saw fit to use a solid state drive for the internal storage. As I'm sure you're aware SSDs are not cheap and likely had a negative impact on the affordability of the console. If they had really wanted to save money they would have gone for the traditional, far cheaper option of a regular disc based hard drive. It would have allowed for ample storage space at a fraction of the cost. Sure, its a nifty feature that I can plug in an external drive and store games and save files on it, but it shouldn't be a necessary process for basic functions of the console; not in this day and age most certainly.

Requiring third party equipment for your console to function properly out of the box is an instant design flaw in my book as it is also perceived, I would venture to guess, by most others out there. It's a baffling design decision that being done to save money simply does not explain. Thus critics are going to point this out and hopefully their readers will make a more informed choice when buying it.

Does this make the WiiU a bad console? No, not at all. With time I'd expect that the base model will be replaced by the 32gb at roughly the same price, and that models with more storage space will be introduced. That doesn't mean critics should ignore it, nor should they ignore the other software and hardware flaws it has, which you did not address in your rebuttal. This criticism is not unique to the Wii, and if you'll recall both the PS3 and 360 received their fair share of bad press when they were first released.

If you've read this far and not simply skimmed my post looking for things that enrage you further (as you seem to have done with my previous two posts) then I welcome more debate on the subject if there is more to be had.

Wait...the Wii U is out? When did this happen? Shows how much I care for it, it's hard to be excited for something which has a level of processing power which should been in the original Wii (or at least close to it).

So what I read was "We as Nintendo can't take constructive criticism very well"

Nintendo developers want to make sure that the very best product is available to consumers," says Fils-Aime. "That creates a dynamic where our developers are working on elements until the very last point possible." Fils-Aime also clarified that while the patch will eventually come standard with each system shipped, it won't happen until 2013, meaning those who give or receive Wii Us as holiday presents should be prepared for the large firmware update. "This is quite similar to what's happened with other consumer electronic products," he points out.

if you want to bring the best product then you have failed for the past 10 years. and no, other consumer electronics do not have same problems.

devotedsniper:
Wait...the Wii U is out? When did this happen? Shows how much I care for it, it's hard to be excited for something which has a level of processing power which should been in the original Wii (or at least close to it).

This, ever so hard. When the Wii came out, I had friends talking about getting it and inviting people over to play. I had other friends talking about trying to get one. I heard reports all over of the difficulty of getting one and the awesomeness of Wii Sports.

Now.....I hear crickets. I've heard more from people about Farcry 3 than the Wii U. And yes, I know plenty of more "casual" gamers which the Wii was perfect for.

 

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