Nintendo's president on giving their devs freedom to experience, using tech to enhance fun, mobile monetization, and more

Furukawa speaks!

We don't often get to hear from Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa, but TIME managed to track the man down for a quick interview on a number of topics. Check out a summary of the interview below.

On letting Nintendo's devs experiment

“Above all else, I base my decisions on the development leader’s way of thinking. Nintendo is Nintendo because of our games, characters and IP. So giving our teams the freedom to experiment with new ideas is something I strongly agree with. Expansion can’t happen without the freedom to try something new, and the courage to step into unfamiliar territory.”

On using technology to enhance fun

“Not just streaming, but any kind of new technology, whether that is going to be appealing to the consumer or not really depends on the quality of the experience that we can provide. Nintendo continues to search for new ways to enhance the fun that people can have through their gaming experience.”

On mobile monetization

“In terms of monetization, that’s something that we decided on an app basis. It’s something we decide looking at the game content of each app, as well as the IP used and the player that we’re targeting. We also look at how we can best have the players enjoy the game, as well as how they would be comfortable in spending money.”

On Nintendo doing their own thing

“We’ve never tried to imitate any other company. ...the idea of using our IP in things like theme parks or movies is simply an extension of the philosophy we’ve had all along.”

Nintendo Dream readers vote on the villainous characters they can't hate

What's a face without a heel?

Sometimes it takes a bad guy to make you love a good guy. Who are Nintendo's bad guys that you just can't bring yourself to hate? Nintendo Dream readers have voted on the matter, and their top choices can be found below.

Bowser (Super Mario) – 249pt
King Dedede (Kirby) – 117pt
Wario (Super Mario) – 51pt
Bowser Jr. (Super Mario) – 35pt
Lancer (DELTARUNE) – 23pt
Team Rocket (Pokémon) – 12pt
Ghirahim (The Legend of Zelda)
Doctor Eggman (Sonic the Hedgehog)
Jin (Xenoblade)
Waddle Dee (Kirby)

Reggie Fils-Aime on the Wii U's failure, Iwata against Wii Sports being bundled with Wii in U.S., the Activision Blizzard Hong Kong controversy, and more

The big man lets loose!

Reggie Fils-Aime held his previously-announced presentation at Cornell yesterday, and as you might expect, he talked a lot about Nintendo. Wondering what the Regginator had to say? Check out a summary of the event from one of the students who attended below!

- Reggie acknowledged that the Wii U was a failure pretty bluntly, but he called it a "failure forward" since it led to the Switch
- Reggie talked to the Japanese side of Nintendo quite a lot, and they usually called him Reggie-san
- Iwata didn't think Wii Sports should be bundled with the Wii in the U.S.
- Reggie said he learned the value of "silence" in business from Iwata
- Reggie emphasized the importance of having a workforce with a variety of races, genders, and sexual orientations
- Nintendo of America has internal diversity programs that supports groups of women and LGTB people at the company
- Reggie says China is a very different market, and praise the consumer response to Activision Blizzard
- Reggie was asked about Mother 3 at the presentation, and laughed, saying he thought he'd finally escaped that question
- Reggie says Retro Studios has some control over their release dates in a similar manner to the Pokemon Company (may need clarification)

Shigesato Itoi recalls his initial pitch for Mother/Earthbound Beginnings to Nintendo, and how it left him depressed and in tears

A fantastic story from the man himself

An absolutely fascinating interview with Shigesato Itoi, the creator of Mother/Earthbound has surfaced, and it includes a very detailed look at how the original Mother/Earthbound Beginnings game was pitched to Nintendo. Check out a summary straight from Itoi himself below, which is just a small snippet of the full interview.

“I owe a lot to Mario. I have asthma, and I start coughing when I lay down. I’ve always had a hard time sleeping, and for a while I had to sit up at all times or else I just couldn’t stop coughing. The only things I could really do while sitting up at night were read a book or play a game. So I’d wake up and grab a controller, and Mario would see me through my asthma at night. ...It’s more like I felt indebted to Nintendo.

...one day I finally started playing a copy of Dragon Quest that someone had given me. It’d been sitting around for a while, but it was raining and I had nothing better to do. ...I started it with pretty low expectations, and before I knew it, I was having a great time.

...It was fun. At first I was simply enjoying the game, but then it occurred to me that there’s someone out there who’s entertaining me through this game.

Yeah, it’s like laughing at a comedian’s joke and realizing, “Hey, that person on stage is the one making me laugh!” After a while I found myself thinking about what kind of things I’d do if I made the same sort of game. I wondered why all the role-playing games that were popular at the time had swords and magic.

Games were more unpopular back then. I was defending them on TV, saying something like, “Manga used to be taboo — you’d be scorned for having manga as a college student. Video games are in the same position today, and although it sounds a little extreme, I think games will eventually be an even bigger part of our culture than manga.”

People at Nintendo wondered who I was after that, and Yamauchi said he wanted to meet me. They invited me to their office to ask me what I thought of a game, and after that, we chatted for a while. That’s when (Shigeru) Miyamoto came in. We ended up becoming really close — we got along quite well from the start. I told him I actually had an idea of my own, and pulled out some copies of the notes I’d taken, asking him if he thought it would work as a game.

I pictured them jumping up from their chairs, saying, “Wow, what an idea! We must try it!” It was a dream of mine that they’d make a game using that idea, but instead the conversation just kind of stopped at Miyamoto asking me how serious I was about it. Itoi, how involved do you plan on being in it? Being totally involved in a project can be very demanding.” He sounded very solemn.

He probably assumed I wasn’t interested in being involved. Plus the extent to which he warned me ended up being on a totally different level than the extent to which I assumed it would be demanding. ...From Miyamoto’s perspective, it’s easy for someone to say they want to make a game. It’s the ‘making’ part that’s incredibly difficult. Just like it’s easy to say, “Some old guy in overalls is gonna jump around and save the princess.”

...I knew I wanted to make a game, but when my resolve was questioned, I was very sad about it. ...I went back to Tokyo totally crushed. I thought Miyamoto and I had hit it off well at first, but then I was like, “What a taskmaster.” (Laughs)

He did say to me, “Give me some time to figure this out and see how we can get a team together.” So he was earnest in making it happen. But from my perspective, since he didn’t say how interesting it looked, I’d assumed that meant he didn’t like it. ...I’d never made a game before, so I interpreted his response as, “Well, it’s not great, but if you’re going to keep insisting on it, I guess I’ll think about whether we should bother putting a team together. As someone without any experience, it was easy to get paranoid.

He was kind enough to take it seriously. I didn’t know anything, so I just mumbled a thank you and quickly headed home. They gave me a ride in a black car and treated me well, but I just got more and more depressed. I’d been expecting a torrent of praise, but by the time I got on the bullet train back to Tokyo, I was actually in tears.

...It turned out that it was all in my head. He put together a team for me. Their internal teams had their hands full, so he went to the trouble of reaching out to a company that would help me make the game. ...I met up with the development team at a tiny Japanese restaurant so that they could gauge how involved I’d actually be in all the hard work Miyamoto had warned me about, and so we could get to know each other.

This interview, conducted by Game Center CX, gives an extremely personal and interesting look at Itoi's work with Nintendo, as well as Itoi himself. Make sure to take some time and read the full thing.

Asphalt 9: Legends Hits 1 Million Installs on Switch in Just 7 Days

A surprise hit!

Paris, October 21, 2019 – Gameloft, leader in the development and publishing of games, is thrilled to announce that Asphalt 9: Legends, the latest entry in the world’s most downloaded, multi-awarded mobile racing franchise, has reached a new milestone by hitting 1 million installs in just seven days on the Nintendo Switch™ system on the Nintendo eShop.

“This is an incredible moment for us,” said Guilherme Lachaut, VP Strategic Partnerships at Gameloft. “Bringing Asphalt 9: Legends to Nintendo Switch is something we wanted to do for a long time, as we are great fans of this platform. It has been a strong request from our community and it translates today with one million downloads in a week. We put all our craft into this new tailored version of our game to make it really fit this fantastic console. The sheer arcade fun that is Asphalt 9: Legends really shines, especially in the local splitscreen races with four players that the Nintendo Switch made possible.”

Asphalt 9: Legends for Nintendo Switch launched on October 8 as a free-to-download arcade racer with all of the arcade fun and gameplay modes of the original mobile release, including local splitscreen and offline game modes, 8-player online play, multiple control options including the innovative Touchdrive™ and impressive tracks through the robust single player campaign. Nearly 60 playable licensed super and hyper cars include some of the fastest, rarest, and most prestigious cars ever made, such as the Bugatti Chiron, the McLaren P1 and the Lamborghini Terzo Millennio.

For players wanting a head start, the “Asphalt 9: Legends Starting Racer Pack” is available to purchase and unlocks incredible supercars and resources to boost progress and to challenge friends and family in split-screen multiplayer right from the beginning.

As with the mobile and PC version of the game, Gameloft will update Asphalt 9: Legends with new content over time, including new cars and tracks.

GoNintendo Podcast Webisode 740

The one where we talk about my 14 keyboards

Thanks to @KrazyKernal for the awesome artwork!

NPD! NPD! NPD! You know I love my NPD sections. Let's go over the month's sales numbers, talk about Love Island, look back on the days of the DS, answer your Luigi's Mansion 3 questions, complain about Atlantic City, and SO much more!

Download Episode 740!

Fatal Frame producer wants to make an installment for Switch

Sounds like a good idea!

Even though the Wii U didn't light the sales charts on fire, it still gave fans a chance to experience the Fatal Frame series. Since the Switch is such a bigger success, it only seems right that Fatal Frame has another chance to reach a bigger audience. If series producer Keisuke Kikuchi has his way, a new entry will come to Switch.

In an interview with NintendoEverything, Kikuchi flat-out says he'd like to make a Fatal Frame game for Switch.

“Yeah, I do want to make a Fatal Frame on Switch. I think it’d be a ton of fun to play with the console in handheld mode and moving all around.”

Development of 'Okami' sequel desired by both Hideki Kamiya and Ikumi Nakamura

Okami 2??

Ikumi Nakamura (background designer for Okami) and Hideki Kamiya (director and story lead) took to Twitter to express their want of a new entry in the Okami franchise. It's not quite a confirmation, but the desire from both of them seemingly confirms they're working on making it happen. The Tweet urges fans to message Capcom to express their want of a sequel.

"Okami is going to be back! We want to make Okami sequel and fans are looking forward to it too. You guys want to see Kamiya’s Okami again, right, everyone?"

Full Tweet + video here!

If the Tweet is to be believed at face value, "Okami is going to be back" is a really strong indicator of a sequel happening with Capcom's approval.

Tekken producer fed up with requests for Smash Bros. Ultimate cameos, says devs don't "negotiate with spammers and terrorists"

He's not Tekken it anymore!

Katsuhiro Harada, the producer of the Tekken series, is getting quite annoyed with requests on Twitter about various characters appearing in Smash Bros. Ultimate. As a matter of fact, Harada's been so angered by these requests that he said he's specifically telling Masahiro Sakurai not to consider characters for Smash Bros. Ultimate. You can see the two tweets Harada made about the situation below.

I'm honestly a bit baffled by this. I understand that sometimes people can be rude with their requests and spam things over and over again on Twitter, but there can also be legitimate fans who are reaching out due to genuine interest. I'm not sure how far things have gone with the various people called out in Harada's tweet, but I guess the harassment was bad enough in his eyes to make a public comment.

Sept. 2019 NPD - Top 20 software overall, plus supplemental sales data (Switch #1 hardware again)

Switch keeps pulling off big numbers

The Sept. 2019 sales data for the United States has come in, and Switch once again takes the top hardware spot. Check out the full rundown of the month's numbers below.

Top 20 software for Sept. 2019

1. NBA 2K20
2. Borderlands 3
3. FIFA 20
4. The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening*
5. Madden NFL 20
6. Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Breakpoint
7. Gears 5^
8. Code Vein
9. NHL 20
10. Mario Kart 8*
11. Minecraft#
12. Grand Theft Auto V
13. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate*
14. Spyro Reignited Trilogy
15. Red Dead Redemption II
16. Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege
17. Plants vs Zombies: Battle For Neighborville
18. Marvel’s Spider-Man
19. Catherine
20. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild*

The 10 best-selling games of 2019 so far

1. NBA 2K20
2. Mortal Kombat 11
3. Borderlands 3
4. Madden NFL 20
5. Kingdom Hearts III
6. Tom Clancy’s The Division 2
7. Anthem
8. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate*
9. Resident Evil 2 2019
10. Grand Theft Auto V

The 10 best-selling games of the last 12 months

1. Red Dead Redemption II
2. Call of Duty: Black Ops IIII
3. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate*
4. NBA 2K20
5. Mortal Kombat 11
6. Borderlands 3
7. Madden NFL 20
8. NBA 2K19
9. Battlefield V
10. Kingdom Hearts III

Nintendo Switch

1. The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening*
2. Mario Kart 8*
3. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate*
4. Spyro Reignited Trilogy
5. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild*
6. Super Mario Maker 2*
7. Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes Of An Elusive Age*
8. Astral Chain*
9. New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe*
10. Super Mario Party*

Nintendo 3DS

1. Pokemon: Ultra Sun*
2. Pokemon: Ultra Moon*
3. Super Mario Maker*
4. The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D*
5. Mario Kart 7*
6. Super Mario 3D Land*
7. Super Smash Bros.*
8. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D*
9. Minecraft*
10. Luigi’s Mansion*

Various tidbits

- spending across video game hardware, software, accessories, and game cards totaled $1.278 billion, down 8%
- year-to-date spending across tracked video game hardware, software, accessories, and game cards fell 6% to $8.3 billion
- dollar sales of tracked video game software declined 4% in September versus a year ago, to $732 million
- growth in Switch and Xbox One software sales could not offset declines on PlayStation 4
- year-to-date dollar sales of tracked video game software are flat at $3.9 billion
- gains in sales of Nintendo Switch software have been offset by declines across all other platforms
- NBA 2K20 debuts as the best-selling game of September 2019, and becomes the best-selling game of 2019 year-to-date
- NBA 2K20 launch-month sales were the highest for any sports game in history
- Switch was again the best-selling hardware platform of September and remains the best-selling platform of 2019
- hardware spending in September 2019 fell 22 percent when compared to a year ago, to $240 million
- year-to-date hardware spending has declined 21 percent versus year ago, to $1.9 billion
- Switch is the only platform with sales gains both in September as well as year-to-date
- total September 2019 spending on accessories and game cards fell 7 percent when compared to a year ago, to $306 million
- year-to-date sales of accessories and game cards have fallen 2 percent when compared to a year ago, to $2.6 billion
- interactive-gaming-toy dollar sales jumped more than eight times when compared to September 2018
- this was driven by growth of Smash Bros. Series 1 Amiibo and Link’s Awakening Series 1 Amiibo


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