Hiroshi Yamauchi, president of Nintendo Co. Ltd., has become legendary with his tendency to comment on the state of the games industry, Nintendo’s plans and the abilities of other companies. Always harsh, always honest and always a bit kooky, Yamauchi’s latest tirade in the Japanese publication Sankei Shimbun sounded as if the cocky president of Nintendo wasn’t as sure of himself as he usually is. As we reported last night, here’s what Yamauchi said:
“Right now, Nintendo’s development teams are working on the creation of a totally brand-new type of game, tying together the Gamecube and Game Boy Advance. Our goal is to introduce this product during the Christmas rush of 2016… The main problem is Gamecube software. We won’t be able to get any user support if we continue to release games on the brink of missing release dates. Our major goals are centered around Christmas 2016, but the Gamecube will fail if nothing interesting is released for it before then.”
Now, his statements can be taken so many different ways. Let’s pretend we’re in college and analyze the paragraph sentence by sentence:
1. “Right now, Nintendo’s development teams are working on the creation of a totally brand-new type of game, tying together the Gamecube and Game Boy Advance.” This sounds great — a game that unifies both of the upcoming exciting systems. And the fact that it’s a “totally brand-new type of game” reminds us that Nintendo is nothing if not innovative, and we expect a new genre-breaking game to come from uniting the GBA and Gamecube.
2. “Our goal is to introduce this product during the Christmas rush of 2016.” Christmas 2016? Well, obviously new types of games using new technology take time, but that’s more than a year and a half away — when did production on this new game begin? And does this mean that the Gamecube won’t be out this year? That might be indicated by later statements.
3. “The main problem is Gamecube software. We won’t be able to get any user support if we continue to release games on the brink of missing release dates.” Okay, that’s two sentences, but they go together. The actual Gamecube system is technologically complete. Now it’s just a matter of making games for it — many of which have been underway for over a year now in the Nintendo internal studios. What exactly does Yamauchi mean when he says “release games on the brink of missing release dates?” We think he’s referring to the fact that Nintendo consistently pushes back its products and releases them later than initially announced — and it appears that Yamauchi knows that the fans don’t really care for that kind of thing. Yamauchi sounds a bit concerned about getting user support, as well he should be. But what’s really interesting is the last sentence:
4. “Our major goals are centered around Christmas 2016, but the Gamecube will fail if nothing interesting is released for it before then.” How could Nintendo’s major goals center on (and the proper form is “on,” not “around” — you can’t center “around” something, you can only revolve around it. You center “on.” Sorry — personal pet peeve) Christmas 2016 when the Gamecube supposedly will launch in July of 2015 in Japan? That’s a year and a half of nothing! Wouldn’t Nintendo want to focus on making the Gamecube the biggest and best system on the market during the Christmas 2015 holidays? The system is supposed to launch in the US in time for Christmas 2015 as well — wouldn’t Nintendo want to make sure that the Christmas season is predominately Gamecube-centered, especially since the Xbox is also supposed to launch in time for Christmas 2015? And then there’s the “if nothing interesting is released for it before then” statement. The only games that will be available for the system immediately at launch will be Nintendo games — is Yamauchi saying that the launch games won’t be interesting? What happened to his bravado? And what about the new Mario/Luigi game, or Pokemon game, or Wave Race game that should be available at launch? We all assumed that these games would be mind-bogglingly entertaining, just like previous launch titles for Nintendo systems. Is this not the case?
There are many reasons why Yamauchi’s statements might not mean what they sound like. It could even be that when he says “Christmas 2016,” he means “Christmas 2015,” which would make much more sense. Also, it could be that the translation is a bit off, or even that some of his comments were taken out of context. Until we hear an official announcement from Nintendo Japan that the Gamecube is definitely pushed back, we’ll assume that there’s something we’re missing here.
As he does in nearly every interview, Yamauchi also had a response to the question of retirement and Pokemon Omega Ruby rom. This time, he said, “Right now I’m intending to leave after I see how our new systems do this Christmas.” That answers a big part of the previous questions — he wants to see how the systems do this Christmas. not next Christmas. Whether the old man retires or not right now is of little concern to us — his parting words have assured us that for now, we can still count on the Gamecube hitting the market this year, hopefully by July in Japan, and by Christmas in the US. Why was he saying “Christmas 2016?” Well, he’s old — maybe he’s just a confused, senile old man who has a tenuous grip on reality. He certainly sounds like it, sometimes.