In an interview with Mashable (link), Nintendo of America President, Reggie Fils-Aime to talk about a range of things. One of which is Nintendo’s secrecy.
In the interview, Reggie acknowledged that Nintendo does keep their cards close to their chest and only distribute information at a need to know basis, but it is not done without reason. According to Reggie, the secrecy is to surprise fans when they’re ready to act on it.
“The fans should know that we are not a company that is sitting in a little ivory tower and not thinking about all of these dynamics,” Fils-Aime said. “[We’re] a company that likes to keep our information very close to the vest, and announce information when it’s ready and when all of the elements are fully fleshed out.”
It’s true, Nintendo has historically been one of the cagier video game companies out there, even in an industry that is known for being extra cautious about what gets announced and when. It’s a common marketing strategy: They want to control the narrative as much as possible before it gets away from them. Of course, that’s not exactly how Fils-Aime framed it.
“We love to surprise people,” Fils-Aime said. “We also believe that the consumer should have the information when they’re ready to act on it. Telling someone about a game that’s four of five, six years away from actually launching? Just doesn’t make a ton of sense to us. But sharing information in order to frame how we are looking at a franchise, looking at an IP, that’s something we do very thoughtfully.”
Also talked about in the interview is how in today’s online world, people get to voice their opinion and it does not always reflect Nintendo in a good light despite them not knowing the full story.
“As we look at the overall business, we’re constantly looking to do the right thing for the consumer,” Fils-Aime said. He brought up the Switch, Nintendo’s newest console, as an example. The company made 2 million units available at launch, despite, Fils-Aime said, analyst recommendations that demand would be much lower.
“We actually sold through almost 2.8 million units, so we dramatically over delivered. And yet, demand outpaces supply,” he said. “So what do some of the consumers on Reddit say? ‘Gosh, Nintendo, if you would’ve made more you would’ve sold more.’ Well, we did make more! And certainly we’re on a pace to supply in the current fiscal year 10 million units.”
Overall, Reggie does make a few compelling statements. The surprise factor of Nintendo is surely unparalleled in the industry. The NES Classic, Minecraft: New Nintendo 3DS Edition, Samus Returns, are just a few examples how Nintendo has pleasantly surprised us in recent times.
As for the Nintendo Switch shortage, I’ll also be hard-pressed to totally push the blame on Nintendo. After the painful flop of Wii U, it will be hard to blame them for the initial wave’s shortcomings.
If you are interested to read more, you can head on the interview on Mashable’s site here.