NintendoGal.com Interviews Amber McCollom E3 2011 [UPDATE]

We discuss Wii U, 3DS, and the direction of Nintendo.

Amber McCollom: My name is Amber McCollom and I’m the Director of Entertainment & Trend Marketing at Nintendo of America.

NintendoGal.com: How long have you been with Nintendo?

AM: I’ve been with Nintendo for eight years since 2003 and used to work at our Redmond office, our headquarters.  Now I’m located out of our New York office.

NG: How long have you been at the New York office?

AM: I’ve been working in the New York office since it opened in 2007.

NG: Do you like it there?

AM: New York is great!  It’s a great experience, great place to live.

NG: Did you help work on the launch of the Nintendo 3DS and if so, did you enjoy it?

AM: I did, I worked quite a bit with the Nintendo 3DS launch.  I do a lot of our entertainment and trend marketing and also a lot of our social media tactics.  So working with bloggers, Twitter, Facebook.  We definitely have a lot of activity going on in the entertainment space as well.  There’s a lot of celebrities that love Nintendo 3DS, so we armed those celebrities with the tools they needed to spread the word for Nintendo 3DS.

NG: How much planning and effort has gone into the Zelda 25th Anniversary Celebration?

AM: You know there’s a lot of planning and effort that goes into any celebration.  Zelda specifically, coming on the tails of the Mario 25th Anniversary, you want to make it equally as impactful.  You may have heard about the concert series that’s going on in a number of different markets in the next few months.  I know there’s more information to come on that, but that’s really a big part of the celebration, is the orchestra element.

NG: Nintendo recently hired Scott Moffitt, but we didn’t see him on stage this year.  Can we expect to see him at another date?

AM: You know Scott just joined Nintendo about two months ago and he’s really here at Nintendo getting up to speed on the industry.  Stay tuned for where you see Scott in the future, but I would anticipate him having a larger role in the future.

NG: It could be argued that Nintendo has lost credibility among the mainstream and traditional gamers.  Will the Wii U bring those gamers back do you think?

AM: You know the Wii U and some of the games we showcased at our E3 Media Briefing will definitely bring back the core gamer.  It’ll also really get the expanded audience excited about gaming and keep them gaming.  A number of titles we showed from our 3rd parties will definitely get people excited.

NG: Did the information leaks force Nintendo’s hand for this year’s E3?

AM: YOu know what?  I wouldn’t call it an information leak with the Wii U.  I know that Nintendo put out some information in advance of E3 and I think there’s a number of different ways to approach E3.  In 2005 when we showed the Wii for the first time, that was the first time anyone had ever seen or mentioned Wii.  This time we decided to talk about the Wii successor in advance of E3 to get people excited.  Then we announced more details and the name Wii U at the show to keep that buzz going.  I think it’s just a choice with how you decide to share information with consumers.

NG: Was Reggie’s comment about not talking about the Wii successor until forty-five million units sold in the US optomism on Nintendo’s part?

AM: You know I do remember that comment by Reggie, the forty-five million number and I see that comment as more of a euphemistic speaking phrase.  So I don’t think it’s something we wanted to hang our hat on, but he was speaking euphemistically from my perspective.

NG: Will Nintendo require all developers to output their games in 1080P?

AM: I would say the Wii U is built for 1080p [as a system], so I would anticipate the games would need to be required in that format.

NG: Will Wii U be returning Nintendo towards a more traditional gamer friendly attitude?

AM: Well you know I think with Nintendo we always want to meet the requirements and the interests of the gamers.  The great lineup that we have coming out between now and the holidays and 2012, I think between the 3DS and Wii U and still the great games that are coming out for the Wii that gamers and expanded audience alike will find something that interests them.

NG: I noticed on backwards compatibility at the press conference that the GameCube was missing.  Why is this?

AM: You know it’s interesting that you bring up backwards compatibility and Nintendo’s history usually goes back one system.  The Wii was compatible with GameCube and Wii U will be compatible with Wii and that’s pretty traditional in launches from Nintendo.

NG: So the Wii U will not support the discs or accessories?

AM: Actually the GameCube discs will not be compatible with Wii U, but a number of the games that were playable on GameCube can be downloaded from WiiWare.

NG: Are you limited on one Wii U controller per console and how many Wii Remotes plus this new controller be used/supported at the same time?  I was kind of wondering about this when I played the Battle Mii game.

AM: Well here at E3 we’re showing Wii U experiences with one new controller.  We don’t have anything to announce at this time on how many controllers will effectively work with the system, but right now we’re showing it with one new controller.

NG: Do you expect to see sales of Wii drop significantly with the announcement of Wii U?

AM: To speak to the Wii system and sales coming up, you might have noticed we did recently dropped the price of the Wii system to $149.99 and it comes bundled with Mario Kart Wii, so [it's] a huge value to consumers.  There’s still an audience out there for people who don’t have a Wii [and] really enjoy gaming on the Wii system and will find a lot of value.

NG: The Nintendo 3DS was one of the very few Nintendo systems to launch without a first party mainstay franchise.  Was this an intentional move on Nintendo’s part?

AM: The Nintendo 3DS is really just out of the gate.  As we know it just launched two months ago and we came out with three really fun games.  One Nintendo franchise you could say, Nintendogs + cats, it does go back to the roots of Nintendogs which we launched in 2006 for the DS.  I would just say stay tuned for more exciting content for Nintendo 3DS.  With us just only being out at market for two months, we have a long future for that system.

NG: Why Luigi’s Mansion 2 on 3DS and why not on a console as it first was?

AM: Luigi’s Mansion when it first came out ten years ago had a huge fan base.  The developers do make that decision on what system they decide to make it on.  They decided this would be much more fun with the ability to use the stylus.  You know how the gameplay works, how you’re searching for ghosts and using the vacuum to suck in the ghosts.  The gameplay experience is just much more fun on a handheld for this time for Luigi’s Mansion 2.

NG: Has 3DS impacted the sales of Nintendo DS?

AM: It’s really fascinating to see that there is an audience for a number of DS products at the market. So DSi is still selling well along with Nintendo 3DS because they’re obviously a number of different needs and wants that gamers have. DSi and Nintendo 3DS meet the needs of those consumers.

NG: I’ve noticed that Nintendo has been a lot more active on the social media scene.  Is Nintendo going to be reaching even more so, perhaps on Facebook and whatever else is on the horizon on social media?

AM: Nintendo launched its official Facebook page on Monday [June 6th] to coincide with E3 week.  So I encourage you and your audience to check it out.  We’re already up to more than five million Likes, so we’re really happy with the progress.

NG: Will there be any exclusive content on that page [Facebook]?

AM: Absolutely.  On Nintendo’s Facebook page you can expect to see exclusive content, visitor comments, and a lot of fun information you won’t get anywhere else.

NG: That wraps that up, thanks!

NintendoGal.com would like to thank Amber for her time to answer our questions.

UPDATE – Nintendo has updated the statement made about GameCube games on WiiWare:

To clarify the capabilities of the Wii U system: As correctly stated, Wii U will not play Nintendo GameCube discs, however Nintendo has not made any announcements regarding downloadable content.