This year we discuss social media, Miiverse, and other Wii U topics.
Once again, Amber McCollom, Nintendo of America’s Director of Entertainment & Trend Marketing, who has been with the company since 2003 was kind enough to take time out of her busy schedule to talk with us. You can read the previous interview done last year at E3 with Amber here. As for this year, we wasted no time in diving right into a barrage of questions.
NintendoGal.com: Mr. Iwata was shown in a photo on the official Twitter account for Nintendo to be helping monitor social networking during the Nintendo Direct presentation. Does this mean Nintendo is taking a more hands-on approach to social media in general than before?
Amber McCollom: Social media is a big deal for Nintendo now. The last year was our first year on Facebook and since then we’ve grown our fan base to 20,000,000 across all of our pages. A lot of the content that was posted by Mr. Iwata at #IwataSays is taken really well by our audience as witnessed by the number of shares by fan to other communities. We know the content that we’re putting out, that Mr. Iwata is putting out is being enjoyed and shared amongst the community. So, we’re pretty pleased!
NG: Will we be seeing more of Scott Moffitt from now on now that we’ve seen him on stage?
AM: So Scott Moffit our EVP of Sales and Marketing is a big voice for us here at E3. Typically that position is a big part of the speaker bench for Nintendo. At tonight’s [at the time of this interview, June 6th, 2012] Software Showcase you’re going to definitely expect more from him for Nintendo.
NG: Generally Nintendo is known for slowly trickling out information about their upcoming products, why was there so much released during E3 week (this includes the Nintendo Direct presentation) as opposed to staggering this out over more time?
AM: Well I can tell you there’s plenty more to announce for Wii U leading up to launch this holiday, but we did announce more than we typically would at an E3. We had not only our presentation for the E3 show, our Nintendo Direct on Sunday night [June 3rd, 2012], and a number of other communication whether it be social or traditional media outlets. We just had a lot to tell media and consumers about leading up to the presentation to make sure everyone really understood the basics of what we wanted. We wanted everyone to understand before we went into the show. So we also wanted to show a lot of what we call “hands-on” with Wii U so that people really understand what it looks like for people to play together.
NG: Was the decision not to release the date and price information based on the fact that there’s just so much information that has been released this week?
AM: You know what, I think if you look back to a number of console launches of Nintendo, it’s pretty consistent. So in 2006 when we launched Wii, we didn’t announce the launch date or price at that E3 show. It was trickled out a little bit closer to the actual launch. So it’s pretty true to form with the Nintendo process to trickle that information out a little bit later. E3 for us this year was really all about games, so we didn’t want to take away from the excitement and passion of our fans getting excited about games by adding in additional info.
NG: The Wii’s marketing seemed to focus much more on the controller and how games are played, rather than the games themselves. Will the Wii U be shown in a similar light?
AM: You know it’s interesting how you bring up how we marketed Wii in that we really brought motion control to life. Similar to when we launched Wii in 2006 we had to really educate people about what motion control was all about. It wasn’t apart of the video game landscape at that time. When we launched Wii more of the focus was how you play the game in addition to the games. Here we are in 2012 launching Wii U, the average consumer understands motion control, so the focus can really be more about the games, which is getting people really excited.
NG: Are the cable companies aware of the TV functionality of Wii U and are they helpful?
AM: So far this is only just a function that’s within the Wii U controller and an added benefit to a user at home. (Editor’s note: More information may or may not be forthcoming in the future on this subject as I was told they would put me in touch with the proper companies.)
NG: Will Miiverse be pre-installed on all Wii U systems?
AM: Miiverse comes right out of the box. The moment you setup your Wii U at home and connect it to the internet, you’ll be able to use Miiverse.
NG: Is Nintendo trying to compete in the social media network arena with companies like Facebook with Miiverse?
AM: Miiverse is really a response to our fans’ request to be more connected and social while playing games. So it’s a really unique way for communities that already exist to stay connected. It’s by no means intended to compete with any product that’s on the market.
NG: What sorts of parental control options will there be for Wii U?
AM: Well the good news about Wii U and Nintendo is that we have a long history of parental controls. Families and parents can feel confident in the parental controls that they see in the system. We don’t have details to announce right now, but as with all of our consoles in the past, parental controls are apart of what parents can expect [from us].
NG: Will these parental controls be available to use for Miiverse to protect young ones from the wrong sorts of individuals while they play games?
AM: There’s more to come with the details about parental controls, but I think parents can really feel confident.
NG: On the E3.Nintendo.com site, it mentions that ‘NEARLY” all Wii software and accessories will be able to be used on Wii U. Can you clarify that?
AM: The intent is that controllers that our customers and consumers already have for the Wii will work for the Wii U. So the Wii Remote, Wii Remote Plus, the Wii Balance Board, those are the top three that will be available/usable with Wii U. Any controller that you were playing a game on Wii that was backwards compatible to that system wouldn’t necessarily translate to Wii U. Wii U is backwards compatible with Wii, but nothing [beyond] that.
NG: So the “NEARLY” means just Wii, but all the Wii accessories that are first party?
NG: Thank you for your time!
NintendoGal.com would like to extend a huge thank you to Amber for once again sitting down and chatting with us!