Thursday, April 20, 2006

New Game Informer Unlimited interview with George Harrison

A poster in the comment section at gonintendo posted the parts of the interview that were new information so this is not the entire thing.

GI: Just because we’re on the subject, did you call Rockstar? Did you ask them? Grand Theft Auto Revolution?

Harrison: I don’t know if we had that specific conversation, but I know that we’ve been in discussions with them. But I was going to say, that that showed us that you never know where the next great game is coming from, so you’ve got to keep the aperture wide open.

Harrison: We heard EA talking about having a few games that they were going to be showing at E3 and also are hoping to launch with.

GI: Is it like, for example, Red Steel uses nunchuck style – is that going to be something like a peripheral that Ubisoft would put out with their game, or will that be something that you get when you buy a Nintendo Revolution or is that going to be something that you have to purchase on top of a Revolution?

Harrison: It would be something that I think Ubisoft or another publisher would have to include in their game, but we’re still working on the actual configuration, so, in terms of the core set, that’s going to lead to a question; I’m sure, about pricing. Well we haven’t announced that yet and we might not even announce it at E3. We’re in something of a cat and mouse game with competitors to see what they’ll say.

GI: Jim Merrick said that you guys were shooting for a worldwide launch of Revolution, is that still the case and do you think that having a worldwide launch is important?

Harrison: Yeah, we’re still shooting for a worldwide launch before the end of the calendar year. I don’t know if it’s going to be even possible for it to be on the same day. We’ll have to see as we get after E3 and see how we feel things are coming along[…] The actual scheduling of these things is something that I’m sure Mr. Iwata will be thinking about over the summer. That’s why I’m saying that E3 you might not hear necessarily a hard launch date, or even a price point.

GI: So what do you think those companies are doing right?

Harrison: Certainly with the case of Sony, they’ve got a huge momentum going for the last decade. They’ve done a good job and so it’s hard to look at and say that there’s one thing that they’ve done well except to say that they’ve managed their business extremely well. Most of the big games that have really put their hardware on the map have come from other people, not from themselves. So they’ve sort of created an environment there where developers could bring the games that put them on the map. And they’ve managed their franchise well over the course of 10 years – longevity. For Xbox, they’re still sort of scrambling and trying to fight their way out. They tried to buy their way in with the first Xbox, and ultimately had one or two particularly good titles on that platform. But they have a different agenda, which is to make it a Trojan horse media center. They’re pushing that very hard and time will tell whether that’s a viable strategy or not.
(Ha, I just thought it was funny to hear someone like Harrison say that the Xbox only had “one or two good” titles… I probably had both of those.)

GI: Will you guys have a lot of third party games in your booth this year, or will it be again focused on Nintendo product?

Harrison: No, I think that we’ll have a wide variety of third party games in our booth. We would also like to have these games featured in the publishers’ booths as well. We tend to live in our own world a little bit, maybe a Nintendo disease, but our booth is five percent of the showfloor.

GI: So what are the lessons you learned from the GameCube?

Harrison: Nintendo, I think historically, until fairly recently, has been pretty closed. Not letting third parties get involved on our systems early, not letting them get going. For Revolution, that was a clear strategy change – get them involved early and you’re not talking about a large number, but a handful of the big successful publishers and developers around the world, get them involved early and let them have access to it. One thing that we certainly learned from PlayStation 2’s success was that you never know where the next hit game is going to come from. Grand Theft Auto had been out there, I think, as a PC game that’s okay, not great. But suddenly it just rocketed and carried the PlayStation 2 along.

GI: Nintendo has been historically, and not through any fault of your own, but it’s been for kids. Is that something that you guys are going to fight or embrace or is there any kind of change that you see with the Revolution changing that perception? I’m not saying it’s real…

Harrison: No, it is a real perception. But for us it’s somewhat mystifying because we look at the demographics of who has bought our hardware systems and it’s 40 percent over the age of 18 for GameCube and that type of thing. So it’s never been as complete as people make it seem or seem to believe. I think it’s in terms more of all family and approachable. The number of people who are in college fraternities and in their 20s and 30s playing Mario Kart is kind of astounding. But if you go out to talk with your friends, you’re, “oh yeah. I don’t play Mario Kart, I play Need for Speed: Underground,” or something. To us, we’re trying to make sure we don’t hide from what we are and make sure we’re open to as many people as possible and present it that way. If there’s a hardcore 17 or 18 year old that says, “I’m not interested in GameCube, I need Grand Theft Auto,” we might not be able to convince them that we can be to their tastes. But there’s a whole wide market on the outside of that that are under the age of 15 and over 25 that we think are yet to… and if you can get more people in the household involved in playing the games, we think that that will ultimately lead to greater purchases and sell software itself.

GI: Are there any possibilities with the Revolution with having games like the DS that you could be moving objects with the stylus on the DS that would move things in the Revolution game? Play something like “Fly Swat” where someone could be the bug and someone could be the swatter? Is there any interaction between those two systems that cool and different?

Harrison: Yeah. I haven’t seen any demonstrations of it yet.[…] I don’t think it’s a huge priority, at least I don’t think you’ll see any examples of it at E3.

GI: So at E3 this year, we’re going to be playing these on beta kits? Or how close are you to having finished hardware that people will have and be showing games on?

Harrison: They’re pretty finished. So I think that in terms of the quality and capability of what you’re going to see at E3, it’s exactly as the games could look when they’re finished. NCL is going to drag all of the equipment over, and they don’t generally let the marketing people see what’s going on. But there will be a large, large number of Revolution stations there at the show and a wide variety of games. We know that this is a critical show for us.

GI: And the games for the virtual console, do you think those will all be available at launch or do you think that you’re going to stagger those?

Harrison: They’ll be a staggered release. We talked about it and everyone got really excited about the entire library of games, but the truth is that each game takes a little bit of work. So there are development teams set aside to just work on those sorts of things. We also don’t think that if you opened up and had a library of 500 games, that you’d necessarily have the most impact with the virtual console.

Link to story

Nice to hear that Nintendo is really focusing on getting the third party support early on with the Revolution. This could really help them in with the future competition with Sony and Microsoft.

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