Reggie: Expanding the Base with Wii

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Reggie Fils-Aime, President of Nintendo of America, wrote an op-ed of sorts on talking about the Wii and how Nintendo is approaching things this generation. Reggie writes about the “haves” and the “have-nots”. “One person is probably expected to provide solutions when it’s time to install the wireless network, redirect the satellite dish, or retrieve a lost document. The have-nots sit and wait.” He sees the same thing happening in the gaming industry, with the hardcore gamers adopting new consoles reliably, but chipping “off potential new players from the total market, narrowing the consumers into a smaller niche.”

Reggie writes that he sees two challenges for technology as a whole. “First, how do you satisfy the core while still expanding appeal? And second, how do you leverage your strengths against entirely untapped audiences–to the so-called ‘blue oceans’ in popular marketing speak?” His solution is innovation, which Nintendo is trying to do with the Wii. “Initially, the ‘core’ of any industry will scoff. But if the product is right, enough new users will be attracted to form an alternative definition for progress.”

Nintendo’s approach with the Wii is radically different from Sony’s and Microsoft’s with their PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Not only is there a gulf in the price, but also in the technology that the companies are offering the consumers. Reggie believes there are two schools of thought. To attract new users, “I would suggest that for them, ‘smaller/cheaper/easier’ is a far more likely road to riches, while ‘more of the same’ eventually proves to be a dead-end street.” Reggie goes on to compare the Wii’s news, weather and Internet channels to the repurposing of breakfast cereal into a breakfast bar.