Nintendo may be top dog, but if Satoru Iwata has anything to say about it, no one in the company will be wasting time basking in the glow of success. With all their recent success, he told Newsweek's N'Gai Croal way back at E3, the company's biggest challenge right now is pretty basic: don't let it get to them. "I believe my most important role right now is to prevent Nintendo from being in a company where people say, 'Oh, Nintendo is arrogant,' 'Nintendo has let its guard down,' or 'Nintendo has lost its challenging spirit.' We want to avoid all of the pitfalls that can come from losing one's momentum." It's a very sensible goal, and we've seen this sort of determination from Iwata before.
Though most of the article is about the new kid on the block, Iwata makes a lot of comparisons to the cycle of the DS, particularly in regard to the increase of third party titles relative to Nintendo's own games. And hey, if you have to follow anyone, the DS has certainly set up an excellent model!
One of the more interesting parts of the interview reveals some of the motivation behind a strategy many "hardcore" gamers are decrying: Nintendo's focus on "games for everyone." Iwata believes that part of the reason the recent Zelda title, Twilight Princess, didn't do as well in Japan as he'd hoped was due to a perception that the game was too difficult for many gamers. But Twilight Princess continues to sell there well after release, so obviously the PR machine's more recent focus has helped to change the game's reputation. Iwata also pressed the point about market expansion both here, as it relates to the Wii, gamers of all types, and the untapped hordes waiting to become gamers, but also in light of the DS and Nintendo's success there in bringing gaming to the masses. We can't wait to get our hands on Phantom Hourglass to see all of this put to the test ... and perhaps we'll convince some non-gaming friends to give it a try as well.