I hardly ever agree to do phone interviews
– there's something about actually being able to sit face-to-face with someone that makes a conversation flow
– but when Reggie Fils-Aime, Nintendo's Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing, calls, you gotta accept
the charges. Read on to see what Reggie has to say about the new Nintendo DS (and how it's not
“unreasonable” to assume that a third DS is in the works), the current state of the Revolution (and how
that really is just a code name), how they're planning to introduce a new franchise on the level of
Zelda/Mario/Nintendogs at E3 this year, how underwhelmed he was by the Xbox 360, and how he absolutely, positively has
not seen that Nintendo ON video that was circulating last year.
Thank you for taking a few minutes to chat with me today, I know you have a very busy schedule right now. One of the first things I wanted to ask you about is the new Nintendo DS Lite which was announced in Japan a couple of weeks ago. Is this what the DS should have been when it was first introduced back in 2004?
When the DS was first announced our focus really was on communicating to consumers and to developers the innovation that’s in that unit: two screens, a touch screen, voice activation. And we’ve certainly done that to the tune of multi-millions of units sold across the world. We really a leadership position in every market we compete in versus our competition.
In terms of the physical unit itself, from the day we first showed pictures we’ve been ongoing making tweaks and adjustments, looking to get it as beautiful and as distinctive as possible. What we showed at E3 ended up being different than what we launched with. And certainly what this iteration represents is our ongoing effort to leverage product design to make our innovations and products as attractive as possible.
We will continue to make ongoing adjustments and tweaks to our product design, always with the eye of the consumer in mind.
Does that mean we could probably expect a third iteration of the DS about 18 months from now?
I wouldn’t say that that’s an unreasonable assumption. Look at how many times we’ve improved on the Game Boy Advance in terms of the look, the feel, screen changes, and everything else. We believe that type of constant innovation is critical to driving this industry, and certainly if you look at the world wide sales of Game Boy Advance, I don’t think anyone would disagree.
Have you set a timetable for when the DS Lite will be available here in North America?
We have not announced the date and we won’t be announcing a date for the foreseeable future. We are working through our inventories and our allocations of product and frankly, we are doing everything we can just to meet current demand. Japan has already announced that they will launch in early March and they have the same challenges of meeting that very high level of demand.
We need to make sure that we have enough product in hand for us to launch effectively here in North America and as soon as we feel we are in that position we’ll announce it.