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Nintendo's Marko Hein on Wi-Fi

Nintendo's head of European developer business on Wi-Fi, weird games and what's to come

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Electroplankton is a very good example - it's not a big seller and everybody knows it. But, it sets certain standards and shows developers and consumers the direction in which Nintendo is thinking and I think we'll see very similar sorts of titles over the course of the Revolution.

How do you go about convincing the market that they want to play something like Electroplankton?

MH: It's not about convincing people to buy it. I think that sort of game gives us a reputation and the hardcore gamers know that Nintendo means something outside the normal types of games. I've been with Nintendo for almost eleven years now and I've seen a lot of games, not only from us but from other companies as well. When you go to E3 you always see the same sorts of games again and again and again. When you've played your one thousandth first-person shooter now you can say "Nice graphics, but what's new?" As an old gamer, I'm very, very hungry for new ideas.

In the US we've see that Electroplankton is going to be available through online purchase only. Is this the kind of strategy we're likely to see in Europe for Nintendo's less mainstream games?

MH: It's not clear yet. I think that this move is pretty clever because with the online channel you reach many of the hardcore gamers who appreciate the innovative nature of these sorts of games. Specifically for Electroplankton, we've not one hundred percent decided how we're distributing it. Of course, as well as the hardcore gamers, online means you do not have to convince retailers to take such a game onto their shelves which probably won't sell in big quantities.

With Nintendo Revolution we're thinking about digital distribution too - maybe not for Revolution games right now but for our back catalogue. I think that's also the step-by-step strategy that Nintendo always follows to see if it works technically and for the consumers and to see if maybe it's an option for the future. Maybe not now because we're depending on the retailers, who're very important partners to us. I don't think we'll be going full-steam towards digital distribution at the moment.

The Wi-Fi Connection Service marks another key step in Nintendo's long history. What would you say your most proud of in terms of the company's achievements?

MH: I'm very proud after all my time at Nintendo that we're really seeing a major shift in where the market is going. We were the first to use the analogue stick, the first to use the rumble pack and so on and I hope that we set certain standards that can be established across all consoles. That makes me proud, that we are always innovative leaders - maybe not leaders in terms of world market space, but leaders in forward thinking. That makes me proud.

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