Rod Cousens, chief executive at publisher Codemasters, has been talking about Nintendo's first-party software dominance, the sustainability of the 60-year-old audience, and the possible introduction of 'Wii 2.'
Posted by James Brightman on Tuesday, January 08, 2008
In a lengthy interview to be published with the GameDaily BIZ newsletter Wednesday morning, Codemasters CEO Rod Cousens provided some interesting commentary on the current console war and Nintendo's incredible success with the Wii and DS to date.
Cousens, like other third-party publishers, lamented the fact that Nintendo always dominates software sales on its own platforms. "The global event that's been marked as a surprise for most people is the huge success that Nintendo's achieved in every territory... The challenge that third-party software publishers face in supporting that market is that it's clearly a market dominated by the first party and always has been," he said. "If you look back at the Nintendo track record over the last 20-25 years, it's a typical situation where Nintendo will take 60-70 percent of the market and third parties will compete for the remaining 40 percent. One of the challenges is: will that result in a sudden flood of software by third parties onto a platform that's currently seen as the Holy Grail, and as a consequence there's a lot of wastage?"
Later in the interview he added, "If you go back to the Nintendo model when it first started you had a five-product license and so one of the ways in which software publishers dealt with that was to go and buy a competitor so you could increase your output to 10. It was a way of managing product outflow both from a first- and third-party perspective, but it was always done on the basis that even if you bought up another five-product license you still knew the available share to you was something on the order of 40 percent and that the product flow, which was cartridge-based at the time, seemed to be managed in a way so that's how it folded out. Well, I'm not so sure that the current wave is any different, because I hear there's manufacturing shortages, and too much software... and these are all consistent characteristics."
Cousens then touched on the ideas that the 60-year-old "Brain Training" market may dry up and Nintendo may need to launch a "Wii 2" sooner than we think.
"I think this cycle has got a long way to go and it's certainly not over. Anyone writing off Sony and Microsoft do so at their peril. I could give you an argument that says there's going to be a 'Wii 2' pretty quickly because [Nintendo would need one] in order to sustain momentum over a 10-year period. And what type of software would it have then? Because right now it isn't driven by technological supremacy or power. I wonder if the idea of opening up a whole new audience to 60-year-olds looking to make sure their brain cells don't die off is a sustainable form of entertainment. Maybe they got it right because we are all an aging population in Western markets, but I somehow think as a form of entertainment that won't be the case," he concluded.
The complete interview talks about Codemasters' best year in its 22-year history and how the U.K.-based publisher is continuing to evolve as it targets the U.S. market with a greater focus.
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