Nintendo's Fils-Aime: Microsoft, Sony need to react to us

The last thing his company needs to do, says the president of Nintendo of America, is react to its rivals.

Don Reisinger
CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
2 min read
Nintendo's Wii U
Nintendo's Wii U Sarah Tew/CNET

Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime has some sharp words for Microsoft and Sony: you react to us, not the other way around.

Speaking to CNET in a telephone interview today, Fils-Aime brushed off an assertion that the Wii U could be faced with irrelevancy issues if Microsoft and Sony launch their new consoles in the coming year, as expected.

"In the end, our competitors need to react to what we're doing in the marketplace and need to figure out what their innovation will be," Fils-Aime told CNET. "It's likely that faster processors and pretty pictures won't be enough to motivate consumers. They need to react to what we've done and we need to continue innovating with the Wii U and we will."

Nintendo launched its Wii U console last week. According to Fils-Aime, his company has sold 400,000 units in the U.S. since that launch. The Wii U is being called the first next-generation console, but with HD support and graphics that about match the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, some say it's actually a way for Nintendo to catch up to the current generation and the company launched the device too soon.

"We don't believe so," Fils-Aime said in response to those claims. "For us, launching new systems is about bringing new consumer experiences to the marketplace and we're doing that with Nintendo land and third-party publishers are doing it with games like ZombiU. For us, now is the right time to launch new hardware."

Still, the Wii U will need to compete with products that will likely deliver vastly improved hardware compared to Nintendo's option. Last week, Xbox World magazine leaked details it says it has surrounding Microsoft's next console, the Xbox 720. That device, according to the magazine, will include improved graphics, an enhanced motion-gaming experience with the Kinect 2.0, and a Blu-ray drive. If those features came to the Xbox 720, the device would be far more powerful than the Wii U.

Sony is believed to be working on a similarly powerful PlayStation 4.

At least so far, Fils-Aime isn't concerned. He said that "consumer response [to the Wii U] has been very positive," adding that the device's performance to this point is "quite comparable" to the Wii, indicating the Wii U could match what is one of the most popular consoles of all time.

In the end, Fils-Aime doesn't see the Wii U as a standalone piece of hardware, but as "a living, breathing" product that will continue to be improved over the coming years.