Fils-Aime then went on to explain Nintendo's seriousness about expanding what they do, creating games, "not only for the hardcore gamers, but to satisfy all gamers, and do it better than the competition". He, then, flung a couple of thorns into the sides of Sony and Microsoft, accusing Sony of providing a lot to gamers, as long as they're willing to do it on their "memory sticks", and accusing Microsoft of providing a lot to the world, as long as they do it "on their operating system". Fils-Aime then re-emphasized his point, "It's all about the games".
Next on stage was George Harrison, NOA Senior Vice President of Marketing and Corporate Communications. Harrison's remarks were clearly aimed at investors and gamers who had feared Nintendo was losing its hold on the video gaming market. "Without Nintendo, there would be no growth," Harrison stated as he showed bar graphs depicting the negative growth in the overall video gaming market, with a 9% drop in Q4 2003 and a 5% drop in Q1 2004, then providing new bars which were Nintendo specific. Despite the falling industry, Nintendo has risen 21% in Q4 2003 and 7% in Q1 2004. Harrison then reminded the audience that, despite what other console makers want you to think, "This generation is not over". While Sony has sold 6 million consoles in the past 12 months, and Nintendo sold 3.3 million, Harrison reminded us that that's a 41% increase for Nintendo over the past 12 months, and a 28% decrease for Sony. Microsoft had zero growth with their 3.2 million consoles sold this past year.
Harrison then went on to discuss their three part formula for success. Part one is to entertain the hard core gamer with the aforementioned games, "Metroid Prime 2", "Starfox" and "Resident Evil 4". Part two is to maintain a sense of familiarity with characters such as Mario, Link, Pokemon, Yoshi and others. Games mentioned in relation to part two were "Donkey Kong: Jungle Beat", "Pikmin 2", "Paper Mario 2", "Mario Party 6", and "Advance Wars: Under Fire". The third part of the formula is that of maintaining the "value advantage", something Microsoft and Sony can't touch as the Gamecube still stands at $99. Harrison also threw the upcoming Classic NES Series for the Gameboy Advance, eight classic NES games for only $19.99.
The Gameboy Advance captured the spotlight momentarily with news of the GBA Wireless Adaptor, which will be compatible with more than a dozen games, and the GBA Video Adaptor, which has already sold 2 million units. Harrison gave a few seconds to Sony's upcoming handheld, the "PSP". He admitted there would be an initial appeal for gamers to look at the PSP, but, with 25 million GBAs expected to be sold when the PSP launches, GBA durability that surpasses the PSP, an expected longer GBA battery life, and exclusive must have titles, gamers will no doubt "vote for the Gameboy". Harrison went on to say the greatest weakness of Sony and Nokia upon launch of their handhelds is lack of a "killer application".
After the DS presentation, Nintendo President Satoru Iwata came forward to discuss how proud he is of his company. "Nintendo will create a gaming revolution," he stated, then explained technology is not what's important. "Simply beefing up graphics is not enough," he said, then went on to say being different and challenging gamers and developers is what counts. Iwata spoke of the new Nintendo console, tempted the audience with specs, then quickly reminded everyone that, "Tech specs don't matter".
As the presentation drew to a close, Fils-Aime stated there was one more movie he'd like the audience to see. It looked like a nice preview of "Tales of Symphonia", but, a few seconds in, a boy riding a horse flew by. It could only be one boy and one horse: Link and Epona. Tossing aside all rumors of "The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker 2" came images of the Zelda game we were all hoping for before the cel-shaded Zelda was announced...a dark Zelda tale of a grown up Link who acts and looks different.
After the film, a sword and shield wielding Shigeru Miyamoto took the spotlight to officially announce the un-named "Zelda" title for the Gamecube. He promised to "give players what they want", swung his sword, and left the stage to a cheering audience.
Nintendo redefined themselves today. Before, they were losing. Now, they're in a league of their own. This could be very, very good...