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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

FtBU Chats with NoC MM Farjad Iravani (UPDATE)

At a recent press event on Toronto I was able to sit down for a few minutes with Nintendo of Canada’s marketing manager Farjad Iravani to talk about Nintendo and their new console and how they think the Wii will be received by Canadians.

From the Bottom Up: How does Nintendo plan to build a community online?

Farjad Iravani: Well gamers can head over to and take advantage of our forums or sign up for news updates via email. The Wii’s virtual console will also allow messaging between virtual console owners. We are currently in the early stages of our online plan so do not have anything definite but there is the potential for growth a little further down the road.

FtBU: Friend codes or friends list what direction do you see Nintendo heading in?

FI: We are doing some things but I don’t want to speculate on specifics.

FtBU: Fair enough. The Nintendo Wii and WiiConnect24 will require users to provide personal information in order to use some aspects of the service. What is Nintendo doing to protect the personal information of their customers?

FI: We are taking “every step possible to obviously make sure when you purchase anything on the virtual console’s shopping channel your information is kept private” You can read more about privacy rules in the Wii manual or on the system itself. In term of games or your information that sits on the system we are taking precautions that for example when you send your unit back to Nintendo for replacement or maintenance we are taking special precautions so that A you get the games you have paid for and B that any information you provided on the system isn’t just sitting in a landfill somewhere.

FtBU: What kind of functionality can we see between the Nintendo Wii and the Nintendo DS?

FI: They are capable of communicating with each other wirelessly but at this stage there are no plans for such functionality.

FtBU: Nintendo previously said that all virtual console game would be playable with the GameCube controller but now according to the Wii’s operation manual that is not the case and people will need to buy the “Classic Controller” to play some virtual console games. Care to comment?

FI: Well it’s kind of complex and what controller you use will depend on the game some games will use the GameCube controller others will use the Classic controller while some will use the Wii controller but it will be made clear when you purchase a game which controller it will require.

FtBU: Any idea of future Wii peripherals similar to Ubisoft’s steering wheel?

We are very focused on the launch at the moment and we have no plans for peripherals over and above what has already been announced. Things are wide open we have licensing agreement with companies like Ubisoft to develop 3rd party peripherals like their steering wheel.

FtBU: There are rumours of a second version of the Wii coming out in late 2007 which will allow DVD playback?

There will be a Wii option released in the 2nd half of 2007 that will be DVD capable it will be a second model in addition to the classic “Canadians” will have a chance at that point to buy the current model or the model that supports DVDs there will be a price difference but it will be available in the 2nd half of 2007.

FtBU: Do you think that Nintendo should focus on DVD playback or continue to focus on providing good gameplay experiences?

FI: We believe that for gaming to be successful that gaming quotient has to be great fun and people will play it. We do realise that some portion of Canadians that want to play the system and have the DVD functionality and that option will be available for them but we wouldn’t want to make everyone buy a DVD player. I would also like to point out that it will be a standard DVD player not the HD or BluRay standard.

FtBU: How do you see the Nintendo Wii competing in Canada against the other consoles that have come on the market specifically the PS3 and Xbox360?

FI: I think we will get a much wider acceptance with the Wii it has something for everyone whether you’re a hardcore experienced gamer you can spend days lost in Zelda or you could be the five year old that plays tennis all day. I think it does appeal to a much much bigger market and the numbers will be much more available and it will be in many many more homes this holiday season.

Well there you have it the future of the Wii in Canada. Thanks to Mr. Iravani for talking to us and Cohn and Wolfe for setting up the interview.

UPDATE: found link to press release from Sonic Solutions regarding Wii DVD playback


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