Normally, a report titled "The 70th Annual General Meeting of Shareholders Q&A" would be as high up on my reading list as a sequel to Anna Karenina co-authored by Stephenie Meyer and Lauren Conrad. Fortunately, this particular report happens to be Nintendo's 70th Annual General Meeting of Shareholders Q&A, and as such is peppered with juicy hints about the 3DS' possible parental control safeguards, Shigeru Miyamoto's next project, and the much-anticipated Wii 2.
In a particularly intriguing section of the report, Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata may have given away a touch more than he meant to. When asked if Nintendo were developing new products, Iwata had this to say:
"Speaking of other products, we are of course studying and developing the next console to Wii. However, there is a big difference between studying a product and announcing what it is and when we will release it. I am afraid to say that the history of entertainment is also the history of imitation. A great idea will promptly be copied unless protected through patents. At the same time, it is really important for our business to positively surprise people. Will you be surprised by our completed product if we told you how it is surprising three years in advance?"
Now carefully read that section again. Is it my imagination, or did Iwata just let slip that the Wii 2 is still three years away? While the Nintendo faithful would dearly love a Wii follow-up as soon as possible, three years may make more sense from a business perspective. After all, despite the typical, boorish claims to the contrary, Nintendo is in a much better position than either Microsoft or Sony, as far as nailing down a release date for their next console goes.
It also seems that the advent of the Move and Kinect interfaces have put the Big N on the defensive, as this Q&A, as well as recent interviews, have reiterated Nintedo's belief that almost-absolute secrecy is the best way to do business in order to avoid imitation from certain competitors.
"Therefore, we basically disclose information on our products as late as possible. We believe this is the best approach for the entertainment products we are developing. Again, we are planning the next products for Nintendo's continuous growth, but we cannot tell you what, when and how we will release it here."
While I remain just as excited as anyone to see Nintendo's next big thing, I believe that releasing it in three years makes the most sense. A 2013 release date for Wii 2 gives the 3DS enough time to shine without stealing any of the initial spotlight, and also allows Nintendo to adjust their strategy as Sony and Microsoft clarify their own plans. Plus, I already predicted that the Wii 2 would come out in 2013 and I absolutely hate being wrong.
Fanboyish rants aside, how long do you think Nintendo can wait before releasing the Wii 2? Who do you think will be the first out with their new console and why?