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“我们不把谷歌称为竞争对手”|《财富》专访任天堂美国总裁

Lisa Marie Segarra 2019年06月23日

《财富》杂志采访了鲍泽,探讨了游戏市场、它的未来以及任天堂如何融入这个市场。

当站在E3这类全球最大的视频游戏盛会的讲台上时,高管们很容易紧张,任天堂北美总裁道格·鲍泽同样也是如此,他紧张的理由比谁都多。

即便不提E3、媒体发布会、声明、消费者反应所带来的一贯压力,鲍泽也不能辱没了公司的长久以来的声誉。他从今年早些时候退休的瑞吉·菲尔斯-阿梅手中接管了公司,很多人依然在观望这位新领导者到底会祭出什么大招。

然而,坐在E3大会任天堂展台的鲍泽看起来很平静,即便讨论的话题涉及游戏行业争夺霸主地位的竞争者不断增加,以及消息泄露让任天堂年度媒体发布会的声明黯然失色,他依然表现的很平静。

《财富》杂志采访了鲍泽,探讨了游戏市场、它的未来以及任天堂如何融入这个市场。出于对篇幅的考虑,并方便读者理解,我们对下文进行了删减。

《财富》杂志:首先,我要问的是,鲍泽是超级玛丽游戏中的人物角色,你是否讨厌人们拿你的姓开玩笑?

道格·鲍泽:不,并非如此。对我而言,它意味着我们拥有一群了不起、有激情的追随者,而且我们的粉丝十分热爱这款游戏。具有讽刺意味的是,我的名字和游戏角色的名字相同,有时候也很有意思,而且我们也会拿这一点来开玩笑,但我和游戏中的角色完全不是一类人。因此,我对别人拿这个开玩笑并不在意。

自从原创的GameBoy游戏机面世以来,任天堂一直是手持设备市场的引领者。你怎么看待5G(将取代4G LTE高速无线网络技术)对公司业务的影响?

如果5G宣称的优点都能够实现,那么我认为它会改善玩游戏时的地点限制问题,也可以增强连接的质量,尤其是线上游戏。

这也就涉及流媒体的问题,这是一个最新的游戏趋势,它能够让玩家在不预先下载游戏的情况下通过流媒体在线体验游戏。你认为任天堂在这一方面会有什么举措?

本周有不少人在讨论这个话题。有意思的是,各大公司已经围绕可以用于提升游戏体验的科技和新技术做了很多工作。很显然,我们会密切关注这一趋势。如今,我们认为Switch(任天堂最新的单机)便可以实现很多上述功能。借助这个设备,人们可以随时随地与任何人畅玩游戏。

我们看到,很多公司都加入了游戏流媒体大军,例如谷歌,但它是一家科技公司并非是游戏公司。看到它们和类似公司进入这一行业,你会采取什么举措?

我认为这个问题涉及游戏业务的实力,以及整个游戏产业。如今,游戏产业是全球第二大娱乐形式,仅次于电视,后者包括视频流媒体和网络电视。游戏行业正在增长,很多公司都将其看作是一个机遇。

你是否把谷歌看作是一位竞争对手?

我们不会选择使用“竞争对手”这个词。但我认为,如果各大公司加入游戏行业这个现象能够让更多的消费者进入这一市场,那么这对于整个行业来说是件好事。

Netflix有一款名为Dark Crystal的游戏,便是其中的一员。它基于即将播出的Netflix连续剧。Netflix在E3上说要将原创内容以游戏的形式表现出来,这一点你怎么看?

有意思的是,我们看到,很多不同类型的娱乐形式能够将自身植入其他平台。我觉得这对于所有公司来说都是一个令人振奋的机遇,因为最终,它可以让我们继续拓展我们的内容,并吸引更多的人参与进来。我认为这是件好事。

在人们眼中,任天堂并非是电子竞技领域的强者。但公司的平台上有很多竞技类游戏,尤其像《明星大乱斗》(Smash Brothers)这类,它在大约半年之前还推出了新款游戏。在你看来,这是否会给任天堂带来更多的电子竞技机会,或者也可能会组建自家的竞技团队?

业界有很多支持竞技类游戏的联盟,而且也有能力通过授权将我们的游戏纳入这些赛事。但我们不打算组建团队,并打造带有奖金的任天堂赛事构架等等。我们觉得现在外部已经有渠道可以做这件事,而且这些渠道都很强大。我只是想参与其中罢了。

我觉得去年对于任天堂来说是异常重要的一年,发布了很多重量级游戏。对于2018年,你怎么看?

去年发布的游戏提升了游戏机的销售业绩。在两年时间内,我们在全球销售了3400万台Switch,而且保持着这一态势。Switch在美国的同比增长达到了22%。我想这很大一部分归功于我们所打造的众多游戏。正是因为硬件、软件之间的这种关联,我们才能够在全年保持Switch的畅销势头。

在E3大会的收官活动,任天堂直面会拥有很大的影响力,期间,公司宣布了《荒野之息》(Breath of the Wild)的续作。对于制作在2017年大红大紫的《荒野之息》的续作,你是否感到担心?

我想我的直接答案是“不担心”。我认为公司的游戏开发人员在过去几年中做的非常出色,我的意思是说,他们在过去数年通过各种方式为公司奉上了标志性的原创角色和世界,而且打造了众多忠于此前知名大作历史的游戏。我觉得今后也是一样。当前《荒野之息》特别续作的制作人和导演采用的是《塞尔达传说》(Legend of Zelda)的原班人马。

直面会已经结束,你现在有什么感觉?

我倒是没有焦虑的感觉。我很兴奋。我很乐意去观察人们对公司内容以及所讲述故事的反应。我们的目标之一就是为他们带来惊喜和快乐,而且在我们准备发布之前,我们非常注意内容的保密工作。

一位匿名的推特(Twitter)用户贴出了来自于直面会的一条未发布新闻,值得一提的是,该内容对于“给人们带来惊喜”而言异常重要。对于上述内容的泄露,你有何感想?

我觉得你已经回答了这个问题。我们的游戏开发人员、公司耗费了大量的精力来打造内容、信息,并希望通过某种方式来展示这些信息,从而让消费者真正了解即将到来的内容。待时机成熟,我们希望有这个能力把这个故事呈现出来。但消息泄露让这一点化为了泡影。(财富中文网)

译者:冯丰

审校:夏林

When presenting on stage at E3, one of the world’s biggest video game conferences, it’s easy for executives to get nervous. And few have more reasons to be nervous than Nintendo’s North America president Doug Bowser.

Putting aside the usual pressures that come with E3, the press conferences, the announcements, the consumer reactions, Bowser has a legacy to uphold. He took over after his predecessor, Reggie Fils-Aimé, retired earlier this year, and many are still waiting to see what exactly the new leader has to offer.

Yet, Bowser looks calm while sitting in Nintendo’s booth at E3, even when discussing the growing list of companies vying for dominance in gaming, and leaks that spoiled Nintendo’s announcements at its annual press conference, Nintendo Direct, earlier that day.

Fortune sat down with Bowser to discuss the gaming market, its future, and where Nintendo fits into it. The following has been edited for length and clarity.

Fortune: First off, I need to ask, are you tired of people making jokes about your last name being Bowser like the character from the Mario games?

Doug Bowser: No, not at all. It’s a signal to me that we have an amazing, passionate following, and our fans are embracing it. It’s ironic that we share the same name, and there are times when it’ll be fun and we’ll play with it, but we’re two very, very different characters. I’m not tired of it at all though.

Nintendo has been a leader in the handheld market ever since the original GameBoy. How do you see 5G [the high-speed wireless technology that is supposed to replace 4G LTE] impacting that?

If the promise of 5G comes to fruition, I think it enhances that ability to play anywhere. It will allow for a stronger connection, especially for online play.

That also leads into streaming, the latest gaming trend that allows players to stream games rather than pre-downloading them. Where do you see Nintendo’s efforts there going?

There’s a lot of talk about it this week. It’s interesting to see what various companies are working on when it comes to tech and new technology that may be able to enhance gameplay. It’s obviously something that we’re closely watching. For now, we feel the Switch [Nintendo’s latest console] delivers on a lot of those promises. It’s a device where you can play anywhere at any time with anyone.

You’re seeing a lot of companies come into game streaming like Google, which is a tech company but not a gaming company. What’s your reaction to seeing them and similar companies enter the industry?

I think it speaks to the strength of gaming. I believe it speaks to the industry. Right now it’s the second largest form of entertainment in the world, second only to TV, and that includes both streaming and network TV. It’s growing. Companies are seeing it as an opportunity.

Do you see Google as a competitor?

We choose not to use the word “competitor.” But I think in this industry as people participate if more consumers will come into the industry as a result of that, it’s good for the industry.

There is a Netflix game, Dark Crystal, based on the upcoming Netflix series, in your lineup. How do you feel about Netflix here at E3 talking about bringing its original content to life in games?

It’s interesting to see how various forms of entertainment are able to transform themselves onto other platforms. I think it’s an exciting opportunity for all of us because in the end it allows us to continue to expand our content and bring more people into it. I think it’s a positive.

Nintendo isn’t considered an e-sports powerhouse. But there’s a lot of competitive gameplay especially around games like Smash Brothers, which had a new release about six months ago. Do you see more e-sports opportunities for Nintendo or maybe launching your own league?

There’s a strong set of leagues out there that support competitive play and have the ability to license our product in those tournaments. But we’re not going to underwrite teams and create our own tournament structure with prize money and everything else. We think there are already channels for that out there that are very strong. We just want to be a part of it.

It feels like last year was a really big year for Nintendo after a number of notable titles were released. How do you look back on 2018 now?

The games that we released last year fueled the hardware results. Through two years we sold 34 million Switch units worldwide, and we’re continuing that momentum. Switch is up 22% in the U.S. year-over-year. I think a lot of that is being fueled but the catalog of games we’re creating. It’s this relationship between hardware and software that has allowed us to continue the momentum on Switch through the year.

The closing of Nintendo’s Direct event at E3 was pretty impactful with the announcement of the sequel to Breath of the Wild. Did you have any fear in following up on the massive hit that Breath of the Wild was in 2017?

I guess the direct answer would be no. I think our developers have done an incredible job over the years, and I do mean years, finding ways to take our iconic original characters and worlds and creating games that are respectful to the history of the franchise that was there before. I think that will be the same. The producers and the director that are working on this particular version of Legend of Zelda worked on the Breath of the Wild.

How do you feel now that the Direct is done?

I don’t know if I’m anxious. I’m excited. I’m always excited to see how people are going to react to our content and the story we have to tell. One of our goals is to surprise and delight, and we take a lot of care to make sure we keep things close to the chest and in the vault until we’re ready to launch.

What was your reaction to the leaks, in which an anonymous Twitter user posted unannounced news from Direct, especially since it’s so important to you to surprise everyone?

I think you answered my question. Our developers, our company put a great deal of effort into creating our content, in creating our message, and wanting the message to be presented in a way consumers could truly understand what is coming. And we want to have the ability to tell that story when it’s right. Leaks take away from that.

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