Supposedly, the gaming industry is driven by creative people who work with teams to bring their pure, untainted creative vision to audiences everywhere. They work their craft to bring the art to you. Sure, there are definite cashgrabs in gaming, but this is the ideal that developers strive for and espouse in countless interviews.
Except Nintendo doesn't agree.
In an interview with Toyo Keizai Online (translated by Kotaku), Nintendo president Satoru Iwata said the company doesn't seek to make art. Instead, Nintendo tries to find out what games will resonate with the masses.
"Nintendo developers are extremely insatiable when it comes to whether what they make resonates with customers or not. They'll do anything to achieve it." said Iwata. "Both Miyamoto and I repeatedly say, 'It's not like we are making pieces of art, the point is to make a product that resonates with and is accepted by customers.'"
"Creating is like an expression of egoism. People with a strong energy to create something have a 'this is the strength I believe is right' sort of confidence to start from. Their standpoint is that 'this is the right thing to do, so this must be what's good for the customer as well.' But the final goal of a product is to resonate with and be accepted by people. You can't just force your way through. By saying 'the point is to be accepted' I mean, if you go to a customer with your idea and you realize they don't understand it, it's more important that they do and you should shift your idea."
For Nintendo, games are a product to be sold to people; if they happen to be art as well, that's a side effect of creating a product of the highest quality. It's a mindset that tends to be found in hardware design, not game design. Of course, the millions of copies of Nintendo games sold points to the company doing something right. Which side of the line do you stand on? Art or product?