In 2004, Satoru Iwata said that "customers do not want online games." At a time when the GameCube appeared to be a sinking ship, Nintendo's President and CEO made this statement which, in the ears of fanboys clamoring for online battle, seemed to punch a hole in the already doomed vessel. What a difference four years can make, for now we can achieve a dream that's been brewing since the SNES kart-racing classic debuted: power-sliding our way to victory both at home and on the go.
Though the statement is a bit inflammatory, Iwata's statement deserves to be understood in context. According to some reports, online gaming revenue is expected to quadruple in 2008 from four years ago. Although this doesn't provide accurate figures of consumer demand for online gaming in either time period, it does show that Nintendo hasn't ignored this enormous influx. As the less-quoted amendment to Iwata's statement demonstrates, "We're not negative toward the idea of going online. We're just practical." While you can debate the practicality part, you can't argue that Nintendo hasn't taken a 180 degree turn from that time. And you can never ask that someone is perfect; rather, ask that they learn and grow.