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Feature: How Nintendo Learned to Chill Out

When it came time to embrace the new world of user-generated content, friends' lists and blogs, Nintendo had to learn how to let go. "We are a controlling company," said marketing boss George Harrison. "This was a big deal for us."

He was speaking earlier today at MI6 about the company's extraordinary year bringing Wii to market. It was a year in which all the old ways and practices went out the door, including the hard-wired habit of taking charge. Nintendo has always been, unashamedly, a deeply conservative outfit, immensely protective of its reputation and good name.

"Opening up a MySpace area doesn't sound all that innovative to you guys," he told an audience of game marketers. "But for us it was a big deal. When people previously said bad things about Nintendo on our community areas, we deleted. Now we had to take the decision not to meddle. We had to allow consumers to say bad things about us. It turned out that our own supporters were much more articulate in supporting us than anyone in our offices at Redmond could ever be."

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