Nintendo merging handheld and console divisions on February 16

New 30bn Kyoto facility will allow R&D collaboration and tech sharing

Nintendo is to amalgamate its console and handheld hardware divisions in a brand-new Kyoto facility on February 16, 2013, the manufacturer has confirmed to GamesIndustry International.

The company hopes that, by housing the two arms of the business together in the new ¥30 billion ($340m apprx) offices, they will be able to share technological research and breakthroughs more efficiently, as well as perhaps working on further integrating the 3DS and Wii U.

It's a big shake up for the business, which has seen its latest hardware devices struggling to meet the phenomenal expectations set by their predecessors. This is in no small part due to their facing stiff competition from new players in the market, particularly those of tablets and smartphones. By adopting a more 'joined-up' approach to hardware development, the company could be seeking to address the challenges posed by these new market contenders.

Whilst Nintendo has never tried to delineate itself with processing power or graphical fidelity, its more recent successes have hinged on the innovative use of technology to provide USPs with incredible market appeal. It's thought that, as well as working on new technology for and possible iterations of current platforms, the new facility could work on future hardware which could seek to combine the potential of home and handheld systems in a single device.

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Latest comments (13)

Daniel Hughes Studying PhD Literary Modernism, Bangor University9 years ago
Hopefully there'll be more details about this at their next financial briefing. According to some sources it's only one part of a major shakeup that will see changes across the management of their EAD division, and expansion to their EAD Tokyo, Retro Studios and network divisions.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Daniel Hughes on 16th January 2013 11:23am

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Seems that 'restructuring' we proposed would happen back in October came a little quicker than expected - wonder who will be the first head to roll (UK or US)?
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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.9 years ago
Kevin, this was planned 4 years ago. Before the Wii U and 3DS were even announced.
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Show all comments (13)
Daniel Hughes Studying PhD Literary Modernism, Bangor University9 years ago
Kevin, Jim's completely right. This R&D move has been planned for years. I also highly doubt that UK or US executives will go: they have little real power over thought processes and business models that govern Nintendo. Those two realms are very much governed by Iwata and the board at Nintendo of Japan. The reshuffle in terms of staff also seems to be on the creative side and less on the business side, with producers and bosses inside EAD (the internal development structure of Nintendo) changing roles and younger staff, such as the director of the Mario Galaxy games and Masahiro Sakurai, the Smash Brothers/Kid Icarus director, taking on roles further up the chain of development seniority.

As I said, though, that's all rumoured and unconfirmed. I do think it's credible though, that younger minds are stepping into positions of authority over individual studios and development projects, while more senior minds fill the gap left by Miyamoto moving away from management and back into development and the training of younger staff.

If you're looking for changes on the business side of things, I'd expect changes to come only if Wii U fails completely, which is far from certain. Iwata has already proven he has the ability to create immense success and reverse near-disaster. Getting rid of him now would cause more problems than it would solve.
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Richard Gardner Artist, Crytek9 years ago
I could be thinking to much into this but the Wii U is basically a giant DS you play on your TV. What if the next two-three years the DS gets a new version with the power of a Wii U? People always go on about the next generation of consoles been the last, but what if Nintendo are using the Wii U to launch them into the mobile space to dominate, years before the competition? If mobile ever does wipe out the console market (I personally don't think it would) it could be an interesting transition.

I'm sure there is nothing to read into the restructure, but it makes you think what crazy ideas could be going on in the background.
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Thank you @Daniel and @Jim - good to know the history behind these moves, though to talk about it four-years-ago as a "soon to be implemented" approach, sounds like this is slightly different to the original news - maybe more far reaching?

Regarding "younger minds" I still stand by the perception that we are all getting that Nintendo JP is looking at reshuffling the deck of their Western approach, especially after lapses in marketing and promotion (TVii and Bricking being some of the big issues).

I want to be clear this is not schadenfreude, or trying to monster the situation - this is calm non fan-boy observation from the outskirts of a change in approach between JP and Western business approaches.
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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.9 years ago
Nintendo TVii's delay wasn't any fault of Nintendo. That was at the delay of the service creator (i.TV). And why are you even pointing out a 2 week delay as some kind of failure? If the Wii U ends up with a user base of 50 million (as projected by IDC), that means the delay would affect potentially just 1% of the userbase and they were affected for just 2 weeks.

As for bricking...notice how you don't hear about that anymore? That's not due to a firmware update altering the means of system updates but the fact that the media blew it out of proportion when a big name journalist had a brain fart and unplugged their system in the middle of a firmware update which was also incorrectly reported as being a monstrous 5 GB in size.

Minor issues being greatly exaggerated are not failures of the system or company but rather opportunistic media looking to score hits.
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Glad to hear this is finally finishing - I remember when the new building was announced years back. Probably have to give them 12 months to settle in, and get used to the new practices - and then we'll all start seeing the fruits from this.

And completely agree with Jim - sometimes I wonder if the media were given a great big stack of cash from MS, and told to rubbish the WiiU at every possible turn.

Its *still* only been out for less than 2 months, and its launched better than the 3DS. And does everyone remember the disasters that were the 360 & PS3 launches?
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@Jim, I thought the reason for not hearing the 'bricking' anymore was because of Nintendo's professional returns operation whisking all broken systems off the retailers hands - a lesson MS could learn from! The TVii issue was not the delay - but the failure to 'launch' with 80% of its proposed features, dependent on a major patch Q3.

Hey guys, this is nothing disastrous - Nintendo is the safe one on my list, but it still had some Western management "brain farts" that we know the JP executives were not happy with - the reason I speculate about the changes. Can't wait to see how the Sony team survive if the PS4 problems are anything as bad as the rumors will have!!
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Yiannis Koumoutzelis Founder & Creative Director, Neriad Games9 years ago
calling restructuring after reading about over 300mn investment and merging under the same roof is quite surprising. this is great news indeed, and at the right time for starting work on the next generation of nintendo's hardware. the part in the article that nintendo is struggling with its hardware is not quite clear either when it is a fact that 3ds outsells all other hardware and has even set sales records, compared to ds, as well as the wiiU premium package having disappeared from the shelves! if that is called struggling, then perhaps the definition of struggle needs to be revised.
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David Radd Senior Editor, IndustryGamers9 years ago
wiiU premium package having disappeared from the shelves
The Wii U Deluxe set has been the one more in demand compared to the Basic set, but it's hardly disappeared from store shelves. Nintendo's pointed to that as a bright spot, but there are still plenty of Wii U consoles available and there's some skepticism whether the console will hit its fiscal year estimates.
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Yiannis Koumoutzelis Founder & Creative Director, Neriad Games9 years ago
many of my friends from several countries couldn't find one, i couldn't find one in stores either, and still can't, only few basic packs here and there, and on amazon, there were only few people selling them for 100 more. software sold great too from what i hear! so although i do understand it may have not disappeared in every single outlet, i still call this a very good launch.
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Peter Dwyer Games Designer/Developer 9 years ago
I thought they HAD done this 4 years ago and have been puzzling about this announcement since it was made. Why the heck were they ever separate?
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