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Consoles could become "antiquated" admits Iwata

Nintendo boss discusses the 3DS and why the company will never give up on hardware

A partial translation of Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata's investors briefing last week has been made available on website andriasang, in which Iwata discusses topics ranging from the 3DS to the future of the console hardware market.

Asked whether some of Nintendo's new casual users had now moved on to social games, and whether the console hardware model was becoming antiquated, Iwata agreed that the current generational cycle of new consoles may not continue forever.

"If you ask why we make game consoles, it's because we believe that 'offering experiences that cannot be done on other devices' is our life line," he said.

"Offering software for a multipurpose multimedia device is, for us, an area of work that we have least interest in," he said in answer to a question of whether Nintendo would ever considering releasing firmware or an operating system for other platforms.

"If we were to stop and do nothing, the current game system framework would probably become antiquated, but because we continue to offer new things, we don't feel at all that this will happen," he added. "We've not once thought things like 'we'll be behind the times, so we should enter social games'."

Discussing the 3DS portable specifically Iwata confirmed that 3DS is not necessarily the final name of the device and that it would have an option to switch off the 3D effect.

He was non-committal though on the question of the device's graphical capabilities, saying only that it would be able to play both casual games and higher level productions.

Asked whether there would be an increase in development costs for the 3DS, compared to the Nintendo DS, Iwata suggested that unfamiliarity with working in 3D might indeed raise initial costs for publishers and developers.

"It's an area that requires trial and error," he said. "It is that trial and error alone that could see an increase in development cost. However, the trial and error is there for any development where you try to make new entertainment experiences, and not just 3D."

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Latest comments (6)

Tony Johns8 years ago
Donkey Kong Arcade = Success...

Game & Watch = Success...

NES = Success...

Gameboy = Success...

Virtual Boy = Failure...

Nintendo 64 = Success...well sort of...it did have allot of truly innovative and classic games like Mario 64 and Zelda Ocarina of Time that have become the more traditional way of 3D games of today.

Nintendo DS = Success...

Nintendo Wii = Success...

When it comes to offering new experiences rather than trying to upgrade graphics to a new level, Nintendo has had a 7 out of 8 success rate both in the market as well as making something new that delivered allot.

The only thing I have against this 3D effect in the DS is I can still remember what happened to the Virtual Boy and how people said it was meant to be the Revolution of portable gaming when in reality it never really worked out...

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Luis Morales Public relations, Med Mercs8 years ago
To all of those that think Social Networking is here to stay. It is here to stay, but the hardware is here to stay for long more, as long as there are those traditional, and gamers that grew up in the Atari era.........Consoles are sort of classic, tradition, and it is so good after a days work in the office and you just want to grab that controller and play on that nice flat TV....
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Luke Allman Character Artist / Level Designer 8 years ago
Atari FOREVER!!!! But seriously I don't foresee any time that there won't be a console. As a matter of fact I think that consoles eventually will be more powerful than your average computer. I'm thinking along the lines of William Gibson's classic "Sprawl" Cyberpunk trilogy; all they used were "Consoles". and they could do almost ANYTHING. It may be a long time before any of that comes to fruition, but I think that as long as we make video games, there will be a console to play them on.
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Tobias Burandt8 years ago
I was lately FORCED to look into a few games on Facebook. Can they be even called games? I mean all you do is click on a button once per day and enjoy the flood of messages because all your friends did the same? Is that a game? Is that a game that's supposed to replace the classic console? I don't think so. To me it's a big difference if I shoot some covenant with my friends in Halo 3 coop or watch some animated fish wiggling around in a flash-game-fish-tank.
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Roland Austinat roland austinat media productions|consulting, IDG, Computec, Spiegel Online8 years ago
@Tony: Don't forget the SNES and the GameCube, not exactly failures either. That makes it a 1:10 ratio.

@Tobias: I'm having a hard time understanding why so many games are called social games when all they are is basically asynchronously social. I never farm together with other friends, I never have any friends helping me cook in real time in Cafe World etc.
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Haven Tso Web-based Game Reviewer 8 years ago
For me I think GameCube is an image and marketing failure for Nintendo as they never really addressed the "kids console" issue and put in lots of money for marketing. I never saw it as "because it can't network" because in Australia, you can't do it with your PS2 either. I think Nintendo addressed this issue with Wii instead of relying on word of mouth sales of games.

That said, I still think my Cube is a lot more value for money than my Wii.
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