Nintendo: "Moving to HD appears a natural flow"

Miyamoto acknowledges: "We cannot swim against the tide"

Nintendo executives have hinted the company is looking towards a shift to high-definition, and acknowledged it cannot "swim against the tide" with regards to technology.

"Since our division has been reviewing and developing a number of hardware, we are looking into many different things, including HD and SD," Genyo Takeda, GM of Nintendo's R&D division, told investors at a recent briefing.

"Since an increasing number of the TV sets at home around the world are becoming HD today, it will be natural for a machine to be able to generate graphics that people will be accustomed to see on HD televisions. Since the ordinary TV programs are now shifting to HD, moving to HD appears to me a natural flow."

"We are not too much concerned about if the technology itself is state-of-the-art or rather old-fashioned," he added. "If we can find the most appropriate medium, between SD and HD, and flexibly move around them depending on the game's contents, it will be good I think."

"We probably cannot swim against the tide," said Shigeru Miyomoto. "The customers' tastes will become more and more refined. Even today, many customers who have seen HD once say they cannot go back to SD"

However, the designer noted many consumers accepted 5.1 channel sound despite it not being true - and likewise with HD. "I have to doubt how many of us can actually tell them apart," he said.

He added that a shift to HD would incur an increase in development costs, meaning that upscaling might not be viable for certain products.

"We have to ask ourselves if HD is really necessary to develop Wii Fit. Won't HD be better for the games like Pikmin? The developers should choose the most appropriate graphical format depending on the software they make.

"To Nintendo, our theme is how we can prepare the SDK library to cater to the needs of the developers, with which the developers can more easily develop their games. In fact, Nintendo has been working with such mission."

Despite this shifting of Nintendo's position on high definition however, Reggie Fils-Aime expressed a conflicting message during a recent interview with GTTV.

"Michael [Pachter] continues to be the only one that believes [Wii HD] is going to happen," the NoA president told presenter Geoff Keighley.

"I don’t know how forcefully we can say that there is no Wii HD."

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Latest comments (3)

Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.12 years ago
Wii HD and a new Nintendo console supporting HD resolution are 2 separate things.

Miyamoto said back in early 2006 that the next Nintendo console would support HD resolutions. So this information is technically old but only resurfaced because Pachter won't stop rambling about his Wii HD prediction and Nintendo was forced to address the issue again.
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Mat Bettinson Business Development Manager, Tantalus Media12 years ago
Strange comment I took from Miyomoto here... Does Nintendo really care how much it costs to develop on a HD platform? I mean... if you're going to sell multi millions of a perennial title I would have thought there's room to spend a little more money here than they have done traditionally.

I'm not sure SD/HD is really the divider here anyway. Looking at a Wii game versus a 360/PS3 game is chalk and cheese even at SD resolution. If Nintendo want to step back into core gaming (the area they were so keen to get out of) then they need to look somewhat competitive I think. I also reckon (conventional) controls and network/online service are at least as important as hardware spec, probably more so.

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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.12 years ago
If the perspective were just them alone, then it wouldn't matter as much. Their intent with Wii was to create a lower barrier of entry not just for consumers but for developers/publishers as well. Had they pushed up the arms race and put HD graphics on their TRC's then the industry would be left without a fall back for small developers and their blue ocean strategy would be to costly for consumers to work.

And dropping the X360/PS3 to SD resolutions isn't a fair graphical comparison because to properly push those HD graphics requires much more horsepower which is still very evident even when relegated to SD output.

As for controls, I've not found many games. much less whole genres, that are not just as well controlled (if not better) using the Wii remote/nun-chuck combination. Fighting games are the only genre that stand out against it. All other genres play as well if not better once you've mastered the fine motor skills required to proficiently utilize it. No different than the initial learning curve associated with the introduction of the analog stick. Ironically, it too has 1 genre not very well suited to it - fighting games.
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