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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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David Jenkins