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Japanese developers tend not to take risks, says Miyamoto

Shigeru Miyamoto said that Japanese publishers tend to make conservative games over taking risks

As Nintendo's WiiWare download service launched today in the US, Nintendo's Shigeru Miyamoto contrasted the state of US and Japanese game development.

"I think America has always been better at creating unique products," Miyamoto told Wired.

"In Japan, the technology required to create videogames tends to be concentrated in the bigger corporations," he said.

"Game publishers tend to make conservative games that will always be profitable, rather than taking risks on experimental games."

WiiWare - Nintendo's answer to Xbox Live Arcade and the PlayStation Store - is intended to help independent games flourish. Yet, when the service launched in Japan in March, the titles were all published by big-name Japanese companies such as Square Enix, Hudson and Bandai Namco.

Nintendo is expecting a different mix of publishers for the US service.

"Here in the United States, you have these independent developers who have managed to get the skills and the training and the development, and also have managed to get access to the technology and the hardware needed to develop it," Miyamoto said.

"They're able to let their own personality and their own kind of unique interests really flourish in the games that they're creating."

Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime said that Nintendo was taking a hands-off approach to WiiWare game creation - in contrast to Sony and Microsoft's involvement - checking only that the games are bug-free and rated by the ESRB.

Miyamoto told Wired that his job is to try to involve Japan's relatively small indie game movement with Nintendo.

When asked if he would ever consider trying his hand at a one-man project again, the Donkey Kong programmer said: "Yeah, I think it would be fun to do that."

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Mark Androvich

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