Speaking to The Independent, Nintendo’s president Satoru Iwata has spoken about next generation, downplayed the company’s focus on 3D when advertising the 3DS, and has reacted to the emergence (and somewhat dominance) of smartphones and tablets like the iPad.
“A similar topic came up when we launched the Wii,” he said, when asked whether he thought Wii U would be as next generation as PS4 and the next Xbox. “Some people were comparing it to other consoles and saying ‘well, is this an improvement on the specs offered by competitor consoles?’”
“But that’s not our approach or what we define as next generation.”
“For next generation we look at the user experience, the gaming experience, how we can improve that, change it, offer new kinds of gameplay. How we can get people to play more often, how we can allow people to connect from one living room to another living room, and this is what we focus on and what, for us, makes a new generation. ”
“I’m not against beautiful graphics,” he said. “But my thinking is that unless the play experience is really rich the wonderful graphics won’t really help. I’m really looking forward to beautiful games coming out on Wii U though, with graphics that we couldn’t have done on the Wii. ”
And on the 3DS?
“Let me state that seeing things in 3D is the normal state for human beings, it’s how we see our environment,” he said. “But then when we watch 3D TV we’re told we have to put on 3D glasses to see it, which for people like me, who wear glasses, is sometimes too much. ”
“But this kind of surprise effect wears off quickly,” he said, referring to the Nintendo 3DS, which doesn’t need glasses, “and just having this 3D stereoscopic effect isn’t going to keep people excited. ”
“It proves a sense of immersion that 2D doesn’t have, so I would say generally that 3D is better than 2D,” he said, “it’s nice to have good graphics but not necessarily on their own, so I don’t think we’ll present [3D graphics] as one of the key features of our consoles but will probably stick with 3D as one of the minor elements of our consoles in the future. ”
But the elephant in the room – Apple, and its iPhone and iPad?
“I think it’s much more about our lack of ability to release software in a timely matter that will motivate people to go out and buy our gaming hardware,” he said. “But obviously smartphones and tablets have changed the environment that we operate in and we can no longer offer some kinds of games experiences that couldn’t also easily be offered on a smartphone, so we need to differentiate and offer something exclusive. ”
“With the advance of mobile phones, people were questioning the need for dedicated gaming machines and now with smartphones again. Under the conditions I mentioned earlier, I think if we can offer exclusive entertainment that cannot be replicated on other devices then we’ll have the chance to survive, ” he said.
It’s a great interview, and remarkably frank. Go give it a read.