Nintendo’s Iwata Defines “Next Generation” Against PS4 And Xbox 720

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?’”

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“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.

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16 Comments

  1. Lovely article and a great attitude. Sure, I might not like what they’ve brought out but the perspective he has on the industry is exemplary. Graphics shouldn’t define the next big leap for the next generation – it should be about the user experience and how we move that forward. Anti-aliasing, resolution and other sorts of eye candy are all well and good but the very thing we’re seeing is the inevitable stagnation of the older genres (FPS, etc) which means it really is about how we play them and the immersion we do (or don’t) require.

  2. IOS\android games suck, most of them is a 5 minute play maximum, especially the ones that try to imitate the console experience (NOVA), I just need physical buttons and a big screen.

    • But assuming he’s catering for more than just one person (you), don’t you think it’s a great attitude to have so that the industry grows and evolves as technology allows for innovation as oppose to generalising about entire platforms which suit millions of consumers around the world but doesn’t happen to suit you. Keep in mind we’re actually allowed to own more than one console/device! *feigns shocked look* :-)

      • Well bunimomike,
        It is a great attitude from him, no one said otherwise.
        but don’t you agree with what i said? I think you do, tablet games have their limitation and some may argue that they are not “real games”, and if you only play tablet games, then you don’t know what games are about.

      • “IOS\android games suck”
        No they don’t. Sure, it’s opinion but massive sales tell us something. People are enjoying mobile gaming (on touch-screen devices) by the bucket load. For me, there are certain genres they should avoid but that doesn’t mean others might not enjoy them. I can’t abide the on-screen controls for forward, back, left, right but if others are happy then no problem whatsoever. I’ll still be catered for by other games, devs, studios.

        The very nature of the devices in question means that most games are aiming for a pick-up-and-play style title which comes with a “short term fun” sort of moniker. There’ll be some meaty titles out there but they are few and far between compared to the dearth of “little” titles we see littering most people’s phones.

        So, “no”, I most certainly do not agree.

      • “for me” phones will forever be for games like angry birds, tiny wings, mega jump, those games work for the touch controls.
        but nothing compares to playing on a console with a story line and stuff.

      • With stuff like the Tegra3, we’ve only just got the capability for smartphone games to break away from the playable but bite-sized affairs.

        I can’t see a business case for spending many 10’s of millions developing a 20hr action/adventure, but what we could see is something akin to episodic content, but for now IAP (in-app payments) rule, they’re so enormously profitable that there isn’t the incentive for devs to replicate the console experience on a smartphone even if they’re capable of doing so (to a certain extent) so for the foreseeable future all development money & publisher backing will be poured into games which are built around IAP. It won’t always be that way though, although the PSVita kinda highlights there’s not a sizeable market for the type of games you seem to want whilst on the move.

    • Yeah. ShadowGun on my tablet with a PS3 controller hooked up is F***king rubbish. And GTAIII was the biggest waste of £3 EVER!

      • I can’t tell if that was sarcasm or not.

      • I was being sarcastic :-)

    • Yes, but that is their function and it’s why they’re so cheap and popular. But it it’s useless to deny that tablet/mobile gaming has not had an impact that may bring in more gamers to consoles and the gap will need to be bridged.

  3. Seems the right attitude to have. No point focussing solely on making games look prettier when the core gameplay of most genres has gone extremely stale over the years. Hopefully the Wii-U hosts plenty of fun, new games like Rayman Legends.

  4. This is a great show from Satoru Iwata and I find myself agreeing with most of what he has said.
    This generation has been about experience for me, not just graphics. When I think Nintendo I think (very un-manly) cute and fun i.e Mario, Pilot Wings, Zelda etc. No matter how much they invest in more mature games – I will always turn to Nintendo for innocent characters and unique worlds to lose myself in.

    Each platform has its own exclusive experiences that will shine no matter how many pixels are pushed to the TV, better graphics just enhance such experiences.

  5. Agree with this, its all about enjoying the game, not wondering at the graphics. This is why I don’t understand the COD/BF3 way of designing games. I would much rather have a game that is immersive and with more players than have better graphics.

  6. they both play a part for me but WIIU has nothing I want.

  7. I think this generation sort of defines Nintendo’s view. They seem to have pulled themselves out of the traditional graphics war that defines console generations and are doign something new. Ok so it may not work, but at least they are finding their niche.

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