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Iwata, Yamauchi Speak Out on Nintendo DS

by Jonathan Metts - February 13, 2004, 1:43 pm EST
Total comments: 17 Source: GameScience

The current and former presidents of NCL discuss the state of the GameCube and the importance of the Nintendo DS's success.

GameScience has translated another great Japanese article, this time from the Nikkei Shimbun newspaper. NCL president Satoru Iwata and retired president Hiroshi Yamauchi comment on GameCube sales, its successor, online features, and of course, Nintendo DS. A few excerpts:


- We have been able to provide proof positive that the GC is not a dying platform

- How can we expand the industry - the Nintendo DS is one way we are trying to do so

- It's not clear what other companies are trying to achieve with their new consoles, we will not make something incomplete just for the sake of it

- ...we're thinking about new forms of play using wireless communication


- I think the game industry is maturing in different ways to those I imagined

- The truth is, I thought about the idea for DS about 18 months ago

- If the DS succeeds, we will rise to heaven, but if it fails we will sink to hell

Check out GameScience for the full story, including plenty more craziness from our beloved "retiree".


GaimeGuyFebruary 13, 2004

"If the DS succeeds, we will rise to heaven, but if it fails we will sink to hell "

Yeah, I'm sure Nintendo is using all the billions of dollars it has on the DS.

Can Yamauchi be any more dramatic? face-icon-small-tongue.gif

Ocarina BlueFebruary 13, 2004

Let's face it: Yamauchi's poised to superseed Mario as Nintendo's mascot.

gwgtrunksFebruary 13, 2004

Super Yamauchi World! Who woulden't buy that game?

I could see the DS costing Nintendo quite a bit... but not money per say. Mostly what ever respect that the typical consumer has for them would go down the drain if they have another VB bomb.

nickmitchFebruary 13, 2004

I think the DS will be just like pikmin. Some people will lok at it and think its dumb, others will be intrigued. Many more people will probably not like it but if they give it a change they could learn to love it and that could help nintendo make millions if they play their cards right.

PaLaDiNFebruary 13, 2004

"Yeah, I'm sure Nintendo is using all the billions of dollars it has on the DS. "

Actually, the way I'm interpreting this, he's talking about the market as a whole.

What I'm getting from this article is that Nintendo is doing a test to see just how ready for innovation the market is.

In other words, if this thing doesn't sell, it means that good, innovative ideas no longer have any impact on this market... the mainstream just wants cookie-cutter sequels and true-to-formula games now. It would mean that gaming is now less of an art and more of a service.

And that is what I think Nintendo is afraid of... if it's confirmed, "they may not be bankrupt, but they will be crushed."

DjunknownFebruary 13, 2004

Yamauchi, despite being a bit dramatic, he is addressing issues we the fans have in our minds, and is willing to say it.

"If we can increase the scope of the industry, we can re-energise the global market and lift Japan out of depression - that is Nintendo's mission"

Picture the headline: Nintendo almost singlehandedly saves Japan's economy. Prime Minsiter Junichiro Koezumi praises Nintendo for their hardwork, perserverance, and insuring a promising future for Japan....

"Gamers don't just want beautiful graphics, sounds and epic stories"

Is he slyly mentioning the FF series? Or am I spinning it?

Last thing I'll mention is What Iwata said about online gaming:

"I wonder how much money companies like Sony and Microsoft are making from this?"
"You can't say that appropriate business models are in place yet - customers are also not jumping on board"

Is there a degree of truth or is he just stalling?

Bill AurionFebruary 13, 2004

It's the truth...The percentage of PS2 & XBox owners playing online to those not playing online is really small...

Ocarina BlueFebruary 13, 2004

Even if only a small portion of the whole community will use online capabilities, there is an advantage to supporting it: it gives the console credibility in the community, especially among hardcore gamers. I think the stangest thing about Nintendo's stance regarding online is that it's not typical of them: a new technology, allowing for a whole new aspect of gameplay to develop (as well as it owning the whole PC gaming industry) is lurking, and Nintendo don't seem to be exploring it at all.

This looks like an emergency statement to me: I see no other reason why Nintendo would publicise statements from people who not only who hold an important position within the company (Iwata), but people that are automatically associated with it (Yamauchi). I guess Nintendo used someone of a lower profile to confirm the N5 for E3 2005.

I'm cautious of Nintnedo trying to mold themselves into the image of a savour - no matter how much the industry needs one. Proclaiming themselves as the sole herald of prosperity to the Japanese economy seems a little over the top.

I rekon Nintendo to be jumping the gun a bit regarding the maximum graphics capabilities. When the time comes, Nintendo will have to approach the plateau very carefully; when the plateau presented itself to the movie industry, people stopped judging movies based on their image quality - but creativity and innovation made way for huge budget films with prettier actors.

Uncle Rich AiAiFebruary 13, 2004

Yamauchi never fails to amuse me! face-icon-small-happy.gif

But I disagree with some of the quotes:

"Gamers don't just want beautiful graphics, sounds and epic stories"
If that was the case, FF will sell poorly. I guess he's still bitter at Square.

"We cannot guarantee interesting and fun games just by using better technology and increasing the functions of the machines"
and "I don't think our problems can be solved by just increasing the power of the consoles" (Iwata's quote)
While I agree with them on this, most mainstream gamers drool at better technology and graphics. I mean, if the N5 was to be slightly more powerful than the GC (I doubt it) and say Xbox2 was way more powerful than Xbox, with way better graphics, which console will the mainstream buy? I think it's obvious. Nintendo should not ignore that.

DevAdvocateFebruary 14, 2004

I think Nintendo is essentially correct about the hardware issues, and spot-on with the push for game innovation being a bigger priority for THEM. Sony's ultimate goals seem to be in blurring the lines between gaming consoles/handhelds and other consumer electronics, and attracting a wider range of consumers with the added features. Sony is obviously more of a 'techno-worship' kind of company. Nintendo doesn't really have an incentive (or a means) to approach their game business that way, so the strategy of pushing for innovative play over raw technical specs may be the only way to survive. It has it's risks, for sure, but Nintendo trying to "out-Sony" Sony would guarantee dramatic failure.

It's interesting that Nintendo is identifying the next two years as critical to their success...the gap that exists before the planned launches of PS3 and Microsoft's next console. Personally, I agree that alot of the models for gameplay are fairly stale. It's like the film 'The Player', where all the movie ideas that are pitched are described as combinations of successful films that have already been produced...most video games today are exactly like that. If Nintendo can really deliver on their idea of innovative games and gameplay with the DS, they could exploit the large volume of dead-air between now and 2006. The repetitive nature of current game design will only get more dull over the course of two years, so I'm hopeful that there really are some fresh ideas out there!

gwgtrunksFebruary 14, 2004

DevAdvocate, if you read the response from Japanese developers about the DS... lets just say their heads are already churning out ideas for it.

DevAdvocateFebruary 14, 2004

Yeah, I just hope the ideas are more innovative than adaptive (specific to the system, not just 'remodeled' for the DS). From everything I've read, that at least sounds like what Nintendo and the developers are shooting for.

RealmRPGerFebruary 14, 2004

In the full article, Yamauchi states that the DS is his "final suggestion"... Can the gaming industry survive without the innovation of such a mastermind?...I hope that a "new Yamauchi" pops up sometime soon, or the whole industry is doomed to repitition with small enhancements on each run...

DjunknownFebruary 14, 2004

The only one who I've read that's as outspoken as Yamauchi is Tonobu Itadaki(I think that's how it spelled...) from Tecmo's internal group, Team Ninja. Only thing is, he's been talking big, but hasn't shown considerable results. The upcoming Ninja Gaiden is supposed to change all that..

But they're more software related, He's gone on record saying he doesn't care a lot about hardware.

What will Yamauchi think of next?

mouse_clickerFebruary 14, 2004

Team Ninja also spews out crap more often than not- at least Yamauchi is correct, or at least justified, in what he says most of the time. I have absolutely no respect for Team Ninja or Tecmo anymore.

Don'tHate742February 16, 2004

Personally I think the DS is just a handheld that well tide us over until the GBA 2. I'm serious, the reason the GBA 2 hasn't been hinted to be ready to compete with the PSP is becuase its not ready. The GBA 2 needs time to develope. It will most likely be either a mini-Gamecube portable or a Spectro-3D screen handheld. They are backing the DS as a new console so people will forget about the GBA momentarily, then in 3-4 years from now they'll release the GBA 2(or whatever it will be called). And not only will it play gamecube media, but it will be cheap, small and ultimately intuitive. Right now they don't have the technology to make 3-D gaming a reality as a portable.

OldskoolFebruary 23, 2004

Yamauchi rises again, and is still talking in a Bushido/buisness way.

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