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Nintendo Hardware Divisions Undergoing Restructuring? 

by Andy Goergen - January 16, 2013, 8:10 am PST
Total comments: 12 Source: IGN , Nikkei, http://www.ign.com/articles/2013/01/16/report-nint..., http://www.nikkei.com/article/DGXNZO50636390W3A110...

Is Nintendo bridging the divide between the handheld and the console divisions?

Nintendo is undergoing a significant reorganization, bringing their handheld and console hardware divisions into one studio according to a report from Japanese newspaper Nikkei. This is the first major restructuring of these divisions since 2004. The new combined division will be responsible for thinking into the future, beyond Wii U and 3DS, and helping Nintendo compete in a market with the growing distribution of smartphones and tablets.

The move, coming February 16, will bring the 150 employees in the handheld division and the 130 employees in the console division into an entirely new department, "Unified Development Headquarters", which will eventually fill a building next to Nintendo's home office in Kyoto by the end of next year.  Once the teams are united, they will be broken into new divisions based on hardware expertise such as design or circuitry.

Nintendo hopes this unification will help create product synergy between their handheld and console devices, something heavily pushed during the era of the GameCube and Game Boy Advance. While Wii and DS saw some integration, there has been very little integration between 3DS and Nintendo's home consoles. In addition, this should help out by maximizing the shared resources which exist in both handheld and console development.

Talkback

Pixelated PixiesJanuary 16, 2013

I was reading up on this restructuring earlier today. It's pretty interesting. Despite having had ample opportunity over the years, it seems to me that Nintendo have never been able to take full advantage of the potential for their consoles and handhelds to be coupled. Hopefully this restructuring will allow Nintendo to not only maximise their resources, but also to create a more cohesive ecosystem for their handhelds and consoles to function together.

geoJanuary 16, 2013

I want 3 things to come out of this:

Miiverse support across systems
Unified account system and virtual console sharing between consoles
Using 3ds as a different controller and/or playing wii U games on 3DS on the go.

Ian SaneJanuary 16, 2013

As practical videogame technology peaks there is no reason to have dedicated handheld and console formats.  The whole reason the Game Boy was not just a handheld NES was because of the technological limitations of the time.  Technology can be made smaller and more energy efficient over time, thus handhelds are usually a generation behind in terms of tech and need their own format.

But in the future when it no longer makes sense to have short console lifecycles, it would make sense for the two formats to be the same.  You have a handheld that's as powerful as a console and can also be hooked up to your TV for the console experience, like how a laptop can be used as a portable and desktop computer.  Hell, people are going with just a tablet or smartphone as their "everyday" computer.  That same approach makes sense for games.

CaterkillerMatthew Osborne, Contributing WriterJanuary 16, 2013

You know this stems from Miyamoto and his train of thought. I remember interviews back in the GameCube days where he expressed how he wished games weren't restricted to the television. The Wii U was the first step in that direction so it's only natural someday they will be one in the same. Especially if third parties always only support the handheld this is the way to go. Granted we still don't anything about what's coming to the Wii U, those other major multiplatform games should have some presence on the Wii U. It's just the confirmed anti Nintendo conspiracy at work for a 4th gen in a row.

Now if the home console and handheld do become one in the same there will be no beating the juggernaut that is the Nintendo homeheld. Either that or the home console loser essence seeps into the handheld part and Nintendo completely tanks.

AdrockJanuary 16, 2013

Quote from: Ian

Hell, people are going with just a tablet or smartphone as their "everyday" computer.

Ugh, no thank you.

At best, I would own a tablet to be my I'm-too-lazy-to-sit-at-my-computer-so-I'm-lying-in-bed-to-consume-media-instead-of-sleeping-like-normal-person-should-at-2-in-the-morning device. Is it worth it? Hell no. Will I do it anyway? Of course. I don't have kids; I'll spend that money on myself.

BlackNMild2k1January 16, 2013

I say this move is about 3-4yrs too late, but better late than never.

HUGE missed opportunity to have 3DS and Wii U be more cohesive and feature compatible.

But Catetkiller LOL
Nintendo Homeheld

I like it.

Pixelated PixiesJanuary 16, 2013

Quote from: Caterkiller

Now if the home console and handheld do become one in the same there will be no beating the juggernaut that is the Nintendo homeheld.

Quote from: Ian

But in the future when it no longer makes sense to have short console lifecycles, it would make sense for the two formats to be the same.


True. That is something that will stand to undermine dedicated handheld systems in the long run; and that makes me kind of sad. I very much want Nintendo to have tighter integration between their consoles and their handhelds, but I don't want those two different forms of gaming to become homogeneous.

The more games I play on my 3DS the more I realise that I actually prefer the smaller download titles than I do the larger retail ones (which have increasingly come to resemble the types of games I'd much rather play on a Television). If you asked me what my favourite 3DS games are right now I would say Crashmo and Fluidity (both of which are quintessentially handheld games), not Uprising or Kingdom Hearts 3D (which might arguably be better suited to a console).

I guess handheld retail releases are becoming more akin to console games in response to the fact that, as Ian said, the technical gap between handhelds and home consoles has diminished (there's a natural impetus I'm sure to use that power to it's full extent), and also because the phone market now satisfies the role that handhelds used to occupy. When competing with a game that costs 99p, and your's costs £39.99, you're probably going to want to really make the distinction between the two pretty apparent in order to justify the price tag; which might ultimately mean making games for handhelds which are as epic in scope as their console counterparts, and which in turn lose something along the way.

Thank dog for eShop.

ShyGuyJanuary 16, 2013

I will buy the Ninetndo Homeheld day one!

I'm thinking a slightly larger Wii U Gamepad with a cartridge slot and the vitality sensor. Comes with a base that has an HDMI port for on screen play.

FjurbanskiJanuary 16, 2013

Quote from: Pixelated

True. That is something that will stand to undermine dedicated handheld systems in the long run; and that makes me kind of sad. I very much want Nintendo to have tighter integration between their consoles and their handhelds, but I don't want those two different forms of gaming to become homogeneous.

Agreed.


Things like the virtual console, and your account need to be basically homogenous. What you post to miiverse needs to be available on both, things like that. But I think things would far less interesting for them to basically become one in every aspect. Wouldn't we just end up getting less games that way?

Ian SaneJanuary 16, 2013

The Miyamoto comment about him wishing games were not restricted to the television kind of creeps me out because I WANT to play my games on my TV (or a computer monitor, I guess).  I don't want to play any other way.

I like the idea of a handheld/console combo.  But with the popularity of tablets and smartphones I could also see the possibility of Nintendo ONLY releasing a handheld.  For a lot of people their smartphones isn't for "on the go", it's for all the time.  They don't switch to a desktop computer at home or have any desire to hook up their handheld device to bigger screens and better speakers.  That market would be fine with a handheld only videogame industry and they could probably make enough money from that market that losing the business of someone like myself, who would not want things to be like that, wouldn't matter.

That's the sort of thing that creeps me out about Miyamoto talking about not being restricted to the television.  And with the DS product line and the Wii U, Nintendo has moved in a direction where they require a proprietary screen.  The next step could take the TV out of the picture entirely.

But then I fear a handheld-only future in electronics in general.  I was raised in a world where big screens and big speakers were a status symbol and the generation below me seems to want to listen to everything on headphones and view everything on a small personal screen.  I can see the markets for living room televisions, home stereo systems and desktop computers shrinking to a point where I would be in such a minority that virtually no one would bother to make such products anymore.  When I'm an old man those sort of things will probably come across as old-fashioned as spinning wheels and horse-drawn carriages.

Ever notice that the market infatuation with handheld devices suggests a selfish frame of mind?  You can't really use them with other people.  If that doesn't sound like a potential flaw to you, then you're really admitting that you would rather enjoy movies, music, etc. by yourself and not share the experience with other people, including your own friends.  Isn't that kind of sick when you think about it?

Pixelated PixiesJanuary 16, 2013

Quote from: Ian

Ever notice that the market infatuation with handheld devices suggests a selfish frame of mind?  You can't really use them with other people.  If that doesn't sound like a potential flaw to you, then you're really admitting that you would rather enjoy movies, music, etc. by yourself and not share the experience with other people, including your own friends.  Isn't that kind of sick when you think about it?


And yet because of such devices it's easier than ever before to share your favourite movies, books and music with more people than ever before. If your friends are anything like mine they're constantly taking out their phone to share trailers, tracks and articles. I can understand why some people might be pessimistic about these developments but such concerns are ill-founded in my experience.

WiiUIVLifeJanuary 16, 2013

There are two things I would love to see on both Nintendo 3DS and Wii U.  1) Miiverse for 3DS, Smartphones, and PCs... and 2) cross-platform gameplay beyond Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate.

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