Forbes has posted a new interview with Nintendo of America head Reggie Fils-Aime. The interview focuses on Nintendo’s new and upcoming console, the Wii U.
While the interview repeats a lot of what we’ve already heard about the Wii U, it does clarify a lot of little details. Of particular interest are Reggie’s comments concerning third parties and the Wii U’s online system.
Microsoft’s message at E3 was all about Kinect, how there will be no controller, you are the controller. It seems like Nintendo’s at the polar opposite; you’re putting even more in the controller. Is this indicative of a basic philosophical difference between the two companies?
Well, all I can say is that this is not the first time that Nintendo and our competitors have had dramatically different views on the future of gaming. When we launched the original DS everyone was saying the handheld competitor coming from Sony has more powerful graphics, that’s really the way to go. And we showed that no, two screens, a touch screen, a microphone, that actually led to better gaming experiences. With the Wii, again, at the time our competitors were all about high resolution graphics. We said we think that a motion controlled experience could be more fun. Eighty six million units later around the world, I think people would say we got that one right as well.
In this case we’re saying that this two screen experience -either two screens playing the same game or two screens doing fundamentally different things- is the future.
Nintendo has always been innovative; it’s what they do. When we look at what Sony and Microsoft have been up to lately, yes its innovative, but they’re clearly trying to one-up Nintendo. For instance, Microsoft’s Kinect and Sony’s Move are evolutions of the WiiMote. The type of technology behind Kinect would seem like the natural next-step for Nintendo, but instead Nintendo went and did something completely different; you got to hand it to them for that.
The same could be said for 3D. Nintendo made a 3D handheld, so Sony made a 3D TV for the PS3. However, Sony’s TV, in addition to everything else you need to buy to play video game, cost a lot. When asked about that, Reggie replied:
You were first on the 3D bandwagon with the 3DS, now Sony’s selling a 3D monitor, and 3D gaming is becoming more mainstream. Does 3D come to the console at some point?
In our view, what’s key to the 3D experience is that there be nothing between you and the machine. So for us, 3D gaming without glasses is a key part of the proposition. Right now the TV’s that offer that… I would argue they’re overpriced.. and a fairly small screen. There may come a time when 3D without glasses becomes appropriate for console, but we don’t see that in the near future.
As for the Wii U’s online system:
Your online services are very different than what your competitors offer. Isn’t something missing, that you can’t offer the sort of experience I can get on Xbox Live?
I don’t think it is an issue for us, and here’s why. We’ve seen what our competitors have done, and we’ve acknowledged that we need to do more online, starting with the launch of our eShop on Nintendo 3DS, and we’re going to continue to build our online capability.For Wii U, we’re going to take that one step further, and what we’re doing is creating a much more flexible system that will allow the best approaches by independent publishers to come to bear. So instead of a situation where a publisher has their own network and wants that to be the predominant platform, and having arguments with platform holders, we’re going to welcome that. We’re going to welcome that from the best and the brightest of the third party publishers.
Would it be reasonable to expect there might be a new or significantly upgraded online presence when the new console comes out?
We’ve said that the Wii U will have an extremely robust online experience. There will be other publishers talking about that as well, and from our perspective, we think it’s much more compelling for that information to come from the publishers than to come from us.
I’m so relieved whenever I hear about how much Nintendo is working with third-party publishers on this one, but all the information we’ve received concerning anything online as been vague at best. Right now I think the Wii U’s online system is still under lot of development, and we won’t hear a lot of specifics until next year.
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