News Article

Nintendo Is Strengthening Development Teams, Defends Wii U Capabilities

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

Unannounced games slated for late 2013

Following this week's financial reports, Nintendo had its standard Q&A session with investors to discuss the results and business plans. The full transcript has been published in Japanese but, at the time of writing, the English translation is yet to arrive. Thankfully, NeoGaf member farnham has translated some interesting snippets to consider while we wait for the official transcript to be posted.

A major topic that arguably matters the most for Nintendo and Wii U is games, games and more games. Satoru Iwata and Shigeru Miyamoto addressed a question about development cycles and time-frames for releases, with the revelations that teams are being expanded and that 2013 may still see game releases yet to be announced.

Iwata: We are not thinking about a long timeframe. We are thinking about Mid year up to End of the year 2013. We also have games that are slated for end of the year that we haven't mentioned yet.

Miyamoto: It takes time to understand the charm of Wii U. We are currently offering a few titles but we are aiming for games that sell steadily for the next 3 years not for games that stop selling after a few weeks. We have a lot of ideas for 2 screen play. We definitely need more employees internally and externally so we are strengthening our development teams.

With announcements of Sony and Microsoft's new systems due in the coming weeks (Sony) or in 2-3 months (Microsoft), there are question marks over whether cloud gaming will play a significant role. Wii U, of course, has opted for a standard structure of games played from a disc or hard-drive, rather than streaming over the web. Judging by the responses of Iwata and Miyamoto, cloud gaming isn't in Nintendo's plans.

Iwata: There are things you can do with cloud gaming and there are things you can't do. We don't agree that cloud gaming is the future and we are trying to work hard on a future where gaming only consoles are not gone. Unified platforms are for us not platforms that are one but rather platforms that have the same development architecture. This also means that there could be more platforms.

Miyamoto: We needed to create new development environments for Wii U and 3DS unlike Wii, which reused the GameCube architecture. We are unifying our development teams to accommodate this challenge and minimize the losses while preparing the shift. I think handhelds and consoles will coexist as the aim is different.

The final area to pick up on was a question of whether the Wii U architecture is too heavily focused on its GPU, picking up on comments in some development quarters that the CPU is comparatively weak. While defending the capabilities of the system, there was also an acknowledgement that Nintendo's own teams have needed re-education and external expertise to make the most of the console's architecture.

Miyamoto: For High End graphics there is a hurdle, since we have to re-educate our people. The development itself hasn't changed but we are recruiting specialists that can become core members in each specialized area. External Developers are used to shader techniques and we are collaborating a lot with external companies nowadays so we have a very good development structure.

Iwata: Every gaming hardware has its specialities. There is a timing of hit and miss before the functions can be used fully. We were not able to provide development kits that get out all the power of Wii U until mid of last year. With other gaming consoles firms had 6 to 7 years to experiment but our console has a different balance so it is easy to see who has adapted and who hasn't. However this is something time will heal so we are not too worried.

Takeda: Wii U is a machine that has a lot of performance compared to its power consumption. The GPU is definitely more pronounced than the CPU. There are people saying that the CPU is weak but that is not true. It is a trend that the cache memory is what's getting bigger with CPUs, not the processing power. I do not think at the CPU is underpowered. Its just a design where the memory is more stressed.

The translated text also included an explanation that the NFC functionality hasn't been forgotten, with figurines, cards and e-payments all being explored.

So, what do you think of these responses? As soon as the official and full English translation arrives we'll bring you more details.


From the web

User Comments (73)



SkyMarshall said:

The Wii U capabilities are more than enough. I like what Nintendo has done with this machine. I buy Nintendo hardware to play Nintendo exclusives. I always have and I always will. I do miss global achievements though. I really do.



19Robb92 said:

I really hope Nintendo doesn't start to rush out some of their titles just because of this slow start for the WiiU. They should take all the time they need.




"The translated text also included an explanation that the NFC functionality hasn't been forgotten, with figurines, cards and e-payments all being explore." Think that should be "explored"



Lan said:

When speaking about the CPU, it says "cash" instead of "cache". I understand it's a quote so that's how it probably was in the original source, I'm just sayin'.



FullbringIchigo said:

i think the Wii U is more than powerful enough and anyway the main reason i get Nintendo is for their games Zelda for example

i'm sure once developers have learned how to make games for the Wii U properly the games will start poring in



cornishlee said:

Like many others, I always believed that Nintendo had held several games back from the announcement the other day for revealing at E3. Beyond that though, there are several interesting quotes in here:

-It's interesting to see Nintendo openly discuss the CPU/GPU issue. Like someone on the fourms here has been telling us (sorry, I forget who) what they seem to be saying is that the CPU is not important for running games. Taken with the "dedicated games console" line, it explains their decision to concentrate on GPU power for the Wii U.
-The fact that the final dev kit wasn't ready for developers until six months ago explains why the Wii U hasn't been included on recent multi-plat releases (and also underlines what a tight schedule launch day ports were made on).
-That Nintendo are actively recruiting more people with HD game experience underlines their commitment to supporting the ecosystem and sits nicely alongside their "games are getting bigger, we need to collaborate more" comments of the other day.
All in all, some interesting reading, thanks NL!

By the way, to all those who say "I buy Nintendo consoles to play "Nintendo games", well, yes, why else would you. Such statements kind of miss the point though. As someone who cannot afford more than one console I'm very keen to see as wide a selection of games as possible on the Wii U. I may like Nintendo games but I don't like Nintendo games exclusively.



WingedSnagret said:

Hardly surprising that there are more games yet to be announced via E3. Just means this will be a great E3 this year, unlike the last couple times...



WanderingPB said:

As i've said in the past i believe Nintendo is playing chess not checkers…im very satisfied with my WiiU and cant wait to see what else nintendo has in store for us…
But like @19Robb92 said i hope they dont rush anything because that truly separates Nintendo from the rest IMO



WhiteTrashGuy said:

The Wii U has the same hurdle as the GCN; getting teams to write differently for it. Because it used the smaller discs the GCN had compression tech for textures and audio and it would uncompress on the fly. It was unlike the PS2 which was all about the Emotion Engine and the XBOX which was about RAM. So now the Wii U is about RAM and GPU, not a super fast CPU.



Kyloctopus said:

Could this mean the stress of development for the 3DS is being simmered down. Similar to the development for the Wii being dead due to the stress of selling a 3DS in 2011?



Will-75 said:

I was fortunate enough to get a Wii U on launch day and after a little time with it I can honestly say it's my favorite NINTENDO system to date - I am totally impressed with it I CANT WAIT TO PLAY ME SOME NINTENDO TITLES ! Bring on the new METRIOD, ZELDA, MARIO, SMASH BROS., DONKEY KONG, KIRBY, MARIO KART, KID ICARUS, WARIO WARE, AND BAYONETTA!!



Onett said:

As I've said before, It's going to be an amazing E3 this year. Once some big Wii U announcements are made and more of the great 2013 3DS titles are released, all of the doom and gloom talk will cease. It's safe to say that Nintendo made a big mistake launching both the 3DS and the Wii U prematurely without having a strong enough lineup of system sellers within a reasonable launch window. Shouldn't they have known that developing HD games takes a lot more time, money and resources? Nevertheless it's good news to hear that they've made the necessary adjustments to streamline their development. While that may come at a cost, there is the promise of big Wii U titles on the horizon. I may be dusting off my Wii U and 3DS much sooner than I expected.



ThomasBW84 said:

@cornishlee I certainly prefer to build game libraries for 3DS and Wii U (as I did for DS and Wii), rather than using what funds I have on bits and pieces for multiple systems. While I have access to a decent PC, it's been nice to play games like AC3 and Arkham City on Wii U.

3rd party support is important, I agree it can't be all about Nintendo games.



LavaTwilight said:

I think their replies are fair and probably very realistic. They seem to know what they're doing and while the rest of the gaming industry are loving making fun of Nintendo, Nintendo are simply focusing on what they need to do to get it right. In all honesty, this is probably why the Wii was such a success and Kinect and the... umm... ... ...Sony equivelent weren't. Of course since other companies didn't get the full dev kits til only a few months before launch, that also explains why the games we're seeing may not be as good as different games on other systems, but come next year... well I honestly think the writing is on the wall for MS and Sony's next consoles. They can't see it but it's coming.



Zombie_Barioth said:

@ThomasBW84 I hear ya, thats why I'm hesitant to adopt new platforms right a way. With each new console I feel the need to make sure I build up a healthy library for it (and use it, obviously) so the more I have the more time and money I have to spread around, simply put I'd rather concentrate my limited resources on a few things.



strongest_link said:

@19Robb92 They've already delayed Pikmin 3 and Wonderful 101 a couple of times. They're clearly more interested in getting games right than getting them out early, as they always have been.



Farmboy74 said:

At least Nintendo recognize that their development teams need strengthening, hopefully we'll see a new F-Zero and some new IP'S. Does this mean that they are looking to set up a new development team or studio? It's also interesting to see that full powered dev kits have been only available for six - seven months at most. Hopefully as time moves on we will also get some multiplatform games.



SpaceApe said:

So what about these unannounced games ? They better not be ports unless it is the Mass Effect Trilogy or Skyrim.



Farmboy74 said:

I would like to see Skyrim, what about Star Wars 1313? does any one think the Wii U can handle that?



Mk_II said:

"We also have games that are slated for end of the year that we haven't mentioned yet." i knew it! ive been saying that for months... Nintendo has a couple of aces up their sleeve.

And nice to hear they are considering figurines & cards for the NFR reader. Big potential there for gameplay and making money... consider how well a "Pokemon.Skylanders" would sell !



Nintenjoe64 said:

It will be incredibly frustrating if we have to wait til the end of the U's life cycle to get to see the equivalent graphics of RE4 on GC.



GreenDream said:

Takeda-san is exactly right, consumer grade CPU's have been BARELY capable of pushing 3 gigahertz for the past 10 years now. Raw processing speed and power in CPU's haven't seen significant increases ever since dual core processors first came out. The biggest difference is the number of working memory and cores available to simultaneously use. Even then, most programs today STILL do not utilize multiple cores to their greatest potential. There are CPU's today with 8 or more cores, but most programs only utilize 2 at most... So, the benefits of multi-threading cores is still yet untapped.

The PS3 is a perfect example of this- it's forced to match Xbox360 specs for multiplatform projects, so the CPU's many cores oftentimes don't get to be pushed to their full potential.

Another lesser known issue is that motherboards create a bottleneck for the rest of a system's components. If the motherboard is outdated, then it will not be able to use newer components to their fullest potential, even if they are compatible. Thus, it makes sense that the Wii U CPU would have it's memory limitations be toned down to meet the limitations of the motherboard.

Let's also not forget that most high-end CPU's today, without factoring for any other computer components, sell for MORE than the price of a complete Wii U. So the business benefits of cutting costs and power consumption is obvious- from a logical perspective, what does it matter to have a more powerful product if fewer people are able to afford it?



19Robb92 said:

Yeah. What actually came to my mind was the Mario Kart game that is in development. They said it'd be shown and playable at E3, but did not show any footage of it.

And I have a feeling that Mario Kart is a game they might want to release sooner rather than later. If they release it this year I feel as if they might have rushed it out just to fill the calendar.



NintyMan said:

The Wii U's power is good enough, but they should still commit to integrating the NFC. Don't let it fall on the wayside like the Vitality Sensor.

And Iwata's statement about unannounced games coming later this year just confirms what I already thought. Their recent Nintendo Direct was to get people excited again, and E3 will stoke that once again this June.



SuperMinusWorld said:

@19Robbs92 This exactly. Please Nintendo, perfect your games. I still remember when they talked about considering rushing out Super Mario Galaxy due to the criticism of lack of a Mario launch game. They quelled any of those thoughts with the notion that producing a polished, perfect game was more important than pushing out a game faster. Keep that mindset intact! I want Mario Wii U to look AND play beautifully!



sinalefa said:

The part I like the most is the one about strengthening teams. I don't stress too much about games taking long to be released, since I prefer polished, better games in the long run. Maybe I watch it from my selfish perspective of being a multisystem owner, so sometimes I play on one system while the others get ignored.

Thanks Thomas for posting this. It is a glimpse into Nintendo's vision of the future, and it looks promising.



SCAR said:

I trust they know what their doing. I've read up on GPU vs. CPU computing, and understand GPU importance in component combinations. Building teams, or adding to existing ones is always good, too. This interview should have answered ALOT of questions for people who had them.



HiroshiYamauchi said:

Interesting news, thanks NeoGaf! It's good to see that Nintendo is aware of what they should do, but i think they have a big problem right now, they don't have the 3rd party support they were hoping for and their core fans are not pleased because of the lack of AAA titles from Nintendo. Massive 3rd party support is something that Nintendo probably will never have again, so i think they should focus on their franchises to boost Wii U sales. Seriously, people love Pokemon (myself not included), why not make a Pokemon game for the Wii U that connects in some way with Pokemon X & Y? I know Nintendo has a firm philosophy about Pokemon on home consoles, but they need to boost their sales. I know you're gonna say it takes time, it costs money and all, but you have to invest to have something in return.



SCAR said:

There's tons on Nintendo made software that's gonna show up, they just all didn't come out day one, and won't come out the same day. They are trying to build 3rd party support by funding games like Bayonetta 2, and I think Lego City is being heavily supported by Nintendo as well. I'm sure we will see a Pokemon game on Wii U that connects the games like Stadium, Ranch, or Battle Revolution again.



alLabouTandroiD said:

I don't think cloud saves ar a necessity. If one day hopefully more games can be played both on Wii U and 3DS an automatic sync function would be perfectly fine with me. On the other hand it could be cool if you could access all your stuff on the console of friend too.
I'm just afraid that with cloud gaming i could lose some of my stuff once somebody decides to take some servers down.



BATRA said:

i hope to see battalion wars 3 for the wii u
i like all nintendo games
wii u is a good console



vio said:

I agree with the other comments about a new HD F-Zero! It's now been close to a staggering 10(!) years since an F-Zero game was made for a console. It's long overdue.



Metal_Slugger said:

I can't seem to figure out how to "gift" a game to a family member. If you can't do this its ridiculous. I thought they wanted money.



GreenDream said:

@triforcepower73 The fine details have not been released to the public. However...,17521.html

Many of the known relevant details are above. In short, it looks like that at it's maximum potential, the Wii U GPU is probably comparable to somewhere between a Radeon HD 4770 and Radeon HD 4870 graphics card.

Even though that is 2008/2009 tech, that is still FAR superior to the Xbox360 and PS3 GPU's. That also means that the Wii U's graphics accounts for (a current standalone market rate of) about $80 of the system. If the Xbox720 and PS4 have significantly improved specs over that, then they will most likely cost over $600 at launch.

The motherboard, CPU, memory bus, and GPU all seem to be synchronous at a glance. This is important, because the Wii U will not need to account for the current bottlenecks of the Xbox360 and PS3. The people saying that the Wii U is bottlenecked are probably drunk from the power of $300+ individual components for PC's.

All of this being said, what has not been revealed to the public is the custom modifications applied to this hardware, at the behest of Nintendo. We can be sure that the Wii U will be more efficient in it's processes than 2009 PC's. However, there is also a few conflicting details surrounding the CPU processing speed. So I think the answer to the question of "does the memory match the graphics" remains to be seen.



NinGamer85 said:

I think some of those articles are a little dated.
Broken down quite simply a small fast vehicle can get point A to B faster but can only carry so much each trip like older cpu's/arcitectures based on raw clock speed.
A larger vehicle may not travel as fast but can carry much more each time and complete the task faster overall like the Wii U architecture. They also built the CPU, GPU and memory on die meaning they can communicate and work together much faster than seperate components talking across a motherboard.

When games begin to take advantage of this incredibly efficient design all doubts of ability in this little box will wash away. You should see much better load times and larger, prettier textures. They didn't overdo the CPU because it can lead to faster breakdown of components and more heat. (YLOD or RROD lol) It is however plenty fast and capable when used properly while remaining cooler and hopefully living longer. I bought a Wii on day one that still works like it's brand new and I expect nothing less from Wii U. I love only having to buy a system once.



WindWakerLink said:

@seronja Me too & iwata as well. "games that sell for 3yrs & not just 3 weeks and stop..." i really like that line from miyamoto. its so smart but that what i expect from genius like him.



GreenDream said:

@NinGamer85 I think the Gamers Portal link is relevant because some of the comments add to and correct the article. It also highlights the chaos surrounding the misinformation regarding Nintendo hardware, even amongst hardcore techie groups, due to Nintendo's strict non-disclosure agreements.



NinGamer85 said:

Aye, didn't look at the comments. The announced updates have me very curious. I'm wondering exactly what's going on that they plan to improve system performance in pieces. Either way I think it's a fascinating device and love playing it. Nintendo is always doing more with less...I can't wait to see what they do with more (developers working together).



ShortSleevedNook said:

I think Wii U's graphics are fine. as long as they are in HD, which is what today's standard is. The graphics look great, and you know what, it may be different from Xbox and PS, but I like that. It's HD, it's modern, it's FINE.



Schprocket said:

One of the most interesting reports with the best follow-up comments I've read on NL re: the Wii U to date!
Cheers all!



rjejr said:

Im glad they said they are bringing in more people, I think Nintendo may have bitten off more than they can chew with the jump to HD. They may have the greatest mind ever in Shigeru Miyamoto but what good is it if the underlings cant code properly? Look at trailers for Last of Us and Beyond and the Kara demo. When has anybody working at Nintendo ever produced anything that looks like that? Its not all about the graphics, but if you want to call your system next gen then your games should at least look as good as last gen games.

And this isnt only a Nintendo issue. GTAV just got pushed back and nobody knows sbout Last Guardian, but Sony has plenty of other games, Nintendo needs some more help.



AVahne said:

GPU rumors are still just rumors. There are probable Wii U GPUs all over the place, from 4xxx series to 5xxx series to even 6xxx series.



AugustusOxy said:

Cloud gaming is a terrible concept. It has nice applications, but I can't stand the idea of not being able to play a game when the internet cuts out. I'm tired of being strong-armed into concepts that other people accept because of the convenience instead of the actual applications.

Imagine if you couldn't watch any of the DVDs in your collection without having a internet streaming device. That is how stupid cloud gaming is.



Amigaengine said:

Battalion Wars 3 would be special with the game pad !!

The best article I have read yet and glad nintendo is opening up to the masses



redrx8gt2005 said:

this might sound crazy and fanboyish but i think they will announce Donkey Kong Country REturns 2 (an epic hd remake of the 2nd on snes) , F Zero witch will look awesome in HD , Luigi Mansion , Mario Party , just so many games it can be but the main game can possibly be Donkey Kong 2 im sure of it ... a nice RPG like Chrono 3 would be awesome too ... and whatever happened to Killer Instinct ...



Neram said:

I get the impression that Nintendo is getting ready to kick some a** and take names. Seriously, they must be tired of so-so sales results, and Nintendo is a company with a lot of power, if they want to make some changes, you better believe it's going to be big. What we've seen with the Wii U so far is nothing, just wait until the other companies release their systems, that's when things will get really interesting.



dragon_rider said:

@AugustusOxy Not to mention that if the servers get hacked/go down and the company goes under. Well, your games go down the crapper, too. Money well spend indeed. I'll stick with Steam thank you.

What does cloud gaming have that Steam doesn't? Oh, I know, nothing, that's what.



cornishlee said:

@AugustusOxy said: "Cloud gaming is a terrible concept. It has nice applications, but I can't stand the idea of not being able to play a game when the internet cuts out. I'm tired of being strong-armed into concepts that other people accept because of the convenience instead of the actual applications."

A little off topic but this is exactly the problem I have the my mobile 'phone (which is Windows). My old Nokia had an SD card which, combined with built in memory gave me 64GB to play with. I could store my entire music collection on there and stil have memory spare for high resolution photo's. OK, it may not have been the best mp3 player or camera in the world but it was convenient and good enough. Now, my 'phone has no SD slot and Windows insists I store things "to the cloud". Great. I can no longer use my 'phone to playback music in the car, with service cutting in and out on long journeys and, most pertinent to me, since I spend 2-3 months every year working in remote parts of the world without mobile coverage I lose that storage completely. Also at my mum and dad's house, which doesn't have mobile reception.

Anyway, rant over. Microsoft does a wonderful job of forcing "progress" onto people for whom it's inappropriate.



EaZy_T said:

Sounds like Nintendo has a plan.

The Wii U's CPU might be 'weaker' than the upcoming PSBOXes, but I bet they will not be the powerhouses that everyone thinks they will be. I'm guessing that the systems' architecture will be similar enough to get some decent ports. The small ammount of info leaked about next PS sounds a lot like Wii U (ie. social aspect, posting screenshots, touchpad on controller), so Nintendo is once again doing the trendsetting.



Daz-brum said:

Cone on Nintendo tell us of the games we all know what they but tell us for me Star Fox in HD is mmmmmmmmm !!!!!



Pete_Stooge said:

Nintendo is capable of making classic games, period. And every system had one (or two or three...). Games is key: You'd buy a PS3 for GTA and Red Dead Redemption, and you'd buy a Wii U for...2D Mario...think not. Nintendo has to get their first party software off the ground. And it better be awesome. Than I'll buy.



Moshugan said:

''We are currently offering a few titles but we are aiming for games that sell steadily for the next 3 years not for games that stop selling after a few weeks.''
I agree! People always complain about the lack of new games (and for a reason) but I for one have so many games still to play on all of Nintendo's past platforms, so even if no new games were ever released the back-catalogue would keep me busy for some time, provided they were available of course.
And this brings me to the point that companies should embrace their old games via digital downloads. It's very cost effective to dedicate some server space to offer old games even if few people bought them.
''We definitely need more employees internally and externally so we are strengthening our development teams.''
This is good to hear, and it needs to happen. I think Nintendo can overcome the complexified development challenges. Let's just hope that people at large will understand the charm of Wii U.



Phle said:

I would rather wait for a while and be able to get some really good games for my Wii U than getting games that Nintendo has rushed out too soon. Quality is worth waiting for.



TheRealThanos said:

Smart man, must be the age...
But seriously: maybe it's me, but I do think that a lot of the panicky reactions when you see something negative published about Nintendo come from younger people for the most part, and then there's a group of people (that might be older) who feel that Nintendo 'has let them down' the last couple of years. I'm always a lot more laid back and take things as they come. Works most of the time and the glass is almost always half full. I don't know if you've already seen me post these, but this guy thinks a lot like us, and also backs it up with VERY good arguments and data. And it ties in nicely with the topic: - Next-Gen console specs leaked by AMD Execs - Xbox 720 Will Be Six Times as Powerful as Current Gen!!!! But........
I put up the second link just to incorporate the Xbox into the story to see how they (more than likely) will match up to the Wii U.
By the way, hope you got to check out the links I gave you on the Sniper Elite v2 topic. If not, you might want to check them out, it's the comment on the bottom...



Gigagator said:

@Ima_Gerd I agree. When did graphics go to peoples' heads so much? When did people forget that playing games is about how they make you feel and bringing a smile to your face (or a tear to your eye). The onset of HD certainly didn't help but now people care more about anti-aliasing than they do about how the game plays.

On another note, Wii U seems to have had the most hated release of any games console in recent history. The negativity for it is truly shocking. I went onto Google News about a week ago and typed in 'Wii U' (as I do when I want to see if any big news has come up) and every single article on the first page was critical of Wii U.

If Wii U survives all this negativity, then kudos to it and Nintendo. I love my Wii U, but it just seems like you can't convince modern console gamers that it's about the games and not the graphics.



GreenDream said:

@Koto Nintendo confirmed what type of architecture they used when pressed, but will not elaborate upon the fine details. So yes, the roughly equivalent devices which fit within the confirmed architecture parameters are used as unknown comparisons. Even so, they're still important to give us some kind of concrete idea of what we can expect in the future. So that part about the Wii U's GPU matching the upper echelons of the Radeon 4xxx series is not only based on mere rumors, but on facts.



BossBattles said:

Some of the best looking games art-wise were on the Wii. If they had been in HD, nobody could have said much about the Wii somehow being underpowered. It was fine.

The Wii U will be capable of some lovely visuals, no doubt. Not worried at all. Never am. No idea why there is so much talk among gamers about the tech that they TRULY do not even understand....just enjoy games and PLAY them, stop deconstructing everything.



Jellitoe said:

Everytime I play Blackops 2 I see that it is powerful enough. The graphics are beatiful. The only thing that is lacking is games. But those will start rolling in soon enough

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