Nintendo Is Strengthening Development Teams, Defends Wii U Capabilities

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.


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