Miyamoto: Mobile Competition Actually Helps Wii U
Posted by Andy Green
Says the console will be "very much improved" once updates are complete
The performance of the Wii U operating system has been a major talking point ever since its release. A few system updates have arrived since the console launched that have smoothed things out a bit, but the major updates are yet to be implemented.
In an interview with TIME, Shigeru Miyamoto was asked about the teething problems the Wii U had when it was first launched, with slow loading times between applications causing grief to some. He responded by saying that because of the large scope of the project it was difficult for the development team to really get a feel for how all the features interact with one another. This lead to them not fully realising the advantages and disadvantages until towards the end of development when the system became complete.
Even during the testing phase, it’s difficult to ascertain what facets of those interactions between the applications are resulting in inconveniences for the consumer until you have an opportunity for many people and lots of consumers to try these features out — to understand how they’re using those features and what they’re doing as they’re switching between them. Since the system was released, we’ve spent a great deal of time looking at how people are using it and where they feel it can be improved, and we’re currently continuing out preparations for this first major system update that’s coming. What we want to do is make sure that when we release it, that we address as many of the different opinions about how people would like to see the system improve as we can at once. We hope to cover a wide range of requests while simultaneously ensuring it’s a very stable update to the system.
He believes that by summer, once the major updates are complete, the Wii U system will be "very much improved over how it's performing currently".
The legendary game designer went on to talk about one area that is a strong point for Nintendo right now - the connection speed between the Wii U and the GamePad:
We strongly feel the transfer speed between those two devices is so strong that it’s not something that can necessarily be achieved by other devices that haven’t been designed specifically with that in mind. So as we get into these other system-based updates, our anticipation is that because of the amount of effort we’ve dedicated to the GamePad’s wireless connection to the hardware, these additional improvements are going to make for an overall device that’s even more convenient to use.
Naturally, since the console launched a few mobile devices have cropped up with their own take on the experience. Miyamoto addressed the competition the Wii U is receiving from tablet and smartphone devices as well as set-top boxes from companies like Apple and Roku:
I look at it from two different angles. One is how you can use a device like Wii U — to make an experience that up until now has happened on a single screen — into a better and more convenient experience. And I think that the Wii Street U powered by Google application we’ve recently released for Wii U is an example of how we’ve taken an existing application and really enhanced it through the use of Wii U and the GamePad.
He feels that the GamePad and its capabilities are so unique that upon playing games from smartphone and tablet applications, gamers will realise just how much Wii U has to offer:
Certainly from an interactive standpoint, when it comes to interactive content, because of the strength of that streaming capability of Wii U, my feeling is that the more you start to see other devices that are integrating connectivity with smartphones or tablets through special applications, the more that that’s simply going to illustrate the benefits of having Wii U because of the advantages it has in terms of its interactive elements and how the system streams graphics to the Wii U GamePad screen.
Miyamoto knows the Wii U needs to improve, and he didn't attempt to shy away from the concerns people were having. One such area which has irked some players is storage, which can be fairly limited no matter which model you pick up. However, he said allowing the user to add the amount of storage they need to supplement the Wii U adds to the flexibility of the console.
He evidently believes that the Wii U will become a device that people go to for all their entertainment needs:
I think that with everything Wii U can do, people are going to find that it is the one device they’re going to want to have connected in their living room to access all their entertainment.
What are your thoughts on these comments, and the competition that's been popping up? Let us know, as always, below.