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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.

[via techland.time.com, gonintendo.com]

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User Comments (48)

Void

#1

Void said:

Playing on the Wii U is different for sure, it's another way I can browse the internet! Now I have 4 devices I can do it on at the same time!

Ernest_The_Crab

#2

Ernest_The_Crab said:

I do agree with him in regards to the storage. I would much rather have a hard drive that I can use with multiple devices rather than just the one attached to my console (especially since the Wii U can use partitioned drives).

I'm not so sure about the "all in one" entertainment device though. Right now running applications is slow going (which sounds like they're trying to fix in the summer patch). It's something that none of the consoles have really been able to address as well as a PC or laptop which multi-task a lot better than their console brethren.

luminalace

#3

luminalace said:

I must say the Gamepad has changed my habits a lot. I hardly use my PC now because I do most of my browsing on the GP. I love having the TV on and browsing or playing Zen Pinball at the same time.

gavn64

#4

gavn64 said:

youtube and web searching all through the lightning fast wiiu and gamepad whilst watching tv bliss it is a game changer i never had the ability to watch youtube before to any kind of stable level the wiiu handles long clips without ever needing to buffer its amazing.

Will-75

#6

Will-75 said:

The Wii U is an Amazing console , I can't wait for some of the big games to be released there really is an endless amount of possibilitys with this system - with the right software and the proper updates the Wii U will be and is the system to beat .

RADencker

#8

RADencker said:

Nintendo, please give use a Media app to stream data off our DLNA servers! PLEASE! Go ask the people behind Plexapp to make one for Wii U

Metal_Slugger

#9

Metal_Slugger said:

It has potential to be great. My browser still freezes there is still an issue with html5 playback after the new update ( sometimes but it's there).

Dpullam

#11

Dpullam said:

I have high hopes for the Wii U once system updates hit and improve the overall performance. I also can see myself using Wii Street U Street quite regularly to unwind after gaming for a while once I get a Wii U.

Jukilum

#13

Jukilum said:

What they should have done to give the gamepad full advantage over tablets: multitouch.

What they should have done to make it the "one place you go to access all of your entertainment: among other thing: Blu-ray playback among other things. I don't personally feel that the Wii U should neccisarily be a Blu-ray player, but to say it's the one place you'll go for all of your entertainment, there really would need to be a way to watch movies you own aside from just Amazon Prime (or navigating to a video on your computer via the browser.)

banacheck

#14

banacheck said:

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.

This isn't exactly true as tablets and mobile phones in conjunction with each other have doing games that use two screens before the Wii U was released.

Slapshot

#15

Slapshot said:

Yes, because the Wii U is selling just as great as mobile devices. Err... wait...

kyuubikid213

#16

kyuubikid213 said:

@Jukilum Multitouch isn't that big of a deal. I think that, for what the GamePad is used for, a resistive touch screen is perfect. Making it a capacitive touch screen would only make it more expensive and...it's unnecessary.

The Wii U only really needs some more games EXCLUSIVE TO THE SYSTEM to help it out. The load times don't bug me because I played PS1 when I was younger...and play Monster Hunter Tri today... We just need games of the same calibre as Dark Souls, Elder Scrolls, and Tomb Raider to show people that this is a system you absolutely have to have, and the Wii U will be fine.

UnseatingKDawg

#18

UnseatingKDawg said:

This system sounds better and better. Although I do have to agree with Jukilum to an extent - it can't really be called the "one device" for all your entertainment if you can't play DVDs or audio CDs on it. But still, I can't wait to get one!

BetweenTheTrees

#19

BetweenTheTrees said:

I bought my Wii U on the release date. i haven't noticed the loading speed. i'm just glad to have a nintendo system that i can enjoy again. i was not a fan of the wii. there were some games (very very very few) that i enjoyed. like skyward sword and some others. but most games felt like cheap arcade games. not an actual game system. i love my Wii U and everything about it. the games and uses of gamepad are fun and i am super excited to see what the future holds for my Wii U

Ernest_The_Crab

#20

Ernest_The_Crab said:

@Slapshot I hope you weren't serious with that one. A lot of people out there would "need" a cellphone in regards to the more connected world nowadays whereas a home console isn't exactly a requirement by any means of the word.

gundam00

#21

gundam00 said:

I'm actually waiting for all these system updates to be ironed out and buy a Wii U that has those updates built into the mainframe. However, I am worried that when the next freshly manufactured shipments of Wii U arrive with the updates built in, Nintendo will retire the 10% off Virtual Console deal :(

Amigaengine

#22

Amigaengine said:

The screen imo is perfect for gaming as it was designed. Web Browser is the best out of the big 3 and its not even close.

WiiU needs XBMC to handle media function

GoombaSlayer

#24

GoombaSlayer said:

"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"

  • Well, even though this is currently true for me i cant deny that it would not hurt to be able to play retail music and film content on it. I mean.. its really weird that Nintendo still havent licensed this possibility, not even DVD-playback.. Very hipster of them.
banacheck

#25

banacheck said:

If the Wii U is a one stop entertainment system why on earth doesn't it play Blu-Ray films? or even music CDs which is a basic function even in a cheap £30 DVD and thats saying something.

Bankai

#26

Bankai said:

@Ernest_The_Crab tablets aren't "required" either. There's the real mobile competitor to the Wii U, and the iPad is dramatically outselling the Wii U right now.

I don't think anyone who has used a tablet could legitimately claim the Wii U has a hope in competing in terms of general entertainment.

SmallFryUnify

#27

SmallFryUnify said:

I personally think it's good that the machine doesn't have Music & DVD playback as standard. However I think there are still enough people out there that warrants the ability to install a software update to unlock both. Maybe it could be a small fee to download and it would unlock the features, covering any licensing fees for using CD/DVD/BluRay functionality.

If Nintendo does what it did with the Wii and not provide an option like above, then they really need to create alternatives means to streaming music and films. It needs to be something more akin to iTunes in that sense as having numerous apps like Netflix/Amazon/Lovefilm etc, make it a convoluted experience. It's possibly were TVii comes in, but as it is only the US has that and even then it's not fully working.

Like said already, I think it's a good thing to reduce consumer costs by removing that functionality but I think it should be something that is an option if wanted. I hate when people say stuff like, "You can get a DVD player for £15" or "I've already got numerous devices to play DVD's on so I don't need it", the problem with any comments like that is that they are missing a very valid point. You are not everybody and so what you want isn't what everyone else wants. Even if there's only 100 people out there wanting that functionality, isn't it better to add it as a paid app or download, something that doesn't impact anyone except those who want the service. That way costs are kept down and only those wanting the features have to pay to have them, covering the fees when required.

FullbringIchigo

#29

FullbringIchigo said:

"He evidently believes that the Wii U will become a device that people go to for all their entertainment needs"

you are going to need better third party support for that to happen so many games just released that are not on the Wii U eg: Tomb Raider and Square Enix have said they are not going to make it for the Wii U either because of the gamepad or Knomai with Castlevanina Lords of Shadow 2 because of the cost, if more company's do that then that's a major problem

although if all Wii U's shipped with the Pro Controller as well as the gamepad then that wouldn't be a issue because everyone would have a normal controller and then company's like Square can't complain about the controls or having to use the gamepad screen

i'm not moaning here i love my Wii U but the situation with third party developers doesn't look good from a consumer standpoint i mean why would someone buy a Wii U if the games they want are not going to be on it? yeah the first party games (eg: Zelda) will sell units but with the PS4 and Nextbox round the corner Nintendo need to push and push big time, they ain't going to get a free ride this time like they did with the Wii

bizcuthammer

#30

bizcuthammer said:

I just want games. I can deal with the loading times, but i cant deal with having a console that collects dust again like the wii did for months at a time for me. Heck, i dont think i turned my wii on during the entire calendar years of 2009 or 2012. That cant happen with wii u. But it is right now... No pikmin 3, wonderful 101, game & wario, rayman legends... These were all supposed to be launch window games! Well, launch window closes in about 3 weeks and we dont even have release dates for them yet. I know there's stuff coming in the future like mario, wind waker hd, smash bros, etc, but thats still no excuse for why we have next to nothing to play right now, and havent since launch. Get your head in the game, nintendo! What were you doing in 2012? You didnt release any wii games, so what did you spend your development time for wii u doing? Looking at fruit?

Ren

#31

Ren said:

yeah, cause they couldn't possibly have tested all these things before releasing the console at all. Also it's silly to think that with this goal of being an "all in one" entertainment machine, it's ok to NOT have a DVD/CD player built in. It's a small point but also a matter of Nintendo still being out of touch; how is it that DVD's are not still considered part of home entertainment? It's not like they can claim that they're massive supporters of digital-distro-only, evidenced by their horrible and late support of anything online.
I still kind of WANT to want a WiiU but it's comments like these (Miyamoto, not you guys) that scare me away again every time. It's like having a 150 year old civil war vet who fought on horseback deciding the next direction for a modern car company. Seriously, Miyamoto? Has he ever used an apple device before? or the competitions devices? "Difficult to ascertain"?! if you live underwater maybe; you make the friggin thing, give it to 50 people BEFORE it launches and do some testing; oh, that would mean actually working on things ahead of time on a realistic schedule.
This is far from a full entertainment machine, because when you're talking about modern media entertainment the small things ARE the big things. No storage for big games, slow loading, heavy baby-monitoring, incomplete "entertainment hub" apps, no DVD player, separate Wii load/e-shop. Yet they're clearly still delusional about it's appeal, it's marketing, and what people want. It's just sad to me because there is potential there with the gamepad and HD Nintendo IP's, but they need to learn how to sell the thing better. I won't be surprised when they move to software only in 5-6 years, I'll be happy because I want to play Nintendos fantastic games but I don't want that silly machine.

Luffy

#32

Luffy said:

I'm gonna say that once I used the game pad I dont know how I can ever game again without it. I just love having the map there so I can just glance quickly and no need to pause to take up my tv screen. 52 inch bravia. :P

I hope some of the big 3rd party games for ps4 and nextbox come to wii U because I much rather play it on the wii U JUST cuz the controller is a life/game changer.

Luffy

#33

Luffy said:

@Ren Nintendo said they would never just do software. If they went down they are taking the IPs down with them forever.

BTW how did going to just software help sega? They never made a good game since they went full software.

Luffy

#34

Luffy said:

@bizcuthammer lol same! I'm not bragging or saying I'm rich but I have dam money and i check here and IGN everyday for a wii U game that I want to buy. I just wanna buy games and play em!!! And I wanna play on my Wii U cuz I can't go back to a normal controller anymroe after i got used to the gamepad.

Luffy

#35

Luffy said:

@GoombaSlayer yah when i put my 500gig hd on my wii U it format it to nintendo format so I cant watch my downloads. sucks but i knew nintendo would do something like that they are so moral. geez.

FOREST_RANGER

#36

FOREST_RANGER said:

@Ren I do think they tried their best to polish the Wii U software. Even if they did scrounge up more testers and identified the bugs, it could have taken lots of time for them to correct it. And I can only assume they didn't want to miss their deadline. And do keep in mind that this is a big change in both direction and technical scope for the company.

Whether it was a good idea to release the system in November is a tricky question. But in my opinion, I don't think the Wii could help sustain their revenue since it was neglected by developers at this point. And thus the Wii U was released in November :P

Bankai

#37

Bankai said:

@Luffy the shareholders and board would have something to say about that, actually.

As much as Nintendo's rhetoric is noble, it is not how publicaly-owned companies operate.

Luffy

#38

Luffy said:

@Bankai very true. But if forced to produce games because of shareholders i'm sure the games will suck as they would want to get fired and move on to new projects with new companies. You can't force anyone to do anything no matter how public a company is.

SpaceApe

#40

SpaceApe said:

I really love playing on the Wii U. I think the touch pad is such a game changer on how you play games but come on Nintendo, give us some really good games to play. I would rather play on the Wii U than my pc. I really would but Nintendo needs to bring big time games to the console not just platform games, rehashed ips and year old pc ports.

Zombie_Barioth

#41

Zombie_Barioth said:

@Luffy As you said things haven't went well for Sega, but they're still going despite that. Granted if they were to start to tank some of their share holders might bail out, but given their history and reputation I doubt thats very likely to happen.

One thing I think people (Nintendo included) need to realize is that off-screen play isn't as big a selling point as you might think. You can just as easily use any other portable device while doing other things, and most mainstream consumers would be just as content using a phone or tablet.

Heck, I've been playing handhelds while watching TV since the GBC came out.

Noend

#42

Noend said:

I have been switching to all digital content so format playback is actually not needed. I only buy 3D bluray, everything else is digital....except games only because of Nintendo having a terrible console linking of games instead of to an account ala steam.

manic221

#43

manic221 said:

@Jukilum Unlike Sony, Nintendo aren't part of the Blu-ray consortium meaning that in order to have a Blu-ray player built in Nintendo would have to purchase rights to use the device from the consortium and also pay royalties on top of that for each system purchased for a company like Nintendo who's only income is video games it makes very little sense to be paying all those royalties, especially when those royalties are in part going in to the pockets or a rival.

Araknie

#44

Araknie said:

And now developers have also the final DevKit.

It's starting to get serious here.

banacheck

#45

banacheck said:

#28
Realgamer4life said:
@banacheck Don't you have a blu ray player?

Of course i have i'm just pointing out it's a very basic function, HD and the internet is not going to make it a all in one entertainment system my mobile phone does more than what a Wii U does.

ZettaSlow

#46

ZettaSlow said:

@Bankai In regards to the Wii U competing with tablets for general entertainment, I don't think they are in exactly the same category. A tablet you can use anywhere in your home as well as anyplace with WiFi, or more if you opt for a data plan or tethering option. The Wii U and it's Gamepad can only be used in conjunction with one another, meaning the Wii U is really only after that tablet experience that can be had in the living room, and as part of a smaller, more contained ecosystem.

I don't really see it as competing with these devices, more like it's borrowing parts of the chocolate tablet experience and integrating it into your console peanut butter.

Luffy

#47

Luffy said:

tbh I've only see about 2 IPADs in public. Most are indoors at home only paper weights. Its just too dam big and awkward to carry around....so nobody really uses it mobile. How many ipads are sold on earth 500 Billion? and I've seen 2? amazing.

RandomNerds

#48

RandomNerds said:

The iPad is very mobile and getting more mobile with each iteration. I actually refuse to play iOS games on my iPhone the iPad is a much better experience and should be treated like a serious gaming platform in my opinion.

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