Abandoning hardware and becoming a software-only company would rob Nintendo of many "strong environmental advantanges", according to the company's most famous staff member.
Speaking to GamesIndustry International, Shigeru Miyamoto has refuted claims that making software for other hardware would make the company stronger. When asked if he saw any advantage in producing content for smartphones and tablets, Miyamoto replied:
There's two ways to look at it - one is from the business side and the other is from the creative side. From the business side, we really look at the fact that we have not only the software side of the business but also the hardware side of the business as sort of our sphere, as being very important to us. On the creative side, I think what people may not realize is we're able to design the hardware the way we want so that our creative teams are able to work with that hardware design and create a piece of hardware that can meet our designers in order to create the games we want to create. So without that hardware side, then on the creative side we're no longer able to do that. And so, from the multiplatform standpoint we do see a lot of developers who are developing the main game on a console and then they'll have another team or group that's working on another version or a different type of gameplay within that same franchise on different platforms. And so you end up having all of these different teams working essentially on what amounts to the one main game and the derivative versions of it, whereas at Nintendo what we're able to do is we're able to focus on the one title for the one platform and the development team is then able to move on to the next thing. So we see some pretty strong environmental advantages from that standpoint creatively.
Miyamoto was then asked about fellow developer Sid Meier's comments regarding mobile development, and how he feels that he's able to fit more game design into a smartphone title than a typical console release, largely because visuals are less important. Miyamoto had this to say on the topic:
I guess I have a slightly different line of thinking, but to me the question really comes down to: what is the role of a game designer? My feeling is that the game designer's role is to create fun and exciting new interactive experiences for people to play, but what we're seeing is... as the graphics get more and more complex and they build up the production around the gameplay, then they tend to try to sell the game based more on the production rather than what the actual experience is. As a result of that you end up with the meaning of game design being weakened. Whereas from my perspective, as long as we're focused on creating that core and essential gameplay then certainly I think with a game like Pikmin 3, it's fine if you're able to build up production value around that as long as you do it in a way where that core, fun, gameplay element still remains the essential part of what that game ends up being.
There have been some pretty vocal calls for Nintendo to spread its IP onto other formats lately, but Miyamoto's comments clearly indicate that the company is sticking with hardware for the foreseeable future.