News Article

Nintendo Most Likely To Produce Gaming-Centric Tablet, Says Game Designer Jesse Schell

Posted by Damien McFerran

"Who knows what Nintendo has up its sleeve, right?"

Game designer, author and CEO of Schell Games Jesse Schell has been speaking to Games Industry International about the future of the games market, and has delivered a few home truths about where he feels we're headed.

Schell — who graduated with a Masters of Science in Computer Networking and Virtual Reality and has worked for Bell Labs and Walt Disney Imagineering — feels that social and mobile gaming could potentially change the balance of power in the industry, and that the only real hope for the "old guard" reclaim their dominance and market share is to beat rivals like Apple and Google at their own game:

The thing that's going to make the biggest difference in the next four years, say, is that someone's going to come out with a great gaming tablet - a really grade-A tablet for games. Exactly what that means I don't know; I suspect it has a separate hand controller, and I'm sure that it connects up to your TV no problem. I don't know who's going to make that, but it doesn't smell like Microsoft, Sony or..... well, maybe, who knows what Nintendo has up its sleeve, right?

The notion of Nintendo working on a gaming tablet — which comes with physical controls as well as a touchscreen — is an interesting concept. The Wii U GamePad has already explored this area, so perhaps Schell's comments might have some truth? Let us know what you think by posting a comment below.


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User Comments (72)



Peek-a-boo said:

If that comes to fruition, hopefully Nintendo will remember to add multi-touch this time!



maneauleau said:

Well I do smell like their next device could be a fusion between a handheld and a home console which let you play on the go while at the same time having the ability to play on the TV. Is it gonna have the shape of a tablet not sure and who knows what Nintendo have up their sleeves, they always ending up surprising us no matter what and that's also why I love them. But I don't see that happening before at least another 4 years



smashbrolink said:

IMO, he's giving tablet gaming too much credit.
The 3DS is basically a money-printer; there's no way tablets are going to threaten it in any substantial way this coming year.



Warbeard said:

I had an idea like this - it would've been cool if Nintendo had somehow allowed for games, maybe just small ones, on a USB, to be plugged into the gamepad, and played on the go, without the actual console.



SpookyMeths said:

This Schell guy just wake up from a two-year coma? Mobile gaming industry isn't going much further than it is now. The slingshot-birds-while-you-poop market is probably at a plateau.

I can see Microsoft trying it because there isn't really a market they won't try to tap at least once. Sony, nah, I doubt they'll try to release competition for their own hardware (as Vita sales aren't particularly fantastic as it is). Nintendo, not a chance. The 3DS IS their "gaming tablet."



DreamOn said:

What's the evolution of the gamepad? Could be interesting what N is working on



Kirk said:

I think Nintendo's next console should maybe just be a combination of it's next handheld and next home console into one super device.

Basically, a controller very similar to the Wii U GamePad would be your fully portable games console that you can take with you and play wherever you go and when you want to play it home style it wirelessly connects to a very small box that plugs into your TV (the box would basically just be a signal receiver of some type).

I think that would be kinda cool and it would certainly be a very popular console, being both a great portable and a great home console at the same time.

Imagine...It would be vastly cheaper than two separate consoles, could have all the Virtual Consoles games combined (both portable and handheld), would have all the classic portable only games like Pokemon along with the other home console games, you could actually play it anywhere in your house while in off-TV mode since it's basically a self-powered portable...

Best of both worlds, if it's done right.

Note: Multi-player gaming would actually require each player to own their own console, except in some rare cases where you'd share a single pad, but I think that would still be an attractive value proposition if it basically works as full portable as well as a proper controller and home console too.



RantingThespian said:

They already have one. It's called the 3DS. It's got a touch screen, regular button controls, slider/joystick, and is portable. It is a portable gaming tablet/console.



Savino said:

Well, Animal Crossing gave us a tip! The creature in the beggining uses a tbablet and not a 3DS as nintendo always does with its products...



Damo said:

@Savino That's a very good point....and furthermore, the rabbit which sells you the new StreetPass Plaza games also uses a tablet!



Quickman said:

Anyone else thinking that Nintendo may be holding something crazy back for the Wii U until the PS4/Xbone are released?



dumedum said:

@TobiasAmaranth The resistive screen is actually better than capacitive IMO, and you don't need multi touch what with all the buttons.

@Damo I thought it was strange too. Well, that could be great for Nintendo stock if they somehow release a new tablet in 2014-2015 that does not compete with Wii U but... I don't know. Maybe they can pull something off that will be incredible.



SCAR said:

I wouldn't doubt it.

Does the guy in the article even know that the GamePad exists? His "predictions" basically already define what the GamePad is. The only difference is that it's just not separate from your TV.
We have the 3DS for portability.



EaZy_T said:

Something like a tablet/gamepad that is portable and downloads (discs and/or eshop) games to it's memory from the home console (dock?).
Basically a Wii U gamepad that doesn't need to stream from the console.
hmm, maybe it could be called WiiU2 Portable Boogaloo?



Shworange said:

Anyone remember talk of "three pillars" to support games and business. There was a lot of talk about what the third pillar would be. Who knows.



Snakellama said:

If they DO make a tablet, I assume it would have a circle pad (or two) and a few buttons on the side or at the bottom of the devise. I think it would also have separate controllers so you could play multiplayer. Last thought is that it would still have physical copies but digital would be encouraged.



xevious said:

No. I don't want a gaming tablet. I don't want a gaming mobile phone, neither do I want a gaming PC. I want a video game console to play video games on and that's it. If Nintendo can't make it with traditional consoles and games, I would rather have them go bankrupt, than go into something like this.



GiftedGimp said:

Sony are already dipping thier toes in mobile gaming, with Playstation mobile compatable devices which includes Phones and the Vita. Microsoft are too with Xbox Live on Windows Smartphone and thier Smartglass products. Over the next few years I'm sure that the tablet/mobile and home system gaming will be more intergrated with each other with bith Sony and Microsoft.
Nintendo will probably go thier own route, as they always have and has others have said probably release a hybrid system of thier own when its time to move on from WiiU.
Tablet gaming is becoming stronger now, a lot of tablets can be connected to your TV via hdmi and more and more games, especially on android have physical bluetooth controller support, The industry is changing and without a doubt full on home system games will and are being put on tablet devices. It wont be too long before the latest Battlefield and CoD game get a multiplatform release that will include Tablets with physical controller support.



Burning_Spear said:

Tablets are the thing now, but technology quickly becomes passe these days. In the time it would take to develop and market something like this, we all could have moved on to the next device. I see the value of a mobile device that could double as a home console, but I don't see Nintendo chasing the tablet frenzy.



Ackmans said:

what nintendo need is gamepad with an HDD inside to allow you to take your gamepad with ya play game you got on HDD or connect to internet to stream your game from your house to your online gamepad ans streaming and sold gamepad seperatly



Araknie said:

I'm using the GamePad only with Pikmin 3 i found it very much more easy than the Wiimote so they can surely do that.

But doing a separate gaming tablet i don't know, maybe evolving the GBA would be a idea to start that and keep it portable.



datamonkey said:

They should make a Gamepad (better design) with the CPU/GPU inside it.

That would then BE the console. You could play games on it alone or connect it wirelessly to other Gamepads and play multiplayer. It would also have the ability to connect to the TV with multiplayer etc.



Marshi said:

@TobiasAmaranth had wiiu done multi touch,miiverse would be devoid of the incredible art only a single touch device can create. Can you realy tell me of one game where you've gone "ah this would be so much better if my wiiu gamepad had multitouch"?



Subie98 said:

All this talk of home console/portable in one reminds me of the days of sega nomad which didnt last.



rmeyer said:

Tablets haven't seemed to stop the 3ds so why would Nintendo try and break into that competitive space? It's not that realistic of an idea.



StarDust4Ever said:

Nintendo creates a gamepad-only version of the Wii-U controller as a third tier game device and wipes the floor with Apple.



ricklongo said:

What I foresee is Nintendo's next handheld being more tablet-like - larger screens (the 3DS XL already points into that direction), better interface to do stuff like browse the web or watch movies. They will obviously retain physical controllers, which is why having multi-touch screens is a non-issue for me.



Mortenb said:

MacDonald's has the biggest market share of restaurants. Therefore, all gourmet restaurants should forget about their expertise, and copy MacDonald's before it's too late and they have no chance of getting the biggest market share.



BXXL said:

It's the kind of innovation i thought about since the Wii U announcement, but i also think Nintendo has missed an huge opportunity with this generation: the integration between their portable and home consoles should have been total, which means the Wii U tablet should have been the next Nintendo portable, or the 3DS should have been build as an alternative controller (with the wiimote) for the Wii U, with a dual sticks design...

That sort of integration and "complete" system, with all Nintendo games playable on the run and on the TV, would have been HUGE for Nintendo... maybe in a few years, maybe... if it's not too late...



fushimushi said:

@Peek-a-boo The biggest flaw in Nintendo's touch-screen LOL. And I do hope they fix the pixels and also the glare.... hard to see in broad daylight. Maybe they'll use the same touchscreen that smartphone's use this time? That'd be so cool.



Dogpigfish said:

We'll see if the Wii U's tablet features are widely accepted first. So far the possibilities look strong, but the tech is too expensive right now. Wii U needs some better marketing.



yuwarite said:

@TobiasAmaranth You must not have used a Wii U pad that much...

In reality, the GamePad's touch screen is good enough and responds well to a single finger, but even better with a stylus - which allows you to accurately draw, etc. Honestly, I've never had an instance where I felt the experience would be better with multi-touch. I mean the screen is like 6" and I'm holding the other side with my hand to keep it steady, so I usually only have one hand to use for the touch screen. Also, unlike most tablets, the GamePad actually has physical buttons - lots of them!



rjejr said:

The guy said "in the next 4 years". That is way out to be making predictions for hardware, tablets could be completely dead by then.
And Sony already has the Vita which I think has a lot more in common w/ tablets than Sony likes to let on b/c they don't want people comparing it to tablets b/c hardcore gamers - their fanbase - mock tablets. If the Vita sold for $149 and used standard SD cards it could almost be a match for the 3DS.

And Nintendo does what Nintendo wants to do. Just by making this prediction this guy almost single handedly assures it doesn't happen.

Personally w/ their style of games I'm not sure Nintendo even needs a home console. When I think home console I think movie like graphics and surround sound, like GTA and Beyond and Last of US, Nintendo - i.e. Miyamoto - doesn't make these types of games. As several others have said they should just work on the 3DS and add a TV connection. A wireless dongle will be used w/ a portable gaming console at some point in the near future.



fushimushi said:

@LunaticPandora You know, that was a very unintelligent remark. And Indeed multi-touch will HELP Nintendo's system in a huge way. Although it's not really that of a big deal but multi-touch we surely help when zooming maps in-game, or maybe solving puzzles and such.



Sleepingmudkip said:

I dont want to see a handheld and console mixed. i feel some nintendo games are better on a console and others on a handheld.



TheAdrock said:

A gamepad tablet with integrated controls and can easily attach to your TV — REVOLUTIONARY! If only Nintendo would have thought of that...



AVahne said:

You mean, they'll make a Vita?
No seriously, Nintendo's likely not going to make a "gaming tablet" since they already have a 3DS on the market. If they're ever going to make such a thing, it'll after this generation. But by then, I'm sure they'll create a new type of portable, something different from the Game Boys and the DSes. It's about time for a new portable family.



canal_g3 said:

@TobiasAmaranth Unfortunately they wanted to keep the system price as low as possible and with a multi-touch gamepad it probably would have been treading the ps4/xbox one price territory.



AVahne said:

Well, even by then, I don't think Nintendo will produce a simple gaming tablet. They'll probably do something absolutely crazy; crazier than dual-screen and crazier than 3D.



marck13 said:

Multitouch and retina display (if really necessary?) could easily be updated just with the possibility to buy an upgraded Gamepad II, maybe when Games for multi-Gamepads launch, incl. a patch for the Wii U.
Oh yeah, and that would cost a bit.



element187 said:

@Cohort Thats what I believe.... Nintendo had one of the worst quarters I have seen a console maker have (160k systems sold worldwide in 3months) and they haven't changed their outlook of 9 million Wii U's sold by end of fiscal year.

Either they are delusional, or they have something up their sleeve so phenomenal that they know its going to cause the system to fly off the shelf.... The probability from the two options is probably 50/50.



Quickman said:

@element187 They must surely realise that they need something else other than half arsed 3rd party support? Especially when you all you're likely to get is standard PS360 ports and companies like EA constantly bashing your systems..

The big 3rd parties are riding the gravy train, but starting to run out of ideas, Ubisoft have already announced an end to AC (not before time) Nintendo need to invest at "grass roots" level.



BestBuck15 said:

He is right when he says consumers hate change. I personally think mobile phone and tablet gaming is being given way to much credit, it might be a new market but its effect on the current console and next gen console market will be minimum.
He also says the big 3 shouldn't listen to their customers? Well that sounds like a lot of cack. He's a CEO he's a mouthpiece.



DePapier said:

The man definitely doesn't know Nintendo. And what he is talking about is called a Wii U and came out last year, not in 4 years. So much hate going around that console people don't even know what it does anymore.



3Daniel said:

I sort of expect nintendo to develop a handheld that is the controller for their next console as a combo portable console experience. But i also know that nintendo does the unexpected...



DePapier said:

@The-Chosen-one Somebody played the Wii U on a Shinkansen before it even launched in Japan. I heard here on NL of a setup to play Wii U in a car.
Can't provide the links here on my smartphone unfortunately. ;/



JaxonH said:

No, that's not true. Nobody says "wow I really like the Wii U, but it's not multi touch so I don't want it. It's a controller-centric gamepad, so multi touch isn't needed. If it had no buttons or analogue inputs, then I would agree with your assessment.



SCAR said:

I see tablet PCs being the "next thing". Other tablets just don't have the OS they need to do anything. I'm surprised iPad isn't hasn't run Snow Leopard or Mtn. Lion yet.
I think Android will eventually control the portable market and turn every device into portable Android machines that rival laptops.

As long as they give you a mouse and a keyboard, those tablet PCs are the same thing.



JaxonH said:

These backseat analysts are killing me over here with their constant hypothesizing and speculating. No, a gaming tablet is NOT going to catch on.

Do people even realize WHY tablet gaming and phone gaming is popular? Because it's convenient. That's why. Because they can do it on a device they already owned for multiuse purposes. A gaming tablet would mean people would have to buy a separate device they had no plans on buying already, or don't already own. And that takes convenience out of the equation.

And no one is going to go out of their way and wallet to buy a gaming tablet, when a gaming console or handheld could be obtained. If someone wants to buy a device SPECIFICALLY for gaming, they'll buy a true gaming console or handheld, not a gaming tablet, because a gaming tablet will not provide the better experience.

And if a person DOES NOT want to buy a device specifically for gaming, they're not going to buy a gaming tablet. They'll buy an iPad or what have you, and if that device happens to play games on it, they'll probably indulge. If it doesn't, they won't.

Bottom line, there are two kinds of people in the market- people who will spend $ for a proper gaming experience and those who won't. Those that will want the superior experience, and will buy home consoles and handhelds, and those that don't will buy iPads and tablets. There is no in between. We've seen this already with Windows 8 and the hybrid laptop. MS thought integrating laptops with tablets would catch on, but it didn't. Neither will a gaming tablet.



SCAR said:

I don't think Nintendo will do a tablet thing either. I was speculating about other devices aside from Nintendo's.
Regardless, each company will do what they think they need to to stay relevant.

I don't think there are going to be any other devices released by Nintendo anytime soon.



AlternateButtons said:

A gaming tablet produced by Nintendo? Not gonna lie, I could see that happening. Though it would be a bit redundant. I mean think about it, Nintendo has TWO consoles out right now that have a touchscreen, the 3DS and Wii U. (Three if you count the DSi as being a current console). To add a third, just for the sake of multi-touch functionality wouldn't be the best step towards Nintendos evolution. They're a company that wants to do something new every time, so it's not very possible.

However, if they could figure out a way to make games that are innovative due to the hardware of the tablet, then they might be able to make it work. It all depends. Nintendo is quite unpredictable.



Henmii said:

"Nintendo Most Likely To Produce Gaming-Centric Tablet"

Seeing as the Wii u doesn't do them any good, I can't say it's very likely!

However, I could see them releasing a console with only downloadable games! Sure, PSP Go flopped! But Nintendo has become in love with downloadable games! Nintendo only attracts downloadable third-party support for the Wii u! Bundle's from Nintendo don't come with boxed copies anymore! And Nintendo has much rather that you download, lets say, Pikmin 3 or New super mario bros u instead of buying a disc! A very worrying trend!!!



xtndedPlay said:

Dear Nintendo,

Please make this cross platform device that has true portability. Refine, online multiplayer and Miiverse. Give us game accounts to keep our games from eShop. Keep actual control pad controls like the Wii U game pad and include a capacitive touch screen. Work on graphical power over on board storage so it is attractive to develop for. Make it as affordable as possible. Take my money!

Or here is another idea...

What if Nintendo created a device that is created to truly stream most games and store selectively a certain amount, but basically be entirely cloud-based? The hardware for the device is concentrated on portability and graphical display. Then a wifi connection is required to either download or play streaming media. You can choose to alternate which eShop purchased games to store on the tablet to have when wifi is unavailable but the rest you play via wifi. Then build a cloud farm that works with an architecture desire to produce for much like Sony has. Then you court 3rd parties back to an powerful farm, that is easy to develop for and can house all of the games. The Device that is purchased at home only has to be powerful enough to run stored versions of those games.

That's it, I'm emailing Nintendo right now...



JuanitoShet said:

@LunaticPandora They themselves have said it: the games are coming. Starting with Pikmin 3.

So yeah, the games ARE there. They just haven't arrived yet. Wait and see as they prove you wrong. No company invests millions and millions of dollars on a device just so people won't buy it. Business doesn't work that way.

And we're talking about the company that almost single-handedly revived gaming decades ago. Remember that.



JuanitoShet said:

Before the Wii U launched, I had originally misunderstood that the GamePad WAS portable; I had thought that it doubled as a home console and as a semi-portable device. I imagined buying one, and taking the GamePad with me to game anywhere.

But of course, the GamePad is quite large compared to the 3DS and handhelds of the past. And all it would take to make it possible does, of course, provide a technical challenge.

But hey, I think it would be an awesome product. I think there are people out there who would agree with me that having a truly portable home console in the shape of a GamePad would be awesome.



LunaticPandora said:

@JuanitoShet I still don't understand why people love to use "they revived gaming" as an excuse to defend them. It was over 30 years ago, why keep bringing it up? Past successes shouldn't excuse present failures.



ShortSleevedNook said:

I think Nintendo is going to do it. Remember when they revealed details about their next-gen stuff at around the same time when NL reported about them merging their Handheld and Home Console divisions into one? They also said that for their next-gen hardware, something they're going to focus on is making the next Nintendo home console and handheld with very, very similar hardware, so porting games would be a cinch. They also said that it would open up possibilities for more hardware products...possibly referring to a next-gen Nintendo tablet, ladies and gentlemen!

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