Nintendo Confirms Dedicated Development Team for Smart Device Services
Posted by Thomas Whitehead
"I have not given any restrictions to the development team"
In his recently completed Investor Briefing, now translated into English, Satoru Iwata has confirmed plans to utilise the Nintendo Network ID system more effectively, highlighting an objective to one day remove the ties of the IDs to hardware and deliver the much-requested account-based system. In terms of smart device services, Iwata-san has made clear that the company won't simply move games to smart devices wholesale, but that a development team has been briefed to put together entertaining services for release this year.
To begin with the Nintendo Network ID and integrating smart devices with current and future hardware, Iwata-san said the following.
The traditional definition of a video game platform imposed a restriction in which we were unable to connect with consumers unless they purchased a Nintendo system. Given that the competition for consumers’ time and attention has become fierce, I feel that how we will take advantage of smart devices is an extremely important question to answer. However, in order to be absolutely clear, let me emphasize that this does not mean simply supplying Nintendo games on smart devices. Taking advantage of smart devices means connecting with all consumers, including those who do not own Nintendo’s video game systems, through smart devices and communicating the value of our entertainment offerings, thus encouraging more people to participate in Nintendo platforms. I will elaborate on this point later.
As I just illustrated, we will manage our relationships with our consumers through NNIDs in a uniform manner, and connecting with our consumers through NNIDs will precisely be our new definition of a Nintendo platform.
In other words, our platform will not be bound to physical hardware and, instead, will be virtualized.
Iwata-san highlights that the company still believes that retaining its connection between its own software and hardware is integral to ongoing business, and therefore will not bring core game content to smart devices. Intriguingly, it was made clear that the planned services will aim to entertain as well as serving the purpose of promoting hardware, with a dedicated team responsible for development.
We will use a small, select team of developers to achieve it. Also, we recognize that attracting consumers’ attention among the myriads of mobile applications is not easy, and as I said before, we feel that simply releasing our games just as they are on smart devices would not provide the best entertainment for smart devices, so we are not going to take any approach of this nature. Having said that, however, in the current environment surrounding smart devices, we feel that we will not be able to gain the support of many consumers unless we are able to provide something truly valuable that is unique to Nintendo. Accordingly, I have not given any restrictions to the development team, even not ruling out the possibility of making games or using our game characters. However, if you report that we will release Mario on smart devices, it would be a completely misleading statement. It is our intention to release some application on smart devices this year that is capable of attracting consumer attention and communicating the value of our entertainment offerings, so I would encourage you to see how our approach yields results.
Also, there is one more thing that I would like to mention about utilizing smart devices. With respect to services previously released on dedicated video game systems that are, however, capable of improving usability and consumer experience when they are implemented on smart devices, we will try to actively shift their focus to smart devices. This is to say that we will no longer spend an equal amount of resources toward providing the same service both on and off device, but will instead concentrate on the one that has greater purpose as well as room for improvement.
That latter paragraph suggests that the company will be more open to smart device-suitable ideas being prioritised for that market, when they're more appropriate systems than Nintendo's own hardware.
What do you think of these comments on the Nintendo Network ID's increased future integration across devices, and the establishment of a dedicated team to work on services for smart devices? Let us know in the comments below.