News Article

Nintendo's Expensive New Development Building Isn't Very Exciting

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

Not on the outside, anyway...

Nintendo is still producing some of the most fun, creative and enjoyable gaming experiences that money can buy, but it's also well-known for business pragmatism and a steady, focused approach to its work. That certainly applies to the buildings it constructs for its employees in Japan, and they can only truly be described as functional.

Earlier this year the rather square Intelligent Systems development building was photographed, its very presence a testament to the continued importance of the development team housed within. Now Kotaku — via Inside Games — has published a series of rather detailed images of the new Development HQ that Nintendo has built. Its construction is part of a strategy unveiled in 2011, as it'll house the hardware and software teams under one roof, allowing them to work more closely together. Satoru Iwata has emphasized recently, once again, that Nintendo will bring its hardware and software strategies and development closer together, and this Kyoto building — reportedly similar in scale to the company's primary HQ — will facilitate just that.

It's hardly inspirational design, of course, with Nintendo's buildings often incorporating this look in its homeland. Below is the original and current Kyoto HQ, if you don't believe us.

We think most would agree that a large site — which will apparently host over 1500 staff — to cover development of software and hardware can only be beneficial; with Nintendo making much of the 'synergy' between its games and systems, this unified facility may play a valuable role for years to come.

If what comes out of the building is exciting, we'll forgive its boring exterior.


From the web

User Comments (90)



MrV4ltor said:

I can't belive that all the clourful Nintendo games come out of their plain grey buildings.



Einherjar said:

@MrV4ltor Well, just be glad that their money goes into making these fine games instead of wasting them on fancy and impractical buildings



ZurrrrBlattTron said:

Oh cmon what did people expect? Mario's house with several arwings flying over the building while having a air battle with samus aran as bowsers castle gazes from the heavens and sends several battleships to destroy this wonderful HQ but Kirby foils the evil bowers plan as he destroys his fleet of airships with his trusty dragoon?



jjmesa16 said:

Let's hope that there is more development for Wii U. Bring on the Gamecube remakes!



2Sang said:

Who cares about the outside, I'm dying to know what this new buidilng is actually going to be creating. Perhaps it's their new quality of life thing, but I'm hoping it's for making more first party games.



ACK said:

It was built with the intention of surviving the most catastrophic earthquakes and such. No need for appeal when you have safety on your side.



AJ_Lethal said:

It's because it needs to be like Chernobyl's sarcophagus.

Otherwise all Nintendo magic will escape without any control



DreamOn said:

Now nobody will be jealous of the guys moving into the new building! They just cloned the old one!
@Thomas Maybe boring but i bet its super sturdy!



mystman12 said:

It may look boring, but somewhere inside, deep in the bowels of this building, is a top secret project that will change gaming forever. It's... Kirby Air Ride 2!



Doctor_Pancakes said:

For shame Nintendo Life. Never judge a book by it's cover.
The new building is much nicer than the old one though. Bigger windows and by counting them the building is much bigger than the one you compared it to. Not going to lie. The old building does look like a prison.



DreamOn said:

@AJ_Lethal too soon? the gov in japan wants to move people back into the fukushima no-go zone soon but its not safe. i looked at the devastated ghost towns on Wii street U. sad times. and now nuclear waste particles that went into the ocean are just hitting canadas west coast waters where i live.



The_Fox said:

They should have made the building shaped like a goomba. Then I would have been impressed.



AirElephant said:

I absolutely love it. It speaks to Nintendo's never-ending focus on responsible, practical game development. Too many companies want to waste money on outward appearances. Maybe the flashy, rockstar game developer types--you know, the volatile ones--want to be in big, gaudy buildings but I am glad that Nintendo tilts another way. It illustrates, yet again, long-term thinking where watching the bottom line like a hawk is key.

The building is only expensive because real estate in Japan is ridiculously so.



ThomasBW84 said:

@Doctor_Pancakes I'm going to assume you're kidding or haven't actually read the article

I was being light-hearted guys, because "Here are Some Pictures of a Nintendo Building" would have been boring. Tongue firmly in cheek.

Hard to tell in text who's being serious and who isn't! Plus, you know, words in article actually talk about it sensibly, headline was for a laugh.



SphericalCrusher said:

Well, Nintendo IS a business after all, and as a business, they do have to maintain a professional image. This is a neutral and good luck in my opinion. I think slapping pictures of Mario and Link up there, although would look bad donkey, would not be very professional. My two cents.



Samurai_Goroh said:

Nintendo buildings always have that charm of soviet design by commitee architecture. Which is to say, they're rather dull.



Megumi said:

It's just a building, NL. lol
We don't need a laser light show and christmas-esque lights and all that. xD (...would be awesome)



ikki5 said:

um... ok, it looks like what most corporate buildings are, What did people expect? There is nothing wrong with it so why make it sound like there is?



6ch6ris6 said:

that's where the magic happens, kids

you can't see it from the putside, but inside myamoto is dressed up as a mario getting tingled by iwata dressed as a toad. that's how they get all the cool ideas. trust me. it's true!



AlbertoC said:

More importantly, if these buildings resist several high magnitude earthquakes a year, and they facilitate the evacuation of the staff if an emergency ever happens (fires, floodings, bomb threats) everything is fine.

Living in a very seismic yet populated region, I look for that in any place. I rarely feel at ease at wherever that gives me the impression safety was a last minute add-on rather than a priority.



Marshi said:

Who cares about a building? Wheres the monday eshop update nintendo!?



AdanVC said:

Nice and efficient looking building, I like it. They have to go with this type of architecture maybe because it's located in an industrial area of Kyoto where fancy building constructions are not allowed, also because earthquakes... they need to be strong enough to support them. Just imagine going to work every day there. All the magic that has to occur on the inside. It must be a pain in the a** tough, considering how hard is to get to work for Nintendo, especially in Japan if you want to be a developer.



sugarshack said:


exactly what I was thinking. it appears that they would rather have money invested in their primary purpose as video game developer. every dollar counts.



Einherjar said:

@sugarshack We had that sorta discussion lately, that some companys rather use their money on excessive advertisement instead of making their games so good that they speak for themselfes. This is basicly the same thing. You dont need to know them by their fancy architecture, you need to know their awesome games



Starwolf_UK said:

I hope this is not a case of too late. Makes me wonder what they'll do in HQ now if development is all here.

@DimetriWarrior Apparently the Nintendo of America offices are a bit like this on the inside (colourful and self referencing) ever since their revamp, I did see photos but the uploader took them down and who saves things anymore



sketchturner said:

To me, that building is completely beautiful even in its simplicity. And that Nintendo plaque out front... I want it!! I want it in my front yard.



ikki5 said:


That's a store, much different. A Store you build to draw people in and make it look fancy so people will want to buy because face it, cool things help sales. This building you build for people to work and the look isn't something needed.



yuwarite said:

They could do some 5x5 pixel art by shining coloured light behind those windows.



Giggity55 said:

Wow, just think about it. Behind that enormous gray slab of cement may lie the next amazing Zelda game, or F-Zero, or Star Fox, or Metroid, and the list goes on. As I'm pretty sure almost every other comment says, "It's what's on the inside that counts"...



cyberman67 said:

Oh no! It's... it's... it's just another boring bureau complex. Maybe the Princess is in another castle
Another thought of me was: Now that you have a new Development Complex start building those great Wii U Games immediately.



WaveBoy said:

Nintendo HQ should look like something out of Disney Land, but instead they opt for this generic lifeless crap.



WaveBoy said:

because it fits their fun image, why does it have to be so boring? They have a chance to get ape sh** creative and this is what they come up with? yawn. i guess it's what's in the inside that counts, yet even Nintendo's Tree house is lacking.



Agent721 said:

I just imagine a bunch of Nintendo Characters, a la Who Framed Roger Rabbit, running wild inside.



Agent721 said:

For us gamers, Nintendo should have a museum. It would be on my bucket list! I want to go to Japan one day, a full on museum with the history of the big N would be phenomenal!



NintyMan said:

It nearly looks identical to the old HQ, but bigger. The biggest thing that gets me is all the windows.

It may not be flashy, but it's what's going on inside that really matters. In that plain-looking building people are making video games that will entertain and delight people for years to come.



retro_player_22 said:

What you see outside is just a plain boring building, what you don't see are all the magic inside. There's probably a stock room of generations over generations of Hanafuda Cards, Famicom/NES, Super Famicom/Super NES, Nintendo 64, GameCube, and Wii consoles, accessories, and games on display all over the place. Heck Miyamoto and Sakurai are probably inside playing a beta of the new Super Smash Bros. 4 for Wii U & 3DS at the moment.



rambosdad said:

pretty sure, if you were so inclined, you could use the geometric placement of the windows to pixilate classic characters as a tease for incoming franchises. Just saying.



DarkKirby said:

I hope this new building is all about games and possibly game merchandise, and none of that "health product" bologna Iwata said he thought Nintendo should get into instead of trying to make better games or cater to non casuals.



Obito_Sigma said:

Guys! Maybe this is the Virtual Console division!

Yeah, right. The Virtual Console division is probably in Iwata's 10-year old nephew's bedroom. :/



ogo79 said:

were going to put this building on the eshop for 299.99, and you can take a virtual tour of it. now you can pretend to be in charge of the virtual console services and get all those games you really want added.



kendorage said:

i want to know what their break room looks like. perhaps a wii u for employees to play with and be inspired by....or just a couple of vending machines with over priced chips?

also, i get what everybody is saying with ...its the inside that counts, structural sturdiness, functional simplicity, etc... but you would think the nintendo letters would be in color at least to stand out a bit.



LoveSugoi said:

D'aw I think it's cute and practical. A fancy Nintendoland would be awesome to look at but rather they use that money on things that actually matter.



Action51 said:

Why are they buying new giant buildings when they are clearly Nintendoooomed!!!

Just's a building all sure is.



cheleuitte said:

I love nintendo since day one and I'll always will, because their videogames are the best and a mixture of art and entertainment!!

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