News Article

Shigeru Miyamoto Discusses Future Cross-Platform Development as an "Opportunity" for Nintendo

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

Will "think about" Virtual Console cross-buy support

Nintendo's development teams are currently exceptionally busy, producing content to cover release schedules for both Wii U and 3DS, two systems with fairly substantial disparities in raw processing power. The idea of simply streaming Wii U games to 3DS, for example, has never been seriously mooted, though it's a principle currently being promoted by Sony with its PS4 and Vita combination. In general, and some would argue it's a major strength, Nintendo's home console and portable game libraries are relatively unique and distinct from each other.

There are overlaps, of course, whether in similar titles or in rare cases of actual cross-overs — Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate allowed cross-platform real-time play and save transfers, while we have the upcoming (though slightly more distinctive) releases of Super Smash Bros..

Nintendo is clearly planning for a future where its systems are more closely linked, though has stayed away from openly stating it'll shift to completely unified hardware. Satoru Iwata has stated that various aspects will be unified in future, utilising the Nintendo Network and possibly shared operating systems and structures in future hardware; Nintendo also has a new development building that's brought portable and home console development teams under the same roof.

Most vitally, these moves could eventually help Nintendo ease its development burden and produce games more efficiently, while also giving consumers multiple devices and opportunities to play the same games. It's an area that Shigeru Miyamoto has now considered in an interview with Kotaku.

So, certainly if you look at the show floor, currently the games are designed for the systems they're running on. There are games that in a way take advantage of being on a higher-spec machine that plays on a TV and there are games that are designed to play better on a portable machine. But certainly we've gotten to an age where the technology has advanced and it's become more and more possible to have a similar experience running on a lower-spec system. And even within the Wii U itself we have the Virtual Console, which sort of is an exhibit of how you can have one type of play that is at a higher-spec level and another type of play at a lower-spec level as well. So certainly I think there is possibility in that area in the future.

So, this is a bit of a tangent, but five years ago I think the industry was at a point where many game developers felt that, if they weren't creating games for the highest-spec machine, then they weren't going to get work, that the business would go away.

But over the last five years we've seen that the range of devices that they develop for has expanded, so they're able to decide if they want to create something that is very high spec type of game or something that is for a lower-spec device. So I just think it's good to see the freedom of choice that developers now have.

What I can say is, certainly, within Nintendo the fact that our development environment for our home console is different from the development environment for our portable system is certainly an area of stress or challenge for the development teams. So as we move forward, we're going to look at what we can do to unify the two development environments.

So, particularly with digital downloads now and the idea that you're downloading the right to play a game, that opens up the ability to have multiple platform digital downloads where you can download on one and download on another. Certainly from a development standpoint there is some challenge to it, because if you have two devices that have different specs and you're being told to design in a way that the game runs on both devices, then that can be challenging for the developer—but if you have a more unified development environment and you're able to make one game that runs on both systems instead of having to make a game for each system, that's an area of opportunity for us.

The topic of cross-buy with the Virtual Console was also raised, a tough issue for Nintendo as some are increasingly frustrated at the same games — in some cases — appearing on both 3DS and Wii U, yet requiring separate purchases. When asked if Nintendo will do things differently in future dual releases on the platform, Miyamoto-san simply said "I'll think about it".

There's plenty of talk over whether Nintendo will unify its portable and home console platforms into one product in its next generation, or keep them separate but with greater potential for cross-play, cross-buy and general networking. The company is clearly considering its options, but what would you like it to do?


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User Comments (59)



MightyKrypto said:

They will think about it?!? This should've happened years ago! Nintendo sure takes a lot of time to think about obvious stuff!



Kaze_Memaryu said:

Cross-buy VC is in high demand, but as of yet, I don't think it will make much of a difference. These games don't have that much power among available eShop titles (with some exceptions, of course), and having a WiiU and 3DS at the same time isn't really a focus for Nintendo, even though they support it.
What's also important is that, unlike PS3-VITA cross-buy, Nintendo would lack stronger selling points to have both, mostly because performance of 3DS and WiiU are so extremely different - the range of titles which could offer cross-buy support would be narrow, to say the least.

Actually, cross-buy for download games would make more sense, but that's not Nintendo's decision, it's up to the developers/publishers whether they want to offer it.



Ichiban said:

I'm reminded of a Seinfeld quote from hearing this: You don't think about it, you do it!!!!



Josaku said:

Cross-buy could only be pulled off (including every Titel on the VC and eshop) with a sort of unified OS on the Homconsole and the handheld and I really hope that this will be Nintendo's next generation of consoles, which operate with the same OS but different hardware. Would be cool to have two systems that could connect and talk with each other very easy. Would defenitly make organizing your games really easy.



Tlink7 said:

@Josaku I'm pretty sure it's doable with different operating systems aswell... The 3DS and Wii U are already under one account, so the account just needs to ''know'' what has been bought on the Wii U/3DS and then give a 100% price reduction on the corresponding software on the other system.



DreamOn said:

I'm sure right now they are trying to assign the exact features and spec of their next gen hardware. It seems sure that console and portable will share software in some fashion as a leap in spec from 3DS will put portable game development on par with console certainly in terms of Nintendo's games. I'm sure they have a goal of shoring up the state of their software release schedule and cross-play would be a solution. Will be interesting to see what whiz-bang they come up with.



Rin-go said:

I recently came across an interesting point about cross-buy. It's that the only VC games in common between the Wii U and 3DS are NES games. It seems the 3DS isn't powerful enough to emulate SNES and GBA games, that's why cross-buy would be kinda worthless. I think cross-buy will only be possible once the next gen systems launch.

I don't really want a system that is both a home console and a handheld in one. I like that both systems have a different focus and therefore give you different experiences.
I understand it that way that there will be two separate systems that have a similar built, so that the same engine can be used for several games across both platforms. Just like what @Josaku stated.



aja14 said:

@Rin-go if thats the case then how come the 3ds is backward compatible with the ds which can run gba games.

Just a thought the 3ds is still young and still has a lot to offer even the wii u. 2015 will be the year of nintendo )



EarthboundBenjy said:

Certainly, if one has an NES game on the 3DS, it should certainly be playable on their Wii U... after all, what's the point of the Nintendo Network ID otherwise?



Jazzer94 said:

I guess thinking about it is at least a good place to start. Even if by now they should have it implemented.



shigulicious said:

Lame excuse from Miyamoto. He should have said " At this point in time, we believe that we create more revenue without allowing the cross-buy system in our consoles". Sony's cross-buying system and their PS+ deals are the main reason why I own their products. Nintendo can definitely learn a thing or 2 from Sony.



0utburst said:

I agree. They need a unified OS for it to make sense.

They have different codes or programming. It's like you buy watchdogs on ps4 and expects it to be free xb1, pc and wii u. It could only make sense if they are of the same OS. Like an android game to another android phone/tablet. Or on iOS game to different iPhones and iPads.



MAN1AC said:

I'm still confused about why this stuff didnt happen with their current gen hardware. I imagine ppl are tired of paying for the same game twice or seeing both the Wii U and 3DS have an overlap in software such as DK games and Mario titles that use the same assets.



alLabouTandroiD said:

Would i love to pay nothing or a lot less for a game that i've already got on another system? Of course i would. This applies to both VC and eShop games of course.
And i think the new SSB game should show how good Ninty is with meaningful cross-platform stuff. It would make a lot of sense for the Mario sports games including Kart.



Zyph said:

I think what he's implying was having the same or at the very least similar architectures for both their home and handheld consoles and not making a hybrid one that composes of the two.



sr388survivor said:

@Rin-go actually the 3ds does have gba vc, if you're an ambassador.

Yeah, cross buy would be nice, but it's not the end of the world. I just would like snes and gba to come to the 3ds.



2Sang said:

I will not buy any games on wii u that are available on 3ds because they will not get more of my money for the same game. This is the most important thing they need to do for existing nintendo owners.



ajcismo said:

Being charged twice for the same VC game on my Wii U and 3DS drives me crazy and I have expressed this to Nintendo on several occasions. If I'm paying for the Rights and License to run the game on a particular system, than that should carry over to any other system I own as long as I'm not violating the Fine Print (piracy, re-dist, etc...). Its difficult because I refuse to buy the same game twice, so I have to be careful as to which system I want a particular VC title to be on.



StarDust4Ever said:

I hope they enable cross-buy for 3DS and Wii-U. That would entitle me to a sizable eShop credit on all my VC gamess...



iphys said:

Do they realize how much money they're losing because I can't decide which system to buy my VC on and end up just not buying it at all?



MAB said:

They're holding off on X-buy until next gen so everyone can download Urban Champion & Spelunker with a extra fee for the X-buy feature



Kirk said:

The problem is that this sounds like something Nintendo is only going to get around to for the next-gen and by that time it will be way behind the curve, as per usual for Nintendo these days, and have p*ssed off a lot of current consumers or potential customers. Nintendo needs to get this stuff working across Wii U and 3DS now imo, even if it's just the Virtual Consoles games initially. It simply can't keep lagging behind the competition in these important areas.



ikki5 said:

Ug. These things of them thinking of this and them think of that is just stupid. This is something that should have been done since before the Wii U was released.



Artwark said:

@NintendoMark yet their products sell incredibly well despite this.

I don't mind if Nintendo thinks very slowly about this because whatever they do, it has to be perfect as they rarely do things that people don't want.



MightyKrypto said:

@Kirk i absolutely agree with everything you just said.
@Artwark hmm... perhaps so, but to me it also sounds like you making excuses for why Nintendo hasn't made this obvious next step. I mean, we already have Nintendo Network ID, so it should be so easy to do! The only reason they haven't done this is because, this way, they can still keep charging people several times for the same piece of software...



World said:

I don't think I really care at this point. I'm so sold on the 3DS that the idea of non-portable gaming right now isn't something I'm really into at all.

I agree with everyone who says it should just be standard though. But I just wonder if maybe it really IS harder to do this for Nintendo consoles.

Programming crowd help me out here, but do they run on separate OS? I know Sony can easily integrate this because all of their stuff runs on the same platform. Does Nintendo work like that? I thought that was one of the reasons a lot of smaller third parties don't bother with them, but maybe I dreamt that.

Of course, it being hard doesn't mean they shouldn't. I think it's just expected at this point and, unlike some demands gamers like to make, this particular thing doesn't violate their Traditional Japanese Values in any way!



BertoFlyingFox said:

Cross-buy isnt that important, gaming enthusiasts just consider it so because of the perceived loss in value.

The way the Vita is going now, they can keep cross-buy. It's only been a few titles that have used the feature, while a lot of other titles dont even support it. I wouldnt consider that a great example to persuade Nintendo with.

Put simply, you dont have to buy a 3DS and WiiU version of every VC game just because they are there. It just sounds like people who loved something so much, they bought it twice....and now they want free money for it.

I bought a copy of Shovel Knight through Kickstarter, that doesnt mean I'm entitled to both a 3DS and WiiU version of it. I'll show my support and buy the game on as many platforms as I feel like....without holding them to the perceived standard of a handheld that's been reduced to a "companion device".



OneBagTravel said:

Yeah c'mon Nintendo get with the times. Buying SMB 3 on the wii u should allow me to play it on the 3DS.

I'd also like some consistency between the Wii U and 3DS UI's. They're close right now but they should look the same and have similar functions. For example the Wii U menu should allow for folders too.



Iggly said:

I'm not really big on cross-buying as I usually buy the game once unless it had new features. [Which isn't the case with VC] Although if Nintendo does implement a unified account system later/or next year, I'm pretty sure people can finally stop complaining about having to the buy the same games twice.



c1pher_c0mplet said:

...smh... Nintendo and their ways... They'll never change and never learn, never. And the whole while, they're being lapped and can't figure out why... I like them but I'm also NOT a blind follower that just accepts some of this nonsense they do (which I believe is a small part of the problem).



onery said:

Cross-buy for certain games: yea sure. Make sense in particular for Virtual Console games where the 3DS hardware is capable of running most of the older catalogued items available on the WiiU. Surely we don't have to purchase Super Mario Land 3 (NES) twice for the WiiU and 3DS right? It's not as if they have specific differences for their respective ports so cross-buy yea.

However, something that'll make more sense would be a unified a/c system where games compatible to both systems can be installed in either at any given period of time after purchase... and yes I am talking about the Apple ID system. Say what you want about the iOS and its games, Apple have made buying/installing games so convenient (and cheap) most people wouldn't blink an eye to getting them. Seriously it's always been this way; less complexity == more people being able to use the system. While we're at this, maybe we can do away with region lock? Whatever reason you can give for it, I am and will forever be irked off at the whole Monster Hunter 3 issue (which looks to continue with 4) where my copy (US) can't play with my brother's (UK as he's living there at the moment).



luigifan624 said:

(slow clap) You know what? I'll take it, " i'll think about it. " It's better than, " No we won't do it." Cross-Buy games on the VC between the WiiU and 3DS is all I've been asking for. Like some have already stated, when it comes to buying games now you have to decide whether you want it on your WiiU or 3DS. And that's why I haven't bought any games yet. I refuse to pay for the same game TWICE. Sony has the Cross-Buy idea nailed down, Nintendo GET ON IT, but at least your thinking about it. And again, I'll take it, if they do go through with it, I will answer LOUDLY with my wallet. Not too bad of news to wake up to on my birthday.



aaronsullivan said:

The big problem: Virtual Console is not that big of a deal to most people and doesn't bring in huge profits. Anything to diminish the profits at this point is probably not big on the Nintendo radar. I don't really see cross-buy adding that many additional sales. It could even cut them considerably. Are there really that many people that are holding back and saying "I'm not gonna buy a virtual console game until it shows up on both 3DS and Wii U".

That's my guess anyway.

Me? I love me some retro gaming, but we're some pretty serious gamers here to be posting on an internet comment board. Pretty small percentage.



zool said:

So I could play Mario Kart 7 on my Wii u and Mario Kart 8 on my 3ds?



electrolite77 said:


No it isn't. It's like you buy a game on one Nintendo console and get it on another Nintendo console. The code for this exists already (see Pullblox World offer) they just don't want to do it because they think people will pay over and over for the same game and it will make them more money



electrolite77 said:


As well as being something that builds customer loyalty and encourages further system purchases it's something their serious, long-term fans really care about which makes fixing it very smart business. They seem to prefer the 'milk them for all their worth' approach unfortunately.



0utburst said:

The problem with that is some people would buy a lot of Nintendo handheld consoles and home consoles and load it with a lot of VC and eshop games under 1 account and sell it at a higher price for profit. I think that's what Nintendo is avoiding. Unless they implement some kind of DRM on accounts (which isn't widely accepted) then cross buy could work. Nintendo mainly profits on their software sales so they'd want to protect that. (Although they are open for liscensing their IPs now).

In iOS and Android it works fine because they don't profit mainly from software royalties but with either hardware (for Apple), ads, music store, etc as well. Plus if you remove the account on a phone or tablet, the games and apps will be removed as well. And you don't want to sell phones and tablets pre-loaded with paid games and apps while they can access the account's emails and other accounts.

Also Pullblox World is a "different" game from Pullblox on 3DS. They have different architecture/OS. What's the same is if you buy a game or app on Android Play Store in your Nexus 4 and you CAN download it freely on your Nexus 5 (or in appStore in your iPhone 4 to your iPhone 5)

I think it's good to buy digitally now with NNID already in place. I think our purchases especially VC games will carry over on the successor of the Wii U/3DS provided they are Nintendo published games.



Shambo said:

@Rin-go If you bought your 3DS at launch, you later on got the 'ambassador program', which included 10 VC GBA games. And they run flawlessly from what I've experienced. There were also 10 NES games, which as far as I know, have now all been released (?) on 3DS VC. When they arrived officially, you got the official download (with another icon, and I don't remember if there was a menu change or anything) for free.



JakeOfAllTrades said:

Hmmm... Combining this with Aonouma's multiplayer statement... ZELDA U CONTROLLED BY GAMEPAD AND 3DSes!!!!



FJOJR said:

They'll think about it. Means "we'll do it next generation". Just like serious online play on the GameCube. Playing from behind once more huh Nintendo?



Farmboy74 said:

I think this comment leads more to the existence of the rumoured Nintendo fusion at some point in the future.

Cross buy and a unified OS would work very well as it does with Apple's IOS and Googles Android operating systems. Cross buy works well on PSN as well but not to the extent it does on the mobile platforms.

Does this also finally mean that at some point in the future digital purchases we make will be tied to our Nintendo Network accounts and not to the hardware we own?



cheleuitte said:

Nintendo need to implement a cross-buy option at least for the VC titles to keep fans happy!!



electrolite77 said:


I don't get your first point at all. There's no profit to be made from a user reselling a console with digital software on it, they're not collectable. Nobody is going to pay more than those games are available for on the eshop. Plus given it's Nintendo's choice to tie digital downloads to hardware so if people choose to sell their hardware with the digital downloads on it, that's their call. If that user then rebuys that Nintendo machine they have to pay again so why would Nintendo care either way?

Ultimately what Nintendo need is a proper Account system. Not locking software to the hardware.Another failing. Nintendo can't use one failing to excuse another.

As for Pullblox, the point is they know that the user has bought the 3DS game and can offer the discount. So the point made by @Tlink7 stands. Forget whether the code or the OS is the same, Nintendo could offer Cross Buy now if they wanted. If a user buys a game on the Wii U, they get the equivalent on 3DS. Sony are using this to tie users into their ecosystem and Nintendo are completely missing out, like they did with achievements/trophies and Friends Lists.



Obito_Sigma said:

I'll give them until the end of the year 2016. If 2017 comes along, and there is no word of Virtual Console cross-buy, then we could all safetly say that there is no point in not doing it. It is 2014, and they are promoting their services in order to boost sells. If the sells manage to increase or decrease, then that should make no difference in what occurs at the near-end of the generation. Give us what we want when your goals have been finished, Nintendo.



0utburst said:

The first one was to point out as to why I think Nintendo decided to link one account per console and not what everybody else is asking that they want to download their games on multiple consoles tied to their account.

On the VC cross buy issue, Nintendo just implemented NNID this gen on the Wii U and 3DS. It's still new. They can possibly implement cross buy this gen but I can see them implementing it on the next gen to avoid the complications of refunding/alienating those who already bought same games on their 3DS and Wii U. It's just a hunch but I hope they will implement cross buy in the future.

As for Sony, they profit from PS+ subscriptions beside from game sales so they're more flexible. They can offer cross buy without losing anything. Should Nintendo also offer subscriptions? For me I don't know. But I don't want to be forced to pay just to access some basic features such as online play, chat, miiverse, etc. So unless Nintendo does it better, no I don't want Nintendo to offer subscriptions.



JaxonH said:

People getting feathers ruffled over cross buy lol.

First world problems, I tell ya...

I'm always down to save some cash, and I will be among the first to take advantage of such a thing if it ever comes to fruition- don't get me wrong I'm not AGAINST it. It's just that in the end, I really don't care what they do to be honest. Just give me good games, and I'll pay top dollar. That's all I care about. Saving a couple bucks is the least of my worries. If I was a penny scraper, I wouldn't be buying needless entertainment via video games in the first place



IronMan28 said:

I want this to happen just so it'll shut people up. It won't boost Wii U sales to have the same experience on two devices, but I would like to be able to play VC games I bought on my 3DS on my Wii U and vice versa. It's weird how Nintendo consoles and Sony handhelds seem to be on the same footing: few people want them. Just goes to show you people value inexpensiveness when it's on the go versus at home.



ManateeBlubber said:

Cross-Buy VC needs to happen. It doesn't even have to be everything, just shared games. To start out with, at least.



Mickey said:

This reminds me of the time when my friend had gotten seriously injured and begged me to call 9-1-1.

I thought about it.



ZachBeacon said:

Say what you will about Nintendo but they’ll certainly on the same page as the general public; the world is full of people “thinking about” getting a Wii U.

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