Shigeru Miyamoto Explains His Belief That the Video Game Industry's "Creativity is Still Immature"
Posted by Thomas Whitehead
"We might be able to create new entertainment that dominates the industry"
If you enjoy debating the state of the video game industry with others, you've no doubt had a number of conversations focused on the kinds of games we're seeing in the medium. In some respects we're seeing rapid evolution, with multiple pay models, platforms and input devices changing the way we play; yet much arguably remains the same, particularly in the dedicated gaming triple-A scene. Critics of the current home console market, for example, may point to the dominance of the FPS and Sport genres, which still account for many of the most successful and prominent titles.
It can be argued that the industry is broadening, creatively, with the rise of download stores and smaller developer's contributions being examples, while Nintendo earned some praise during E3 for the diversity of its showing. Shigeru Miyamoto addressed E3, particularly, when outlining the company's performance at the industry show. He explained that Nintendo had strived to present a wide range of content, and also highlighted the the main Digital Event was viewed millions of times — Miyamoto-san also shared the view that Nintendo had stood apart in a wave of familiarity.
Every year a number of companies exhibit at E3 and Nintendo is compared with other companies, most likely with Sony and Microsoft. This year, the majority of what the other developers exhibited was bloody shooter software that was mainly set in violent surroundings or, in a different sense, realistic and cool worlds. Because so many software developers are competing in that category, it seemed like most of the titles at the show were of that kind. In such circumstances, Nintendo looked very unique and was able to receive such positive reactions as “Nintendo had a variety of different software” and “the company is offering games we can feel safe with.” From this aspect of differentiation with the other companies, we had a great E3 show this year.
It was in the final question and answer of Nintendo's AGM, however, that Miyamoto-san gave a spirited outlook on the current video game industry and what Nintendo is striving to achieve through its core policies. At the beginning of the answer he also expressed his support for the company President, Satoru Iwata, who was unable to attend the meeting due to his recovery from an operation.
Mr. Iwata is a president whom I can rely on very much, and I would like to continue this journey with him.
The point raised by the shareholder is a very important one. It is so important that anyone who can create a solution will become an excellent developer. As Mr. Takeda just said, I believe it is important for us to learn from our predecessors in the movie and other media industries. This is something I mentioned earlier today (during my remarks on E3,) but to some, it might have seemed as though there wasn’t a wide variety of software at E3, and as though many people followed the same direction to make their video games. I believe this is a revelation of creative immaturity on our part as creators in the video game industry. The late Mr. Hiroshi Yamauchi, the former president of Nintendo, often used to say that in the entertainment business, only one can become strong and all of the others will become weak. With this remark, he was not referring to the arrogance of the winner. He mentioned this to describe the nature of the entertainment business, which tends to create just one winner because in the entertainment business everyone buys your offering if you create something unprecedented, and consumers do not think it is necessary to purchase products from others in the industry. To survive in the entertainment industry, it is often the case that everyone tries to follow suit with the strong one. My comment may be at risk of being misinterpreted, but in the digital content field, I think that our creativity is still immature. In the world of comic books and movies, there are people who are challenging themselves to be even more creative than before in creating their content. I believe that we (those who are creating digital content called video games) are still in a transitional period and will eventually step up into the phases where we expand and enrich the substance of our creativity. If we can manage Nintendo without losing sight of this challenge, I believe we might be able to create new entertainment that dominates the industry. Also, some may think it is fair to compete with others on the same hardware platform, but it is always challenging to become the one strong existence among so many companies, and to Nintendo, it is more advantageous to create and propose to consumers a brand new framework that includes hardware as part of the structure. We would like to continuously develop something unique by not abandoning this strength of our company. I ask for your continued support.
Nintendo's focus is undoubtedly still on providing innovation and setting trends in gaming, as it did with particular success in the DS and Wii generation. It also seems fair, considering the relatively short overall life-to-date of the video game industry compared to other creative markets, to state that it has plenty of change and evolution ahead, a process that's currently very much at the forefront.
Let us know where you stand on Miyamoto-san's comments, as always, below.