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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.


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User Comments (62)



Nintendo_Ninja said:

When you realize that shooters automatically sell 1 million copies no matter how good, creative, or revolutionary they are, you find the truth in his quote.



BossBattles said:

The Mountain Dew xbox generation of public school vaccinated zombie kids ruined much of what made gaming awesome early on, which was the absence of appearing "cool".



unrandomsam said:

Amiibo is Nintendo doing exactly what he says people shouldn't. (It cannot be it is ok when we do it but not anybody else).



Nintendo_Ninja said:

When people are like "GTA is the best game of the decade because of hookers and guns!!!" You see the sad state the Videogame business is in. What made GTA special when you talk about creativity or being revolutionary? Absolutely nothing.



Daruncic said:

Gotta say, GTA 3 WAS pretty revolutionary. Open world sandbox games before that were almost nonexistent outside of the RPG genre.



MrGawain said:

I'm guessing from these remarks Miyamoto isn't impressed with the dudebro violent western games. Is the mature triple A 3rd party issue that companies don't want to publish their games on the Wii U, or ALSO that Nintendo aren't really that bothered if they do?



Gridatttack said:

I dont know how this will fare out. Considering kids are all over tablets and cheap, lame/easy, etc. games, the only audience that is still left its all the people (grown ups from the past egenration of games) who mainly likes all the repetitive gory/FPS stuff. Of course, there's that small percent of people who actually likes other games for innovation n stuff.



Joalro said:

@unrandomsam I don't actually understand what you are saying. Miyamoto was talking about creativity and not doing the same thing as everyone else. So unless you are talking about how Skylanders and Disney Infinity did it first, which would make SOME sense, I haven no clue what you are saying.

However, Skylanders and Disney infinity are doing something very different with their figures than what Nintendo is doing.



ajcismo said:

Its amazing the cultural philosophy of different gaming companies...

Mr.Miyamoto is a brilliant man, has seen it all and still claims that he (and Nintendo as a whole) need to continue to be more creative to help drive the industry.

Meanwhile, just days before, EA head Peter Moore goes on about how EA will no longer support the handheld industry, thereby being less creative and choking the industry.

Same planet, different worlds.



steamhare said:

I think it's pretty obvious that video games still have quite a ways to go before they've truly developed as a medium, and it's only exacerbated by the constant march of technology causing developers to reinvent everything so regularly. I'm still somewhat annoyed that there are no attempts at mystery games that require players to freely investigate without being linear paths with copious handholding, or games that could realistically be called romantic comedies.

Worst of all, anything involving simulation often takes steps backwards in subsequent iterations. Many developers seem to pull away from the genre after a few successes.



ricklongo said:

There have been (few) times when I disagreed with Miyamoto, but he is a brilliant man and those quotes are spot-on. That's the precise reason I continue to have faith in Nintendo even in the face of adversities.



PanurgeJr said:

@unrandomsam Amiibo is primarily merchandising, which is seeing to the business side of the business. Thus it is not what Miyamoto was speaking about.



Sceptic said:

Every time they say this sort of superficially cool thing about the state of gaming I wonder if he even has a clue what current gen gaming actually offers. Beyond the AAA shooters that offer such an easy target. It's like pointing to 'Transformers' and claiming that movie is representative of the global film industry.

I mean, this is the guy that isn't ashamed to say he has never played minecraft.



Joalro said:

@Sceptic Honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if he hasn't played many of these games. The guy is super busy.

Hopefully SOMEONE at Nintendo is playing these games and reporting to those in charge to at least inform the higher ups whats going on in the industry. I personally like what Nintendo is doing and want them to continue standing out, but they should at least be aware what the other players are doing.



MeloMan said:

Nintendo finds strength in uniqueness and risk taking... in most circles, that's not good enough to be a winner, but that's a testament to Nintendo as a company. Like 'em or hate 'em, they've seeded their destiny in the videogame world until only they take themselves out of it.



Klunk23 said:

@unrandomsam In terms of how they are toys that you scan into a game somehow, they are the same. But how they are used in gameplay is very different (from what we've seen so far as we've only seen their use in smash). So why they definitely based Amiibo off of Skylanders and Disney Infinity, the way they are using them is adding their own creative spin to it.



Mario-Man-Child said:

I love Nintendo's philosophy. I like what he is saying about their creativity being in a transitional period and will eventually step up. It sounds very positive.



Zyph said:

Shooters. A great example of creative immaturity. Yeah they're great and sometimes competitively fun. They have unique aspects to them across all the shooters available. But shooters are still shooters. You fire a gun to kill. That's it. That's basically the premise of these games. Whatever you put on top of that is just icing on the cake IMO. That said, I still enjoy playing some of them. But that's not really the point. Don't even compare them to the hundreds of platformers out there. You can be more creative on those than games constantly firing guns and explosives.



Vee_Flames said:

Hm. That's very nice of him to say. I like videogames in general on any format, but I will ALWAYS go to Nintendo if I want fun, original gaming no matter what anyone says.



rmeyer said:

Not sure why Nintendo hasn't made a super cool gamepad game that syncs with the tv well. The styroscopic is Nintendos bread and butter. No idea why they haven't done something crazy cool with it yet. Even on the 3ds



Yorumi said:

He's right in that the game industry is lacking creativity but those in glass houses and all, nintendo hasn't exactly been hugely creative lately. Don't get me wrong I've praised nintendo's showing at e3 and am happy with what's on the horrizon. However, of all they've released on the wiiU and all we know is coming, splatoon is one of the few truly creative games.

They've even largely failed to make any kind of creative use for their own gamepad. Then you look at for example how little effort was ever invested in the ai of animal crossing, and to getting the kind of customization into the game that the sims did 10 years ago it leaves a heck of a lot to be desired.

I don't think every last game needs to be hugely creative, but nintendo isn't exactly blazing a trail here. They've been playing it very safe with almost every game they have for quite a while now.



DiscoGentleman said:

@Yorumi I agree.
Regarding what is on the horizon, I think that what we're seeing now is reactionary to Nintendo's Wii U struggles. The Wii was so successful, I think they just expected people to buy the Wii U (which is crazy, even without hindsight). Nintendo got "lazy", so to speak. Now that there's a fire lit under Nintendo's butt, I think we'll see some better things in the future (hence the promising E3 they just had). Nintendo always seems to learn from their past experiences, the good and the bad.



Iggly said:

Nintendo will need to do some major improving if they want to dominate the creativity side of gaming, as like others have mentioned, the Gamepad hasn't really been used to the best it could from Nintendo. [Speaking of which, they better have an update for MK8 where one player can use the Gamepad for their screen and the other uses the full screen of the TV for their side.]



sinalefa said:


And still they funded The Wonderful 101, IMO one of the most creative games in ages. But I get your point. The Wii's success made them rest on their laurels, and that hurt them this gen.



Kaze_Memaryu said:

The problem with creativity is the fading appreciation for it. Just look at the big-selling titles of today - most of them heavily rely on "hollywood realism". Short bursts of glorified action that lead into the same muddy scenery as always, and those games sell.
I don't see the appeal to realism - it's boring to see stuff that can be easily shrugged of as legit, we already have that on the streets or in news reports. But barely anyone wants to challenge the players' imagination.

@unrandomsan The idea of Amiibo is pretty much identical to Skylanders and Infinity, but, unlike the latter two, Amiibo isn't mandatory for 100% or even finishing the game. So, that's the difference.



AJ_Lethal said:

@Yorumi I kinda agree with that, but remember that Nintendo is going through a generational change as we're speaking. Obviously the "new guys" will stick with the "old guard" ways for a while they find their own way.

As for Miyamoto - he has a quite poignant point: gaming is barely reaching puberty, it still has to fight for being recgonized as a legitimate medium.



Dpishere said:

I personally think games are now more creative than they have ever been! I am very excited to see what the games industry has in store in the coming years as there have never been such a broad spectrum of games as there is today. Good time to be a gamer!



Yorumi said:

@AJ_Lethal and really the others. In general like I say I'm ok with what I'm seeing. The biggest issue for me is I feel like the video game industry as a whole is regressing rather than progressing. When I look at features of games from the '90's to earth 2000's there are some quite impressive things going on there.

Animal crossing was fairly revolutionary for it's time. A game in real time with quite literally not objective. Pikmin as well, it's kind of an rts but not really an rts. The star wars rogue squadron games were getting a lot of enemies on screen and did a good job making you feel like you were part of the squad. Baulder's gate, morrowind, everquest.

So where have we come since then. Animal crossing are really just the same game they always were. Sure the mayor thing in new leaf is nice but minor customization of the town isn't exactly massive progress in 14 years. And sadly a game with simple dialogue trees like a visual novel is more advanced than AC in terms of AI. Modern bioware games and other such rpgs have removed most of the choices, the customization, and reduced the games to binary moral choices of perfect angel or demented monster. I've commented numerous times on how much was stripped from morrowind going to skyrim and other open world games havn't really fared any better. Modern mmos arn't worlds anymore they're just hack and slash dungeon crawlers, but even that is too kind cause all you do is log in every day and run one or two of the same dungeons over and over for loot. Diablo was more complex than modern mmos.

Sure a lot of that comes with mass marketing, and there were plenty of crappy games of any decade. Right now it seems like at best we've made no progress, at worst we're regressing. In the 90's you could point to bioware, nintendo, blizzard, bethesda, and gasp EA, among others and say they're really pushing the industry forward. Is there anyone right now we can really say that of?

Sure the next installment of smash is going to be fun, mk8 was fun, looking forward to hyrule warriors, etc. Those games will always have a place, and there's always a reason to make them. I'd just like to see someone actually taking a chance and pushing the industry forward, even on low graphics games to save costs, that's a great place to test ideas.



Darknyht said:

@unrandomsam Yes and no. His problem with the FPS genre is that everyone more or less is doing exactly what the last blockbuster did. Borderlands made putting RPG elements into a shooter popular, look at all the games that cloned it. Gears of War made Third Person cover shooters popular, everyone copied. Same with horde mode. GTA made open-world sandbox popular, so everyone quickly threw out their GTA-clone. The issue isn't being in the same genre, it is not innovating or going outside the box of what sold well before.

The problem is that for every game that pushes a genre in a new or innovative way, there are 10 clones that just have the goal of being as close as possible to that first game so they can cash in.



SavoirFaire said:

The better quote would be "creativity isn't necessary," which I believe is the problem not only in games but in movies as well.



Emblem said:

@Darknyht This guy bothered to read the whole thing and comprehend it, follow his example.

Totally agree, there was some of creativity at E3 but it was drowned out buy everything else. Now wither this is due to the media & public preferring what they know over what's new, who knows.

My hat goes of to MS though as Project Spark has me contemplating an X1 as its totally fresh and could be wondrous. I'm eagerly awaiting release to see if it all comes together nicely.



JaxonH said:

I love Nintendo innovation. Every new generation I get excited. Not for how much power Sony's new console will have. Not for how much power MS's new console will have. I get excited to see what Nintendo will do next. Some mock Nintendo for their innovation, but to me, that's what I love most about them. I love Nintendo hardware every bit as much as their software.

I hope Nintendo continues to live by that standard of innovation each generation, and doesn't ever cop out to a horsepower struggle with the rest of the industry. Continue doing your thing Nintendo- ride it til the wheels fall off. If the day ever comes gamers stop caring about hardware innovation, well, at least you went out doing what you do best. And I'll support you until the very end.



Action51 said:

My opinion:

The popular culture of the post millennial world really declined across the board, but I think we're seeing it rebound now.

I think it sank to it's lowest between 2004-2011. Worst period of music, television, movies, actors, and culture in general.

Don't get me wrong, we can always pick out a great example of inspiration during a period of garbage culture (Breaking Bad was amazing, but still not nearly as popular as the Kardashians), and we can certainly pick out garbage during periods of great popular culture (Mariah Carey actually dominated the billboard charts when Nirvana was recording their second album) ...but I get the general sense we're finally moving out of the 00's or "oughts" crap culture period.



rbmoura85 said:

amiibos have their own unique gameplay, there are one million shooters, and just two toy lines like that...



WinterWarm said:

I agree with Miyamoto-san. One amazing, creative, one of a kind game comes along, and all the other games in the genre copy it for a few years until something else amazing comes along. Too many developer disguise copying as 'inspiration'.



hiptanaka said:

@Sceptic He's probably seen Minecraft, even if he hasn't played it. In any case, I wouldn't want Nintendo to take inspiration from Minecraft. There are many games that do already, and most of them are completely uninteresting to me.



DilMan33 said:


Take out the hookeers and the ability to kill and run over civilians and cops, then GTA won't sell, and therefore can't command a big budget for such polished mechanics.



HugoBR said:

@DilMan33 @Nintendo_Ninja

Play the game before expose your opinions. The hookers are just a very minimal part of the game, almost irrelevant. The game is good, fun and with thousands of things to do. The "offensive" content don´t take away the good aspects of the game. My advice: try it !

ps.: Watch Dogs has almost the same things, why not bash it too ?



JebbyDeringer said:

I agree about the immaturity but there are a lot of immature people out there eating it up. There are lots of guys in their 30s that gobble this crap up...

Realistic worlds isn't a bad thing though. I like a bit of reality in my gaming though some imagination doesn't hurt.



Sceptic said:

@hiptanaka: My point is he's obviously totally out of touch with the current state of gaming and yet feels comfortable making broad statements about the perceived the state of affairs. He sounds like my late grandmother.

Gaming, as a whole, has never been better and there are literally dozens of developers pushing the envelope, both technically and creatively. But alas, Nintendo definitely isn't one of them, so within his limited universe I would probably have agree with him. But I'd prefer they'd get with it and give us something rather than keep talking about it.



Bolt_Strike said:

I agree with his point, there's too much of a trend towards dudebro games, and while those kinds of video games do tend to sell, in the long run they're not good for the industry. I mean, look at E3 this year, most of the best games of E3 aren't going to be ready until 2015, and most of the big games that were shown were either minor teases or tech demos. Game development has become incredibly long and incredibly expensive, and the payout doesn't seem to be worth it because we're just getting games that look like 7th gen games. I think I smell a crash coming, the switch to 8th gen just doesn't seem profitable at all. Nintendo is smart to stay out of this race to bankruptcy, although the push for better graphics seems to be getting to them as well.



DilMan33 said:


God, why does someone always take serious offense, when criticizing GTA? And they always say the same thing: Have you played it? Have you tried it?

I have played it and actually have tried GTA V, the latest hit as well.

But I find that the series hasn't changed a bit, and still is absolutely disgusting as it always was!



QuickSilver88 said:

In a recent game informer magazine they did a circular chart showing the achievement completion rate in last years major titles and it is scary, scary, scary low. Games like AC4 it was rare to even complete 15% of the games achievements and almost unheard of to get 100%. Short games like TLOU almost never get played thru a second time on 'harder' mode. Thankfully people are still buying these games but not even coming close to completing them. Devs and Pubs have to be aware of this and asking themselves why are we developing such lengthy games when such a small % enjoy the entire game.

I have been a gamer since the start in the late 70s and i do think their has been very little 'change' in gaming in three generations. I think part of the reason is because gamers are change resistant but in many ways as far game types (fps, 3rd person, platform, racing, fighting, rpg, srpg, tcg) little has changed. The ps3 was more an expansion on the concept started with ps1/ps2 than it was a drastic change. Grafx, storage, controllers, online all improved which expanded the scope a game could achieve but the core play mechanics have remained the same. So yes games have come a long way but what Shiggy is talking about is new game mechanics and genres. Wii and DS have done the most since the ps1/n64 generation to 'change' gaming in a large way. Still motion controls in the manor that Wii offered were a fad and its dead. Now motion tracking and such have a future in VR but waving a Wiimote like a wand is over. DS is a funky concept but occasionally you get a game that really uses the 2 screens of data well and Nintendo has proven the dual screen concept in portable can work.

The resistance to WiiU has been extreme. Shooter bro crowd either is unaware of it or actively hates it. Nintendo has done little so far to properly demonstrate the need for second screen in the home console format. I have seen promise in games but little has shown full integration......can Nintendo or even someone else make that game?



DilMan33 said:

The Last of Us got so boring. I just about manged a second playthrough but honestly can't be bothered to ever touch it again. And there's no real reason to!

All that effort for little gain. What's more they now charge extra for an side mission and an extra difficultly mode. LOL! No thanks!



Yorumi said:

@Andrew_Cook we'll I'd say name the developers that are really pushing creativity. A bit problem is people's bias, they'll say tropical freeze and mk8 are creative when they're anything but. Or you'll commonly hear people saying skyrim is such a step forward when in fact it's actually a step back from previous installments.

In a general sense people will look no farther than the graphics of a game and start attaching every positive adjective they can to a game on the basis of graphics alone. Take a moment and honestly look at nintendo, is mario U, 3d world, tf, pikmin 3, or mk8 particularly creative? No, they're all pretty standard entries in their genres. How about smash or X? Again no not really. Zelda U? From what little we know, no again there's nothing particularly creative about an open world game itself. On the 3ds side. pokemon, animal crossing, luigi's mansion, fire emblem? Again no. That doesn't make them bad games, total creativity isn't typically required, but it's what we're discussing here.

That's the main point where is anyone adding amazing new elements to genres, or creating entire new genres? All we really get are pretty standard games that follow established templates.



Bizzyb said:

I agree, a lot of genres
adventure (okamis and Zeldas)
survival horror
futuristic and arcade racers
puzzles and strategies
even RPGs
are either dying or dead. Nowadays 80% of the industry involves using a gun to shoot and kill people/monsters/aliens/zombies. Its like publishers and developers no longer care about making great unique games just games thst have potential to make "COD $$$" and that's just sad

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