The Guardian recently interviewed Nintendo's own Shinya Takahashi, and the general manager of the Entertainment Planning & Development Division revealed some of the interesting ways the firm is innovating without consciously trying to do so.
“People always ask us whether we take risks on purpose," he reveals. "But to us, we don’t really take risks – we just keep trying new things. The thinking that guides us is: what can we do to pleasantly surprise players? It’s not that we’re consciously trying to innovate; we’re trying to find ways to make people happy. The result is that we come up with things other people have not done.”
Takahashi-san also says much of Nintendo's success over the years has come from the all-inclusive structure of its business, where every part of the development and publishing process for hardware and games is taken care of in-house.
“This is the advantage we have at Nintendo as a software/hardware integrated organisation – when we do research for our new hardware systems, our software developers, our artists, our programmers and our hardware engineers all get together and decide what we should aim for. We’ve been doing that for many years,” he adds.
Part of that success is down to the company's specific recruitment process, with a focus on nurturing and supporting young development talent with dedication and a willingness to commit to a single idea of a long stretch of time. “The bottom line is, the quality of the end product that those students created doesn’t really matter to me," comments Takahashi-san. "How they kept their focus, what they thought throughout those years … that’s what important to me. We like our staff members to be as creative as possible – and creative people should not just listen to their bosses saying ‘Yes sir’, or ‘Yes ma’am’. I want them to always ask themselves, ‘Is this direction correct?’”
What do you make of his thoughts on Nintendo's success and approach to development? This is the company that came up with Labo after all. Share your opinions with us below...