Shareholders love buzz words, don't they? As far as telecommunication buzz words go, there is nothing spicier than '5G' right now. The telecom sector is ripe with dreams of how 5G will change our lives and is desperate to sell us new subscriptions and handsets. But what does this mean on the gaming front?
Nintendo was asked how it plans to respond to the change in communication standards – from 4G to 5G – during its recent Shareholder Q&A. Ko Shiota provided the below response – stating how the company doesn't just chase trends, but also considers how to apply the latest technology to gameplay:
5G can send a large amount of data without latency. We are aware that this technology has been gaining a lot of attention, and Nintendo is also investigating it. However, we don't only chase trends in technology. When considering what to offer in our entertainment and services, we think about both how the technology will be applied to gameplay and what new experiences and gameplay we can offer consumers as a result of that application. Cost is also an extremely important factor when it comes to 5G. It's difficult to use even an outstanding technology if the cost is too high, so we will continue to also thoroughly investigate the cost of new technologies.
Naturally, this is the sort of spiel shareholders want to hear. The most logical implementation of 5G for Nintendo at this point in time would be a new Switch SKU with 5G data capabilities.
It's no secret Nintendo is already experimenting with "cloud version" games for the Switch in Japan. However, this tech is currently limited to individuals with a quality WiFi connection. Should this habit prove popular, having a 5G enabled Switch would make a lot of sense.
Company president Shuntaro Furukawa went on to discuss cloud and streaming tech himself – noting how Nintendo expected these technologies to be used more and more in the future to deliver games to consumers:
While we don't expect all games to become cloud games any time soon, the technologies are definitely advancing. We see a future where cloud and streaming technologies will develop more and more as a means of delivering games to consumers. We must keep up with such changes in the environment. That being said, if these changes increase the worldwide gaming population, that will just give us more opportunities with our integrated hardware and software development approach to reach people worldwide with the unique entertainment that Nintendo can provide.
It seems as if Nintendo is fairly keen on 5G – provided the demand is there and the price is effective. The latter has an easy solution: make it optional. Apple has already shown that offering 4G as an option on their iPad is a way of satisfying demand for those that want the feature. Could this approach be something we'll see applied to the Switch in the future?
What do you make of these statements from Nintendo? Would you be interested in a 5G capable Switch if they were eventually made available? How much extra would you be willing to spend? Share your thoughts below.