Catching up?

There's been a running argument over the past decade that the Japanese development industry has fallen behind that of the west, with studios in the Far East struggling to make the best use of the latest game engines and software technology.

While it's true that the balance of power has shifted towards the west in recent times following Japan's dominance during the 16 and 32-bit eras, Nintendo's Shigeru Miyamoto believes that situation is changing as Japanese developers - those within Nintendo specifically - master new technology.

Speaking to investors recently about how easy it is to develop games for the upcoming Switch, Miyamoto said:

Even though game software developers in the U.S. and E.U. are often said to have superior skills to their Japanese counterparts when it comes to software development techniques, Nintendoʼs software developers have mastered state-of-the-art technologies such as Unreal engine, and their skills can now be compared with those of Western developers. Our developers are more excited than ever to create software.

However, Miyamoto stopped short of stating that Nintendo is using third-party engines such as Unreal and Unity to power its own games, but managing executive officer Shinya Takahashi did point out that by embracing such engines, the company is effectively opening up the door for more developers on Switch:

For our previous game platforms, creating our own development tools was a high priority for us. However, since the start of Nintendo Switch development we have been aiming to realize an environment in which a variety of different third-party developers are able to easily develop compatible software, such as by making it compatible with Unreal and Unity as well as our own development tools. As a result, even companies with only a few developers have already started making games for Nintendo Switch.

Nintendo is more than likely going to prefer its own development tools when it comes to creating first-party games, but do you think we could see that change in the future, based on Miyamoto's assertion that Nintendo's developers are now confident in using Unreal Engine? Let us know with a comment.