One of Nintendo?s greatest game designer, Shigeru Miyamoto stated in the recent E3 coverage that having their games released and play on both their handheld (3ds) and console (Wii U) is a challenge, but it is certainly an area of opportunity for the big N.
Miyamoto didn?t mention anything new like Nintendo 4DS or Wii U 2. Not even the Quality of Life Platform surfaced in the recent E3 event in Los Angeles, but with his short conversation with Kotaku representatives, it looked like they have indeed formed up ideas for the future.
Long story short, Shigeru was asked if Nintendo would make it possible to let the owners of both of their consoles and handhelds to play the same game on both platforms. If the idea of having a game which you can play on a large T.V screen and on the go would happen.
Miyamoto?s response was pretty spot on.
?So, certainly if you look at the show floor, currently the games are designed for the systems they’re running on. There are games that in a way take advantage of being on a higher-spec machine that plays on a TV and there are games that are designed to play better on a portable machine. But certainly we’ve gotten to an age where the technology has advanced and it’s become more and more possible to have a similar experience running on a lower-spec system.?
In this part of his response, we can see a subtle hint that, they are indeed looking forward to having ?most games available on every platform that they cater in the future.
?What I can say is, certainly, within Nintendo the fact that our development environment for our home console is different from the development environment for our portable system is certainly an area of stress or challenge for the development teams. So as we move forward, we’re going to look at what we can do to unify the two development environments.?
This happened with Sony?s PlayStation VITA with PlayStation VITA TV, so why not Nintendo? Just in case you are wondering what Nintendo?s CEO thinks about this possible direction, he did comment on this in the past as well.
“Last year Nintendo reorganized its R&D divisions and integrated the handheld device and home console development teams into one division under Mr. Takeda. Previously, our handheld video game devices and home video game consoles had to be developed separately as the technological requirements of each system, whether it was battery-powered or connected to a power supply, differed greatly, leading to completely different architectures and, hence, divergent methods of software development. However, because of vast technological advances, it became possible to achieve a fair degree of architectural integration. We discussed this point, and we ultimately concluded that it was the right time to integrate the two teams.”
“For example, currently it requires a huge amount of effort to port Wii software to Nintendo 3DS because not only their resolutions, but also the methods of software development is entirely different. The same thing happens when we try to port Nintendo 3DS software to Wii U. If the transition of software from platform to platform can be made simpler, this will help solve the problem of game shortages in the launch periods of new platforms. Also, as technological advances took place at such a dramatic rate, and we were forced to choose the best technologies for video games under cost restrictions, each time we developed a new platform, we always ended up developing a system that was completely different from its predecessor. The only exception was when we went from Nintendo GameCube to Wii. Though the controller changed completely, the actual computer and graphics chips were developed very smoothly as they were very similar to those of Nintendo GameCube, but all the other systems required ground-up effort. However, I think that we no longer need this kind of effort under the current circumstances. In this perspective, while we are only going to be able to start this with the next system, it will become important for us to accurately take advantage of what we have done with the Wii U architecture. It of course does not mean that we are going to use exactly the same architecture as Wii U, but we are going to create a system that can absorb the Wii U architecture adequately. When this happens, home consoles and handheld devices will no longer be completely different, and they will become like brothers in a family of systems.”
Still, I am not sure if the form factor (the size and configuration of the hardware) will be integrated. In contrast, the number of form factors might increase. Currently, we can only provide two form factors because if we had three or four different architectures, we would face serious shortages of software on every platform. To cite a specific case, Apple is able to release smart devices with various form factors one after another because there is one way of programming adopted by all platforms. Apple has a common platform called iOS. Another example is Android. Though there are various models, Android does not face software shortages because there is one common way of programming on the Android platform that works with various models. The point is, Nintendo platforms should be like those two examples. Whether we will ultimately need just one device will be determined by what consumers demand in the future, and that is not something we know at the moment. However, we are hoping to change and correct the situation in which we develop games for different platforms individually and sometimes disappoint consumers with game shortages as we attempt to move from one platform to another, and we believe that we will be able to deliver tangible results in the future.
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