Miyamoto Faces the Future

Shigeru Miyamoto knows that this industry is at a crossroads. Where he chooses to go from here has huge ramifications for all of gaming

In an interview with Edge Magazine, Miyamoto discusses his company, his life, and his competition.

On The Evolution of New Gamers

"I think that by the end of the last year, DS was selling very well to all kinds of people — ladies in their 20s, people in their 50s — and for many of them the DS was the very first games console they had ever purchased in their lives. And actually, many people in the industry and in Nintendo thought that maybe these newcomers to the gaming world would be only interested in the games like Brain Training, that maybe they would not be purchasing any more games afterwards. However, the fact of the matter is that they are now buying a lot of the so-called traditional games, including Super Mario 64, so that was a big surprise for us."

The DS in the West

"What's happening right now is that Nintendo has been unable to introduce the new types of software in the west that we've been able to introduce in Japan. When it comes to Europe and the US, all we have done in the Touch Generations series is Nintendogs. I wish we could have done the localization processes much earlier so we could have brought this software out last year, but we couldn't. However, I think this year is going to be the year that we're going to see the real evolution of the Nintendo DS, because... well... before I answer that, I have to ask you a question. What did you eat two nights ago?"

"...this is what we do. This is what we did in Japan. We just asked: 'Do you like dogs?' We didn't say 'Ah, there is a new game called Nintendogs for the DS available at this date and at this price,' we just asked people if they liked dogs. And they said: 'Oh yes, I like to play with dogs. They don't care what format it's on or how it works, they just like dogs. Then we asked what they ate two nights ago and everybody found out that they had to think very hard about it, and that helped them show that Brain Age was software that was one way or another relevant to their daily lives. It's not a game machine, it's not a personal computer, it's just Nintendogs or Brain Training and suddenly they felt: 'Oh, that's something for me.' And we haven't created that atmosphere in Europe or the US yet — but as long as we're asking questions like 'Do you like dogs?' and 'What did you eat two nights ago?' then we get a reaction from people that's almost identical wherever we are.

On Where the Industry is Heading

"Regardless of whatever industry you're doing business in, it isn't healthy for everyone to be heading in the same direction. Each of us needs to look into the possibility of some other directions all the time so we can expand the core industry. So, because of that, I think what Nintendo is doing is right for the industry but if other companies believe that their future course is also right, then that's healthy too."

"What Nintendo is trying to do is introduce a completely new platform which means we can give small teams with unique ideas the opportunity to make a great game. And those kind of great games have the potential to become the most successful software in the world. So I think it's definitely the right direction for Nintendo to be taking into the future."

Nintendo and the Perception of Nintendo

"We always want to be the number one creators for whatever Nintendo hardware platform we are talking about. We have to do that — of course! But what we're trying to do is to make the hardware that will drag out the very best possible quality from the software. What we try to be is the role model — we want other developers to learn from us."

"As far as Japan is concerned, thanks to the overwhelming success of the DS, I think a lot of people now understand what kind of company Nintendo is and what it is we are trying to do. In the rest of the world we are yet to see that but I think that this year is going to be very important — if we can send the right message to the customer then we will see people start to understand Nintendo. For example, when it comes to Revolution, we don't call it a next-generation console. We call it a new-generation console."

On What he Admires about his Rivals

"Well. In the case of Sony, I think their endeavors to create new chips and then to make enough of them to reduce the manufacturing cost — I think that's something that's nice for this industry, as well as for other industries. As for Microsoft, I think they have a good attitude to providing the developer kits and development environment that make it easy to make games. I think that attitude needs to be appreciated."

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