Yamauchi on Console Wars

Nintendo president speaks out, but gets a easy ride

Source - Cloudchaser

Aging Nintendo president Hiroshi Yamauchi has been interviewed by Japanese industry website Mainichi Interactive. A translation appears at Cloudchaser. Mr. Yamauchi often speaks his mind, and it was none too different on this occasion. After quoting a Stateside sales figure of some 1.3 million GameCube systems, Yamauchi argues that all three consoles were probably "at nearly equal footing" by the end of the Western year. His picture of the Japanese market is not quite so inspiring however. Despite shipping 1.3 million GameCubes in September, "and while sales aren't below expectations, I can't say it's been selling incredibly well." The interviewer responds to this by further prompting Yamauchi about the Japanese market, and how gamers are drifting away from games. Yamauchi admits that only two GameCube titles are expected to sell a million copies now: Pikmin and Super Smash Brothers Meleee, and claims that "Japanese users aren't buying the same old rehashed games anymore." "Every game developer is shooting for nothing but realism and flashiness, so we're seeing an overflow of games that look exactly the same," the 74-year-old president argues. "If more games with new types of gameplay and fun come on the market, the market will expand, companies will have more support and there'd be a business to work with." As if to back up his point of view, the two then discuss Yamauchi's privately backed 20-billion-yen game development fund. When asked about Microsoft's Xbox, Yamauchi falls back on his previous comment. "I don't think the Xbox will do very well in Japan," he argues. "The same old genres and development methods still work in American, but they won't interest the more discriminating gamers of Japan." Ultimately, Yamauchi believes the GameCube will win, but not in time for his retirement. Unfortunately, the interviewer didn't opt to quiz him about the importance of features such as broadband connectivity and hard disk access. In fact, he was pretty soft on the venerable pres. Several years ago, Nintendo chose not to use CD media for its 64-bit console to avoid becoming a bastion of multimedia. This stubborn view led to the alienation of Squaresoft and others. Is Nintendo's denial of hard disk-based storage and onboard networking another unnecessary way of stressing the Cube's gamey origins? Related Feature - Hip to be Cube!

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Tom Bramwell

Tom Bramwell

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Tom worked at Eurogamer from early 2000 to late 2014, including seven years as Editor-in-Chief.

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