Iwata: We "do not want online games"

Still isn't important, says boss.

Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has given an extensive talk on the state of the industry to the Japan Economic Foundation - including evidence from sales figures which he claims prove that online gaming is not yet an important factor.

Iwata presented sales figures for a PS2 online golf title which failed to match the sales of its offline predecessor (Sony's own Minna no Golf / Everybody's Golf titles, released in the west as Hot Shots Golf) as "proof that customers do not want online games."

According to highlights of his presentation which have been posted online, Iwata told the foundation that "most customers do not wish to pay the extra money for connection to the Internet, and for some customers, connection procedures to the Internet are still not easy."

Alone out of the three major platform holders in the current generation of hardware, Nintendo has been reluctant to commit to online gaming; the company launched a modem and broadband adapter for the console in order to support online titles from other companies, but has not developed any such titles of its own.

With both Sony and Microsoft's future console plans featuring online as a core component, it's still not clear how Nintendo will incorporate connectivity into its next-generation "Revolution" console - if at all.

However, the company has been much more positive about the potential of wireless connectivity for its handheld devices, launching a successful wireless adapter for the Game Boy Advance and integrating both Bluetooth and 802.11b Wireless LAN technologies into the forthcoming Nintendo DS handheld.

Elsewhere in his address to the foundation, Iwata also covered the perception of Nintendo as a company which targets its products largely at the kids market. "Game software should neither be exclusively be targeted at children nor adults," he said. "Instead, we will develop software which anyone can instantly understand."

However, he did acknowledge the growing trend within the industry for creating mature games, adding simply that "at the same time, production of software readily acceptable to adults is worth studying."

Speaking about Nintendo's relationships with third-party companies, Iwata hinted that more development deals with Western developers could be in the pipeline. "We intend to expand tie-ups not only with Japanese companies but also with foreign companies," he said. "We are now holding negotiations with major Western game developers and will be able to conclude a deal by the end of the year if things go smoothly."

He also touched briefly on the subject of Nintendo's ongoing relationship with Bandai - and this time strayed from his usual script on the subject by not directly denying the possibility of a takeover or merger, saying only that "a closer relationship would be beneficial for both sides and it will be nice if the two companies can work together in doing something interesting."

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Kristan Reed

Kristan Reed

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Kristan is a former editor of Eurogamer, dad, Stone Roses bore and Norwich City supporter who sometimes mutters optimistically about Team Silent getting back together.

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