Baffling comments from Nintendo presidents past (Hiroshi Yamauchi) and present (Satoru Iwata), which kick-started last week's media hoo-hah over the platform holder's hardware ambitions, have now surfaced in their entirety thanks to the Nikkei Industrial Daily. And given the firm tone of a statement released last Wednesday - "Nintendo is staying in the console hardware business and still plans to launch our next home console in the same timeframe as our competitors" - you have to wonder what exactly Nintendo's executive couple were thinking when they made their now infamous comments.
As ever, Hiroshi Yamauchi was in combative mood, telling the Nikkei "I have been saying this for some time, but customers are not interested in grand games with higher-quality graphics and sound and epic stories. Cutting-edge technologies and multiple functions do not necessarily lead to more fun. The excessively hardware-oriented way of thinking is totally wrong, but manufacturers are just throwing money at developing higher-performance hardware."
And if we didn't get the point first time around, he proceeded to spell it out for us. "Nintendo has no plans to release a so-called 'next-generation' videogame console at the next year's Electronic Entertainment Expo in Las Vegas. We will rather make a new proposal that uses the GameCube at its core," he said, a reference to promised GameCube peripherals that we know very little about. "Only people who do not know the videogame business would advocate the release of next-generation machines when people are not interested in cutting-edge technologies."
But Yamauchi is notoriously outspoken, and although his comments would have raised a few eyebrows (and blood pressures), it was Satoru Iwata's admission "I do not believe releasing a higher performance machine is the solution," that kicked off all the speculation/reporting. "Our hardware development team is thinking about the next move, but I cannot tell you about it," he had said at the time.
Nintendo released the following statement after the above comments were widely reported: "Contrary to what has been reported in one Japanese publication, Nintendo is staying in the console hardware business and still plans to launch our next home console in the same timeframe as our competitors. In addition, we are working on a number of complementary technical advances that we believe may significantly enhance the gaming experience. We also continue to look for exciting ways to extend the value of the Nintendo GameCube, and will share those ideas with you in the coming months."
"Specific details about other accessories or systems and their functionalities haven't yet been made public. However, we will make further information about our next console available in the near future, and we look forward to further demonstrating our record of breakthrough innovation in video-game play."
The platform holder made yet more headlines later in the week after a senior spokesperson told the Mainichi Shimbun newspaper "Like our Nintendo DS portable game machine, our home game machine must offer an experience that can be enjoyed by adults, children, or women. We would like to show this at E3 next spring."
We should have a firm idea of what's going on when we land at the E3 trade exhibition in, er, May 2005.