Nintendo brass on DS, online gaming

DS' failure could be crushing, and online games are untenable, apparently.

We've already fished Nintendo president Satoru Iwata and former boss man Hiroshi Yamauchi's damaging N5 comments from Japanese newspaper Nikkei Industrial Daily, but the dual-screen duo had more to say than that. The article also revealed how much significance Yamauchi places upon the enigmatic Nintendo DS handheld, and a statement of Nintendo's current position with regard to online gaming.

Interestingly, it was apparently Hiroshi Yamauchi who first floated the idea of a dual-screen device around 18 months ago. Satoru Iwata said the venerable ex-president had discerned a trend amongst consumers, and handed the idea to Nintendo management. Judging by Yamauchi's comments, he feels DS is key to Nintendo's strategy over the next two years. "If we are unsuccessful with the Nintendo DS, we may not go bankrupt, but we will be crushed. The next two years will be a really crucial time for Nintendo," he said, adding that he hopes the DS will re-energise the Japanese games market with new gameplay ideas.

Meanwhile Satoru Iwata gave his reaction to the current breed of online gaming services, including PS2 Online and Xbox Live. "I don't think the current online games have adopted the right business model, and people will not pay money for them," he said, arguing once again that the subscription-based model is untenable. However he did state that Nintendo is not ignoring the potential of network technology. "For example, we may think about using the wireless communications to enhance the enjoyment of a videogame," he said. As with much of Nintendo's output though, it's all tied in to the games as the platform holder remains stubbornly unwilling to change its outspoken philosophy of 'ideas first, tech where necessary'.

It's obviously worth pointing out that none of the above should be taken as gospel - after all, Nintendo issued a full-blown rebuttal when other views from the interview were first aired - but as ever Hiroshi Yamauchi proves good value for money, and current president Satoru Iwata is clearly making solid progress picking up the outspoken quirks of the role...

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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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