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Iwata: Nintendo won't be drawn into expensive tech race with Wii U

Graphics aren't everything.

Nintendo is happy to avoid getting bogged down in an expensive tech race against its rivals with the Wii U, so says CEO Satoru Iwata.

Speaking during an investor Q&A last week, Iwata suggested that, although its new console will offer some titles featuring high-end visuals, the company plans to compete in other areas instead.

"As we will showcase the Wii U at E3 in June this year, the detailed announcements must wait until then, but we are aiming to make a system which shall not be forced into competing with the others where the contenders can fight only with massive developer resources and long development times as their weapons," he said.

Iwata added that Nintendo has always adopted a 'size isn't everything' approach to software development, and that will continue with the Wii U.

"Looking at the software for home console systems, there are certainly the software titles for which very rich graphics must be reproduced on HD displays and which demand a large number of developers to spend a very long time to develop.

"It is one of the truths that a certain number of such software titles must be prepared, or the consumers will not be satisfied. But we do not think that any and all the software must be created in that fashion.

"When you look at Nintendo's software, extraordinary rich graphics, massive gameplay volume and astonishing rendition effects are not necessarily the appealing point. It is, in fact, important for us that our games are appealing in other ways as well."

He offered Nintendo's quirky Rhythm Heaven series as an example, insisting that, "if we had adopted rich photo-realistic graphics, it would have lost much of its appeal."

"It is not necessary for us to deploy a huge number of people in order to develop such games," he continued, stating that, more than ever, Nintendo is bringing in third parties when it does need to develop more graphically complex titles.

"When we need massive power and have a lack of internal resources, we collaborate with outside resources and pour necessary resources to where they are needed. We are increasing the frequency of working with outside developers where Mr. Miyamoto and our internal developers alone used to develop.

"What's important here is not to narrow down what we can do," he added. "Rather, we have to create the dynamic range of appeals that the consumers can appreciate."

Iwata pointed to The Legend of Zelda series as one franchise that will certainly benefit from the the Wii U's additional horsepower.

"As I mentioned, it is true that, in some software areas, we need to be engaged in the power games," he reaffirmed.

"Take The Legend of Zelda franchise, for example, the fans must be looking for the graphic representations that they do not see as cheap at all when the title is released for the Wii U. When it is necessary, we do not hesitate to role out our resources."

As confirmed last week, the Wii U will be on shelves before the end of the year. Neither Microsoft or Sony has made any official comment as to when their new systems will hit the market.

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Fred Dutton avatar

Fred Dutton


Fred Dutton was Eurogamer's US news editor, based in Washington DC.

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