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Wii successor "when we run out of ideas"

Iwata on the future, 3D, digi distribution.

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Image credit: Eurogamer

Satoru Iwata has said that there is no "immediate need" to launch a successor to the Wii because Nintendo still has lots of cool things left to do with it.

"When we run out of ideas with the current hardware and cannot give users any more meaningful surprises with the technology we have, that's when we will launch the new hardware," Iwata told the BBC at E3.

"But do we need to launch a successor to Wii right now? I don't think so."

Iwata also told Forbes that the decision to launch Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword in 2011 "shows that we are not in a hurry to launch the next generation of home console".

That all tallies with Iwata's message to analysts last week.

"I do not think that there is an immediate need to replace the Wii console, but of course, at some point in the future, that need will arise," he said last Wednesday.

"So I will answer your question from the perspective that we currently do not have an answer as to what point in the future that need will come."

Iwata, who began life at Nintendo working in development, also spoke to analysts about the prospect of bringing 3D to the next Nintendo home console.

Nintendo has yet to launch a console that supports high-definition 720p and 1080p displays, so it wasn't too surprising to hear that - despite announcing a 3D handheld at the trade show, and despite competitor Sony's investment in 3D - there are no plans to incorporate 3D into a home machine any time soon.

"Considering the current penetration rate of 3D television sets in ordinary households, we don't think that there's much reality in creating a new hardware system that would support 3D visuals as a home console," Iwata explained.

"Of course, at some point in the future, when the installed base for 3D televisions is such that it's no longer a rarity for people to have one, then certainly, when that point in time comes, whichever console Nintendo would release at that point would most likely take advantage of 3D technology."

Iwata was also asked about Nintendo's digital distribution plans, and while his answer ostensibly related to 3DS it offered an insight into how the Japanese platform holder is approaching the online marketplace overall.

"Up until now," he said, "much of the digital distribution focus has been on more of a 'pull type' where the consumer goes out, gets the content and pulls it to themselves. With Nintendo 3DS, we're looking at a model that would be more focused around the 'push type', where we're able to push information or content out to the device."

That, Iwata explained, was what he was talking about when he revealed that 3DS would automagically download content when it was within range of other 3DS users or relevant access points.

"With a model like that, what it means is that because the consumer doesn't have to actively seek out the information themselves, it gives us a venue for creative new ideas of our company or of our developers to reach consumers much more easily.

"And ideally, if it is possible, we would like to try and find ways to customise that functionality as much as possible to meet our consumers' tastes.

"Unfortunately, we can't go into detail on that today because there's still a number of questions about the degree to which we'll be able to do that. But I would like to say that we are thinking seriously about strengthening digital distribution."

Nintendo 3DS is due out before the end of the company's financial year - something that Iwata also said in his analyst chat.

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