By: Eddie Makuch
Nintendo president Satoru Iwata was asked by investors recently if he thinks traditional dedicated gaming platforms like the Wii U and 3DS will be replaced by other initiatives, like cloud gaming. He squarely said no, downplaying the role of cloud gaming in the industry’s future and saying dedicated gaming consoles will not die out anytime soon.
Iwata said there is always some latency involving cloud gaming. And while this may have little or no effect on some games, on other, more-interactive games, this latency could be a major drawback.
“For some highly interactive games, action games in particular, the time required to reflect the push of a button on the screen is critical and the frame rate determines the fluidity of the movements,” he said. “This means that there are some types of games that can be put on the Internet and others that cannot.”
“There are many things that cloud gaming cannot do by design, but this fact has not been communicated well to the public, and I find it strange that many people claim that cloud gaming is the future.”
Iwata added that the discussion should then shift to whether dedicated gaming platforms will die out and whether home console and portable gaming devices will one day be unified.
“Naturally, our stance is that dedicated gaming platforms will not die out and we are determined to create a future where they will not,” he said.
As for platform integration, Iwata echoed comments from last month, saying Nintendo has no plans to integrate its home console and portable devices into one. Instead, Iwata said Nintendo is focusing its efforts on unifying its development methods, operating systems, and built-in software for each platform so that each may be used across devices in a simplified manner.
“This means that if we manage to integrate our platforms successfully, we may in fact be able to make more platforms. At the moment, we only have our current handheld devices and home consoles because if we tried to make more platforms, our development resources would be spread too thinly,” he said. “The more we can share software across different platforms, the more development resources will be left for something else. Platform integration does not mean creating one type of platform, but the point is that the united method of software development will enable us to share our most precious software assets across different hardware.”
Nintendo may not see a bright future for cloud gaming, but that’s not the case for Sony. The PlayStation maker last year acquired cloud gaming company Gaikai for $380 million. Sony intends to use the acquisition to establish a new cloud service combining Gaikai’s resources with its own, though it is not clear if this endeavor is for the PlayStation 3, the long-rumored PlayStation 4, or something else entirely.
Iwata also addressed Near-Field Communication support for the Wii U, which has been materially absent thus far. He said Nintendo is in talks with “several developers” and hopes to show and discuss some of the progress made in this area by the end of the year.