Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Miyamoto Discusses Cross-Platform Development

As technology improves, the differences between home console and portable games become fewer. Miyamoto-san, Nintendo's resident creative genius, has discussed this matter and how it will shape Nintendo's future.

So, certainly if you look at the show floor, currently the games are designed for the systems they're running on. There are games that in a way take advantage of being on a higher-spec machine that plays on a TV and there are games that are designed to play better on a portable machine. But certainly we've gotten to an age where the technology has advanced and it's become more and more possible to have a similar experience running on a lower-spec system. And even within the Wii U itself we have the Virtual Console, which sort of is an exhibit of how you can have one type of play that is at a higher-spec level and another type of play at a lower-spec level as well. So certainly I think there is possibility in that area in the future.
So, this is a bit of a tangent, but five years ago I think the industry was at a point where many game developers felt that, if they weren't creating games for the highest-spec machine, then they weren't going to get work, that the business would go away.
But over the last five years we've seen that the range of devices that they develop for has expanded, so they're able to decide if they want to create something that is very high spec type of game or something that is for a lower-spec device. So I just think it's good to see the freedom of choice that developers now have.
What I can say is, certainly, within Nintendo the fact that our development environment for our home console is different from the development environment for our portable system is certainly an area of stress or challenge for the development teams. So as we move forward, we're going to look at what we can do to unify the two development environments.
So, particularly with digital downloads now and the idea that you're downloading the right to play a game, that opens up the ability to have multiple platform digital downloads where you can download on one and download on another. Certainly from a development standpoint there is some challenge to it, because if you have two devices that have different specs and you're being told to design in a way that the game runs on both devices, then that can be challenging for the developer—but if you have a more unified development environment and you're able to make one game that runs on both systems instead of having to make a game for each system, that's an area of opportunity for us.

Another direction Nintendo may (and should) go is to allow cross-buy on Virtual Console games. This would mean that NES or GBA games would be playable on Wii U and 3DS, even if you just buy them on one of those systems. It would be a fantastic feature that would likely attract more gamers to Nintendo systems. When asked about this, Miyamoto responded, "I'll think about it."

Personally, I think Miyamoto and other Nintendo execs have thought a lot about cross-buy, and are purposely not talking about it until the feature comes closer to fruition. I could be wrong, though.

Haha! Just kidding. I'm never wrong.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well, there was that one time... wait no, that was someone else ;) it would be cool to have games in both! No more needing to buy seperate points for each system, be able to play games at home and on the portable system. Sounds like a great idea! :)