Et tu, hedgehog?

Sonic and Mario may be friendly enough to co-star in the Olympics, but there are some dissenters in the upper ranks of Sega who think Nintendo's console reign will soon end.

"I am a little concerned about the creative depth of the Wii pool. I'm not sure if they will top out in 2008 or 2007," said Scott Steinberg, VP of marketing for the U.S. unit of Sega Sammy Holdings Inc., in an interview with Reuters. "The Wii will start to look really dated in a couple years when developers get more value from the 360 and learn more and more about the PlayStation 3."

Steinberg seems to be equating creativity to graphical horsepower, a notion that runs counterintuitive to Nintendo's party line. "How much value can developers and creative folks get out of this wrist motion two years from now, or 5 years from now, or 10 years from now? ... How can they design products that aren't too derivative of what's already out there?" he said. Those are strong words, though we aren't sure what parallel dimension he lives in where the PS3 and Xbox 360 are immune to a multitude of derivative titles, themselves.

To be sure, Steinberg does not oversee any of the development and production decisions -- he's a marketing guy. However, with Nintendo currently riding high on sales charts and a once-unimaginable friendship existing between the two companies, is Steinberg being short-sighted or prophetic?

[Update: Responding to some of the negative reaction to his comments, Scott Steinberg has shared additional remarks with Reuters Blogs. His new comments can be viewed after the break.]

Says Steinberg: "SEGA has fully supported the Wii since day one and we continue to do so – it's no secret that we are close partners. Nintendo has done a masterful job of selling its vision and expanding the market. That said, it's a shared responsibility and opportunity for the whole industry to take advantage of the possibilities of the Wii. If we don't realize its true potential, we will have missed a great opportunity to expand creatively and that is what I was cautioning against in the Reuters interview. I'm not just putting the responsibility of innovation on Nintendo. It's on SEGA and all the publishers and developers as well to carry that flag."

This article was originally published on Joystiq.

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