One of the more popular aspects of the game is when two Nintendogs players have their dogs wirelessly
interact with each other. Where do you think wireless gaming might go from here? What else do you think wireless gaming
can do that hasn't been done yet?
Nintendo is a company that isn't just about wireless, we're a company that's focused very heavily on linking players
and bringing them together. And it's something that's been a challenge for us. We've put a lot of effort into it and we
feel we've got a very rich experience in that area. We've had ideas about coincidental linking with other players, and
obviously, with the Game Boy Advance sometimes even up to eight.
But with the DS what we wanted was to have a system that had that linking capability inherent in the
system and built into it, so that you didn't have to have use cables. And as we began working on the DS, we also wanted
to add in these ideas of coincidental linking, so that while you have the DS or while you're playing, it will link up
with other DSes, perhaps without you knowing. And so we've been building on those ideas since then.
With the DS we'd really like the idea of this linking coincidentally to be something that's unintentional, that happens
when you don't even realize it. We thought that there would be a lot of fun inherent in that process. There's another
aspect to owning a dog, and so we wanted to include into the game the fact that when you have a dog and you take your
dog out for a walk, people that normally would just pass by on the street if you didn't have a dog will suddenly talk
to you because the dog becomes a kind of gateway between you and that other person. And so just by owning a dog and
taking a dog for a walk, it expands your communication possibilities. We wanted to implement that in Nintendogs, and
obviously we have the idea of people taking their dogs for a walk as part of the game play, anyway, and we wanted to
use that and again combine that with a way in the future to kind of create this communication aspect to the game, where
it essentially allows you to interact with other people. In Japan we've had ideas about using the DS to exchange
business cards and those types of things, and we felt that this was a similar type idea that was very easily
Then, of course, we have the Nintendo WiFi connection that we'll be launching this fall with the DS. And so I think
combined between the local wireless and the Nintendo WiFi connection, we're going to see a lot of different types of
game play emerging and evolving from what we've seen in the past.
Nintendogs seems to be part of a relatively new genre of gaming. Obviously, there are some antecedents like
Tamagotchi and other virtual pet games, but where do you see the this new genre going? What kinds of new ideas might we
see building off of Nintendogs?
Are you asking about the Nintendogs franchise specifically?
No, in general.
Actually, the one thing that we took great care in when creating Nintendogs is that we wanted to make it a game that
gamers would find fun and enjoyable. But at the same time, we needed to make sure that it would be the type of game
that people who don't play games—who see the type of strategy, the level of detail and the difficulty in games and get
turned off by that—we needed to make sure that those people would not be turned off by Nintendogs. We didn't want it to
be the type of game where it has different levels and maps, and you have to and work your way through that.
Really, we wanted it to be the type of game where you could tell just by picking it up and touching it and just getting
your hands on it that it is going to be a fun experience in and of itself. And it doesn't need to be the type of game
where you are clearing levels or not clearing levels. And I think what that means is that this model that we've seen in
gaming so far, where you have a laid-out strategy, you have a map that you go through in a game and you have a clear
objective, that this not necessarily the only type of game that's out there. We're going to see new types of games
emerging with different types of interfaces. We're not going to have to rely so much on simply taking advantage of new
technology to bump up the AI and that sort of thing. We're really going to start to see more unique types of game play
that are going to appeal to a very broad audience. You know that Nintendo's model is to attract gamers from ages 5 to
95. So I think that it allows us to kind of break out of the framework that we've seen in gaming so far and explore it
with new types of ideas.
That actually leads me into my next question about the Revolution, specifically about the new controller which
was unveiled recently. How much of a risk do you think Nintendo is taking with this new controller design? Do you think
that the gaming public — as well as the wider public that you might be trying to attract, to branch out to — do you
think that they're ready for this new approach to gaming?
To be honest, I'm just truly confident in our plan. Obviously, we've been talking a
lot about the new interface, the new functionality of the Revolution controller and the new types of game play it's
going to offer, but although we've mentioned it, we haven't really talked too much about how it does have an expansion
slot on the bottom of the controller. And what that expansion slot allows for are controller expansions.
From our perspective the Revolution controller is the new controller, everything else is now the classic controller.
And with this expansion, you'll be able to have a classic controller that expands the functionality of the core unit.
And to be honest, we've already—
It'll have that more traditional form factor?
Exactly. We've got something that would be very similar in style and form to the Wave Bird already complete. What that
allows us to do is that we have all of these new features. We have the new functionality of the Wave Bird controller
and we have new ways that players will be able to interact with games. But at the same time, we've retained all the
functionality of the classic-style controller, so that people who are familiar with games and familiar with that style
of game play are going to be able to have the types of experiences that they're expecting, on top of all of these new
experiences that they've never imagined before. And so in that sense, to be honest, I think it's a spectacular plan and
we're very confident. Obviously we've doing a lot of experiments with interfaces over the years and we think that that
experience has really taken us in a direction that's going to be very successful for us.
All that's left for us is to take a look at the software to support the controller. Personally, I feel that
first-person shooters are really well-suited for this controller. I've worked on them in the past in the Metroid Prime
Series. And to be honest, I felt that first-person shooter controls on a classic controller were kind of clunky. They
didn't feel very—they didn't feel very right. Whereas with this controller, with the nunchuck-style of controller it's
extremely natural and extremely intuitive. First-person shooters are a genre that are very popular in the United
States, and I think that when gamers get their hands on this controller and start playing first-person shooters with it
they're going to find it's probably the best way to play that kind of game.
Do you think that most of the games that will be available on launch will actually take full advantage of the
new controller? Or do you think it's something that will have to evolve over time?
Well, as we've seen with the Nintendo DS it's taken us about six months for games like Nintendogs and the Brain
Training games we've introduced in Japan to came out, and these are software that can only be achieved on a Nintendo
DS. So in that sense, it took us a little while to get full functionality out of the DS. But for the Revolution launch
we're trying to have software that takes as much advantage of the Revolution controller as possible. The one advantage
we have in this area is that the Revolution development can actually be done on the Game Cube development environment.
So the development kits are going to have a very similar structure to the Game Cube development kits, which makes it
very easy for people who have started projects on the Game Cube development kits to just switch over the interface and
continue working and have those games ready for the Revolution. We're thinking that we're going to be able to have a
pretty strong launch.
I wanted to ask another question about wireless gaming. Nintendo made a strong push into wireless gaming
with the DS, but a lot of people seem to think that the cellphone is going to evolve into a larger platform for mobile
gaming. How does the cellphone fit into Nintendo's future? Would you ever collaborate with a cellphone company on a
gaming cellphone, sort of like how Motorola and Apple collaborated on an iTunes phone?
Well actually in the past Nintendo did release a cable in Japan that connected the Game Boy color to cell phones. But
in terms of actually using cell phones themselves as gaming systems for Nintendo games, I think that number one you
have to overcome battery life problems. I think that's a big issue. And number two: there are issues with just plain
old difficulty of use. Cellphones really are designed to be used to dial numbers and used as a telephone, and trying to
convert that into a gaming system can be very difficult. And so I think on those fronts, it may be some time before
Nintendo were ever to go in that direction.
But having said that, I would like to show you the Game Boy Micro, which is a cell phone-size game machine.
[Miyamoto pulls a Game Boy Micro out of his pocket.] This is the
Play-Yan device that they released in Japan which
plays music and movies.
A lot of people have been importing these over here.
This could actually be, I think, the smallest and best looking movie player that you can buy. I think that we're going
to gradually see more and more of this idea of convergence, where multi-functionality is incorporated into a simple
device. But at the same time, as an entertainment company, you still need to have a device that is very simple and easy
to use, so that you can reach as many people as possible. But kind of like how Windows has gradually become an easier
to use system with more and more features, I think we may see a similar trend.
Do you think that the Revolution will go on sale before the PlayStation 3?
Nintendo PR representative: We're really not disclosing all the Revolution details right now. I know
everybody's anxious to hear about it.
Fair enough, but speaking of your competition, what do you think is Nintendo's specific advantage over
Microsoft and Sony? What makes Nintendo different from those companies? You have a longer history in gaming, but
besides franchises like Mario and Zelda and things like that, what else makes the company really different from those
Well, I think that Sony and Microsoft have studied Nintendo's business model. They've looked at the current genres of
games and the types of games that have been launched in the past, and they've found a way to take advantage of
technology and push those games further, using technology. And I think that both of those companies are very strong in
that role. I think the difference is that Nintendo, itself, is an entertainment company. And for many years, we've been
looking for ways to take ideas that can entertain people and turning those ideas into entertainment products. I think
we're very strong in that area and I think we'll continue to be strong in that area. And I also think that because
we're a company that is selling not only the hardware, but also the software, that we're putting those two pieces
together as a product. That's another strength of ours, the fact that we have software development teams that work in
conjunction with hardware development teams. And it's a tremendous strength that we have, one that I don't think some
of the other companies have.
Some long-time Nintendo fans complain that Mario is turning up in too many different games and too many
different genres. Do you think that there's a risk that he's being relied on too much or that maybe his impact is being
diluted by being in so many different types of games?
At this point in time my team is still the team that's solely responsible for all Mario
platform games. We created Mario platform games and we're going to be the team that continues to do that. For the true
Mario games, that is, the true Mario platform games, we're still at a point where you can expect a high-quality true
Mario platform game once every few years; we're not just going to continue to turn those out.
As far as the Mario character games go, I really feel that Mario is a brand for Nintendo. And what Mario is, is a
character that allows both gamers and non-gamers to relate to video games. He brings people in. He makes them feel
comfortable. And in that sense, I think he's very good. He can introduce a lot of people to video games because he's a
character that people know. And when they see him in a game, they may be more willing to pick up that game and maybe
experience a new genre. And in that sense, I think that it's not weakening the brand whatsoever.
Another challenge was, of course, with the shift to 3-D. And in the original shift to 3-D, there was obviously
challenges in trying to create quality a 3-D Mario and quality 3-D Mario games, and quality models, as well. And so
what we've done now is we've put together these baseline models that are used across all the games. And so that also
has become a strength is that, we have a standard character group with the Nintendo that is responsible for managing
the use of the Mario models, and so they're able to provide the models to different developers who are using Mario in
their game. And so there's actually, I think, a strength, because you've got a consistent model that's apparent in the
game consistent character appearance. And I think that's been a good strength for us, too.
I know we're running out of time, but I've been dying to ask you about this. Around the time of E3 there was
a fan-made video circulating of what was supposedly an unannounced new helmet-based Nintendo virtual reality video game
system called Nintendo ON. What did you think of it, if you've seen it?
I guess I'll have to take a look at that video!
You've never seen it?
There are plenty of people who insist that the video is actually a real Nintendo product and we, along with a lot of
other people, have had to spend a lot of time debunking it. Why do you think that so many Nintendo fans might be so
willing to believe that it was real? It seems like it really struck a chord with a lot of people.
Obviously, Nintendo's has done research on that type of thing in the past, so who knows. Maybe it's possible that
something like that may come out of Nintendo one day.