Gaming is undergoing some big changes right now, in the era of digital downloads, virtual reality and even streaming consoles. While there’s something of a heated race going on between gaming titans Sony and Microsoft to stake a claim on the biggest slice of the online multiplayer pie, one competitor has been conspicuously absent: family-orientated console company Nintendo.
As such, the 79th annual meeting of stockholders held recently was the perfect place to quiz president of the company Shuntaro Furukawa and representative director Shigeru Miyamoto on their plans for online and virtual reality going forward. One of the questions posed to the Nintendo leaders was:
“So far we have been given the impression that Nintendo is a little ‘behind the curve’ compared to other global companies, with regards to mobile gaming and games that utilize virtual reality. Major gaming companies are branching into the realms of cloud services and streaming for their games, and the sponsorship deals that coincide with those spheres are a hot topic. What are Nintendo’s views on these emerging trends, and how does the company plan to respond?
Also, please let us know how the company intends to respond to the worldwide transmission speed upgrading from 4G to 5G.”
Furukawa was first to reply: “We at Nintendo do not believe that all games will become cloudware. However that technology is rapidly improving, and so we are considering using it to deliver content to our customers in the future as it advances. We also believe that it is vital to adapt to changes in the technological climate.
“On the other hand, in the case that these technological advances increase the gaming population, our priority is entertainment that only we can deliver through our production of consoles and integrated software. I think that presents its own opportunity to provide entertainment to our users around the world.”
Shigeru Miyamoto, well-known creator of numerous Nintendo IPs, responded with even more candor: “While we entered virtual reality and online gaming later, it isn’t a matter of us being ‘behind’. We have actually been conducting practical research on these technologies from the very beginning. During that time, we have been thoroughly checking whether users can use the technology with ease, and whether or not we can provide such services at an affordable cost.
“The Nintendo Labo Toy-Con04: VR Kit recently went on sale, and I believe this product is a great and easy way for users to engage with virtual reality. As the Nintendo user base is composed of a wide range of ages, including the very young, we work to develop and release products that we think everyone can enjoy.
"I think games hosted by cloud services will become more and more numerous, but I also believe a place will definitely remain in the industry for fun games played locally on a home console. We think it is important to keep using a variety of diverse formats to produce games with that unique Nintendo charm. Households are much more likely now to own some manner of gaming device than in previous generations. Look at Super Mario Run, which alone was downloaded over 300 million times. That success proves how big the market is, and how large the opportunities for us have become, and so we hope to pursue those opportunities by creating works in our own unique way.”
But what about the future promise of 5G? That question was answered by Ko Shiota, a senior executive at Nintendo.
“We recognize that 5G is capable of transmitting vast amounts of data at once, and understand it is a popular topic in the industry at present. Nintendo is performing its own studies into the technology at this time.
“It must be said, however, that Nintendo is not in the habit of following trends just because they are popular. We prefer to consider what experiences said technology can give to our players, how to use it in our games and the results of implementing it. We always keep that in mind with any game or service we plan to offer. Of course, with 5G, price is also a concern – no matter how excellent the technology, it will prove difficult to incorporate in our products if the cost runs too high.”
Nintendo has a record for working hard to please its user base and their company’s transparency has built up significant goodwill with players, so it will be interesting to see how that reputation affects or assists them in the turbulent tides of modern technology.
Source: Nintendo’s 79th Annual Meeting of Stockholders Summary via My Game News Flash
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