Nintendo answers questions on VR, 5G and staying behind the trends

By Katy Kelly, SoraNews24

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

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Is the Nintendo Switch a viable VR platform?【Video】

-- Nintendo announces first-ever dedicated Nintendo shop in Japan, set to open in Tokyo

-- The reason why Nintendo’s Super Mario smartphone game won’t have in-app purchases is brilliant

© SoraNews24

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This strikes me as a series of rather empty answers. On the surface, it looks like Nintendo is doing something, but beneath the surface, the reality is that they're lagging behind. By taking a passive stance on new technologies, they're missing out on the opportunity to secure a solid foundation. They did well with portable gaming and motion-controlled gaming, but since then they've become too passive, and they risk losing out on key markets. Family-oriented entertainment is one of Nintendo's cornerstones, but it is not an especially profitable or extensive market. With obesity being a worldwide problem, along with many other health concerns, families are looking more towards getting their children active physically, and bonding that way, rather than through gaming. Things like sports clubs and martial arts practices are becoming increasingly more affordable in recent years, far more so than games consoles, so parents are shifting away from videogames and towards these activities instead.

At the very least, Nintendo needs to start edging into Online gaming on local networks, before it gets shut out of that market. It's already been effectively closed out of the MMO market, what with XBox, Playstation and PC holding strong positions there. These 3 platforms have also taken strong steps into VR, well ahead of Nintendo, and are setting themselves up to shut Nintendo out of that market as well. Nintendo needs to stop dragging its feet and get a move on, before it loses any more of its player base (which has been progressively shrinking since the Wii, though the Wii U really hurt Nintendo a lot).

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"staying behind the trends"

I had to laugh at this. Don't get me wrong Nintendo does a lot of good. But this isn't one of them. No or limited voice chat.... How is that a good thing. The examples are plentiful.

Nintendo will always do its own thing. And that's good. But "staying behind the trends" is becuase Nintendo makes games and consoles for Japan FIRST and Japan is "staying behind the trends". It's really that simple. PC gaming in Japan. Behind the test of the world. Even Capcom could not believe how well Monster Hunter Sold on PC. One of their first okay PC games. They were like... Oh maybe people play PC games out side of Japan. We didn't know that. Same goes for online chatting and such. Japan is in the minority. I used to play a lot gas and mp games online. Jump on a team of randos. No problem. I'm playing on Japanese servers... No Japanese people chattinf. No Japanese want to team up. It's just not very much into their gaming culture to jump on and chat especially with randos. The test of world, 90% of the gaming world, no probkem. So honestly I think it's just Nintendo not looking past their boarders to even realize what the trends are. Why was the Game Boy VR thing and a Wii U such a failure? The Wii Uwas 100% impossible to market outside of Japan. They never considered how sell something called a U with Miis and Wiis? Yeah... That might fly in Japan... But not in most languages. I bet if they had changed the name it would have sold 5x better.

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