Miyamoto talks all things Nintendo
Wii U being more then just graphics.
Regarding the size of the development teams, after releasing various titles this year, I think that we will be able to explain about the teams that are developing the software, but we have already started working with a number of other companies. Talking about game development in general, if we develop video games based upon similar concepts and scale as before and release it for multiple hardware systems, the time each developer has to spend to do similar work again and again increases, which is not so interesting for the developers. Talking about the Wii U, it is going to be compatible with high-definition TV sets, which are now widespread and, with the graphics capabilities catching up to the general trend, some people consider it to be the “next-generation Wii.” On the other hand, as far as graphics capabilities are concerned, there are already other hardware systems with similar functions. Therefore, we have designed the Wii U to be recognized as being different from any other hardware system. Although I cannot elaborate on its network functions today, as we are preparing for the launch of the Wii U, we are taking into consideration its network-related capabilities.
In short, the bottom line is the number of new things which are possible only on Wii U we can create, and our basic policy is to nurture the younger people who can think about the ways to create such things. We are making efforts so that when we release applicable software in the future, you will be pleasantly surprised and you might say, “Oh, this is what you were trying to achieve!” or “These are the titles you were preparing.” – Shigeru Miyamoto
Miyamoto on talking new projects.
I’m afraid that I am being chosen to answer all of the difficult questions today. As for your question regarding allocation of my energy, the ideal situation is one in which I do not need to give any direction. If we look at such a situation from one perspective, my giving directions may hold back my subordinates’ independent and voluntary growth. Accordingly, sometimes I intentionally give them freedom. Of course, I do not let everyone go totally unchecked. I supervise whenever necessary. The basic idea is, I’m reminding myself to exercise patience (so that I will not state my opinion nor get myself involved in their work.) I end up using less of my energy and, as a result, I am starting to have time that I can spend for myself. When I recently chatted about some general things, including how I am taking advantage of the extra time that I have now, some misleading reports were made. Now, I am spending more time than before on finding new ideas for new developments rather than focusing my energy on work in my (development) teams in order to solidify the contents of (existing) franchise titles. After all, developing big hit titles must be the solution. I am acting with the understanding that one big hit title can change multiple phases of a situation in the entertainment business, and I feel that finding such one big hit is my basic job. If you ask me, “So, how is it progressing?,” well, I think this is common in any organization, but when we look at the team within which we work, the organizational structure has been set up so that it works with the premise that each individual’s role is there. In other words, it is difficult to find my alternative within this existing structure. Accordingly, for that specific purpose, we are trying to create a new structure. As a result, I feel confident that we are gradually making improvements, and we have already come to the stage where quality software titles with a high completion level have been developed without my active involvement.
On a related note, people often say that you can make excellent products when you gather excellent people. However, when they are fresh out of college, nobody really stands out. Of course, some graduates received very high scores at school, and some did not. Ten years after entering a company, however, rather than how they scored at school, what kind of work they do in which phase makes the difference in their ability, I believe. So the question is, “10 years after joining Nintendo, is the company able to take advantage of each individual’s ability?” Also, while a particular team’s overall performance may not be highly appreciated, I feel that there are a number of members within that team whose abilities are excellent. So, we are internally attempting such new things as organizing in-house seminars or gathering people who have not worked together before and letting them work on one mission. I do not know about the level of people who joined the company many years ago with me, but as far as employees who joined the company in the last 20 years or so are concerned, their basic abilities are pretty high. Today, I feel that I can trust them.
Discusses Nintendo approach to online.
A big question from the beginning. Speaking as a developer, giving no comment is the typical answer. But let me try to tell you something. Nintendo has been making its best efforts to raise the Internet-connection ratio for years. In addition to our efforts, network connections have rapidly become widespread, like cell phones which are always connected to the network. The connection ratio for the Nintendo 3DS (as Mr. Iwata explained in his presentation today) has reached approximately 60%(*), and we feel that the network environment has improved significantly. We also put importance on safety and reliability of the network because many people use it. We have concentrated on developing packaged software, but there are some who like the excitement of being together with a lot of people online. Electronic mail and chat are typical examples. Although you might not know it well, “Flipnote” has become a hidden hit among our products. Millions of children who do not communicate on the Internet use this software. We are taking on various challenges including how to operate the system of note exchanges by children freely in a safe manner. In short, we trust the great potential of the network, but we are still in pursuit of originality through trial and error. – Shigeru Miyamoto