Iwata calls a four year console cycle ‘too inflexible’

As usual, Nintendo like to do things differently. In a recent Q3 financial results conference, Iwata expressed that the company did not feel the four year lifespan was fitting for the Wii, among other topics. Here’s a bit more in detail:

“I’m quite doubtful that such a notion of platform cycles can be applied in the future…As we continue our research and study for new hardware, when we will be able to launch a new kind of hardware will actually depend on when we can change entertainment completely, and so have a strong impact on people around the world. Or, there will certainly be a time when we have to say that we have done everything possible with the current machine, that we can never propose anything new.

“Lately, I cannot say I’m making video games on the frontline of development, but as a person who used to develop software, the availability of new hardware means that we possess a new weapon,” he continued. “We long for a new weapon whenever we cry that we cannot fight anymore with the current weapons. But today’s situation is such that we are not desperate for any new weapons at all.

“Whenever we are working on so-called next generation hardware, we are always thinking in terms of the future. We need to forecast what the future will be like with the expected evolution of new technologies which are available at any given time, and try to identify the so-called “sweet spot” of technology over the next few years.”

These comments are interesting for many reasons. Nintendo is clearly not focused on the cutting edge of technology, hence the Wii’s comparitive strength to competing consoles. Sales have reflected that Nintendo is the console leader at the moment, yet most people tell you that they haven’t touched their Wiis in months. The facts don’t seem to add up here.  

Clearly Nintendo can make numbers clap if they so desire, but I have to say I have no idea what the next step would be for them. If it isn’t about technology as it’s expressed by the competing consoles, and it isn’t about innovations such as the Wiimote, what is it? The PlayStation 2 certainly had a long lifespan, with some gamers claiming they still play it more than they do their next gen consoles. I’d be interested to see where Nintendo’s going to take it next to do the same for the Wii.

[Via 1Up, Thanks Justin] 

Colette Bennett