Miyamoto talks to Time about smartphone competition and how gaming has changed
Shigeru Miyamoto is a busy little beaver, isn't he? First a chat with GameSpot, and now a two-part interview with Time? Where does he find the energy? That's why I'm convinced that the man will outlive us all.
I'm honestly a little disappointed with the youthful Nintendo elf's Time conversation, as it is nowhere near as candid or as enlightening as his GameSpot session. Nonetheless, it's always a treat to be able to peek into that wonderland of a brain.
He addresses the Wii U's slow OS performance: "We had multiple different teams working on multiple different segments of the hardware and its features simultaneously. Certainly we'd had experience with that type of development designing the 3DS, but with Wii U the scope of the project was far beyond our development of the 3DS hardware. And with many of those features, you don’t get a true sense for how they interact or where the advantages and disadvantages lie within the broader framework until you're able to bring all the components together into a single unified system." Once the big April update arrives, however, Miyamoto expects everyone will have a far more convenient experience.
He sort of dodges the question regarding pressure from smartphones and tablets, instead reiterating that people just need time to get accustomed to the GamePad. In fact, the only other big hurdle he sees is storage space: "[S]ince we've designed the system in a way that allows people to simply add the amount of storage media they need to supplement Wii U, we think it essentially gives people the greatest flexibility within a single device to really make the most of their entertainment in the living room." A very weak response to be sure, as it assumes that consumers at large will definitely warm up to the whole system sooner rather than later, if at all.
Miyamoto represents Nintendo, so it's obvious that he would act very optimistic about the Wii U's long-term prospects. Nintendo admitted to being slow to understand the console's higher-spec infrastructure compared to that of the Wii, which in turn "drew on some of the same resources that might have been spent developing games," hence the less than optimal launch. Still, he sounds genuinely confident about the company's ability to provide consumers and developers a stable environment in due time.
The interview winds down with a reflection upon how the gaming landscape changed or stayed the same over the past 30 years: "[I]n the past, people would get their information about how to play the game over the phone from help lines or from strategy guides. They had very limited access to sources of information about how to play a game or what they could do in a game. Now what we see is that there are a wide variety of ways to encounter that sort of information, and so the breadth of communication itself becomes an element that can be a part of the gameplay as well." As we are already aware, the Wii U capitalizes on this through services like Miiverse or browsing the Internet on the GamePad while a game runs in the background.
Despite all of Nintendo's ups and downs, Miyamoto is amazed at far gaming as a whole has come, especially in how technology drives this space harder than any other consumer electronics sector. Amidst studio closures and all other kinds of bad news we've been hearing lately, the thought gaming still has so much potential should ease some of those worries.