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Nintendo Businesses

Miyamoto 'Banned' From Talking About Hobbies 256

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the they-might-learn-our-secrets dept.
walshy007 writes "After Shigeru Miyamoto developed a love of puzzles, the "brain-training" software that has proved to be an international "killer application" on the Nintendo DS console was born. He became interested in taking more exercise, and Wii Fit was created. He took up music lessons, and Wii Music was the result. Now, according to sources at Nintendo, the games designer has been banned by the company from speaking publicly about his hobbies."
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Miyamoto 'Banned' From Talking About Hobbies

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  • Well then... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pak9rabid (1011935) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @09:10AM (#24582581)
    ..guess we'll just see how long Nintendo manages to keep him around with ridiculous policies like this in place..
    • by El_Muerte_TDS (592157) <elmuerte.drunksnipers@com> on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @09:11AM (#24582635) Homepage

      Depends on if they are working on a Wii BDSM game.

    • Re:Well then... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ByOhTek (1181381) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @09:15AM (#24582733) Journal

      Heh, really.

      Given the fairly common nature of these hobbies, it strikes me not the hobbies themselves that make the game popular, but rather his twist on putting them into a game.

      Seriously, how many people, honestly, could make games as popular as his, on these subject matters. The key factor is the creator, not the theme, I suspect.

      • Re:Well then... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by AvitarX (172628) <<gro.derdnuheniwydnarb> <ta> <em>> on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @09:46AM (#24583349) Journal

        But you don't want the imitators coming out before you.

        A crappy "We Like to Get Fit" Game coming out before Wii Fit could damage sales.

      • Re:Well then... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Belial6 (794905) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @11:58AM (#24585795)
        Exactly. WiiFit is not a new or innovative idea. It is an idea that was executed better than any previous version. In fact, if I was the suspicious type, I could call WiiFit a total ripoff. The XBox had Yourself!Fitness [teamxbox.com]. Only the most hard core of fanboys are going to be able to claim that WiiFit isn't the same kind of game as Yourself!Fitness. And the WiiFit controller is just a supped up version of the Amiga JoyBoard [tomheroes.com]. It was well reported that the JoyBoard [amigahistory.co.uk] had a meditation game, which is not far off from Yoga, and the skiing game IS Mogul Maniac [atariage.com]. Puzzle games are just not something new. I haven't tried we music, so I cannot comment on it, but it seems clear that there these cames are not innovative. They are just very well implemented.
    • Re:Well then... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by gsslay (807818) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @09:30AM (#24583043)

      It's amazing what people will put up with if they're paid enough. I image that Mr Miyamoto is very well paid by Nintendo, so much in fact that the outrageous imposition of not being able to discuss his hobbies with people is bearable.

      • Re:Well then... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by pak9rabid (1011935) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @09:40AM (#24583241)

        It's amazing what people will put up with if they're paid enough. I image that Mr Miyamoto is very well paid by Nintendo, so much in fact that the outrageous imposition of not being able to discuss his hobbies with people is bearable.

        From the sound of it, it sounds like he's been with Nintendo for awhile. Long enough to have accumulated enough money to where he very likely doesn't need the income from Nintendo anymore. There's a point in which after a person accumulates enough money, the promise of more money to throw on top of the heap really stops becoming a motivating factor and one starts looking at the other niceties of life instead. Niceties such as discussing interesting subject matters (aka hobbies) to others....not to mention I'm sure he wouldn't have a problem finding a job that pays well and gives him this freedom elsewhere.

        • Re:Well then... (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Cowpat (788193) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @09:57AM (#24583531) Journal

          or having access to most of the resources of Nintendo and a free hand to turn whatever his interest of the moment is into a game to force onto the rest of us as the next 'in thing'.

        • by HTH NE1 (675604)

          There's a point in which after a person accumulates enough money, the promise of more money to throw on top of the heap really stops becoming a motivating factor

          When the carrot stops working, you switch to the stick. As in, if you don't perform the work you're contracted for (or leak information about your hobbies that we're developing as games), we sue to reclaim a big chunk of your money heap.

          It's when you give so many carrots that the stick doesn't work anymore that you really have problems.

        • Re:Well then... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by twistedsymphony (956982) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @11:18AM (#24584983) Homepage
          I highly doubt that Miyamoto minds... I'm sure he understands that the ban is for the benefit of the company.

          I work for a Japanese owned company.. it's quite different from an American company. You don't just leave because of some stupid politics, the company wants you to respect your co-workers like an extension of your family. It's a long term relationship. The company doesn't treat you like a disposable commodity (lay offs and firings are extremely rare) and in return most of the employees respect the wishes of their employer and do things "for the good of the company" rather than just walking away for greener pastures.

          This is very much true of my own company which while in the US the Japanese corporate mentality is a big part of everything we do. Even though we're in aerospace manufacturing, with the horrible economy and every other company in our industrial park laying people off and going under, my company hasn't laid off or fired a single employee in my entire career here. the company is saving money buy dropping 3rd shift and moving those employees to 1st and 2nd, we're on a hiring freeze, we had a shut down (week of mandatory vacation), and hourly employees must reduce their over time.

          Yes some of that stuff sucks, but in the good times the company does us right so in the bad times people are willing to make some personal sacrifices knowing that it will help the company overall.

          While not a good times/bad time scenario Miyamoto is a very big part of the Nintendo family, he's not just some super star that is only interested in money... I wouldn't be half surprised if he was in agreement with the "no hobby discussion" rule or if it was even partly his idea.
        • Re:Well then... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by gsslay (807818) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @11:46AM (#24585539)

          There's a point in which after a person accumulates enough money, the promise of more money to throw on top of the heap really stops becoming a motivating factor and one starts looking at the other niceties of life instead.

          Very true. And I'd be willing to bet that if asked, Mr Miyamoto's would say his #1 hobby is "working for Nintendo". If he no longer needs the money then why is he there?

      • Re:Well then... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by jellomizer (103300) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @10:33AM (#24584201)

        Nintendo is not an American company. Mr. Miyamato is not an American. Why do you expect him to follow the values of American Culture. The Japanese tend to have more of a good of the company/community/family mind set while Americans have the what is good for me mind set. I am not saying one or the other is better or worse. In paradox to this article and thread the American Culture tends to be more creative and come up with new ideas (as they are trying to position themselves for promotion or noticed for the next big thing) while the Japanese are good at perfecting (for the good of the company product need to be perfect).
        YES THERE ARE EXCEPTIONS! when talking about a culture there are always exceptions as we group a group of millions of people into a box. However a cultural norm tend to strongly influence people thoughts and feelings.

        • by AP31R0N (723649)

          Mod 'em up!

          Also, so what if they "banned" him from discussing certain things? He can still talk about them all he wants, and lose his job. That's up to him. It's not like he'd go to jail or be killed for it. They aren't forbidding him, or limiting his choices/freedoms in any way. They changed the conditions of his employment. This isn't any different than you company handing a form saying "don't divulge company secrets", you can if you like, and the company will fire you. Social Contract: The indivi

          • by AP31R0N (723649)

            [Off Topic Question]
            Could someone 'splain to me why something i posted seconds ago already has a score of 2?

      • by bloodninja (1291306) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @10:48AM (#24584471)

        It's amazing what people will put up with if they're paid enough. I image that Mr Miyamoto is very well paid by Nintendo, so much in fact that the outrageous imposition of not being able to discuss his hobbies with people is bearable.

        So for now on, he will post as AC?

      • Re:Well then... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by LordKronos (470910) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @10:53AM (#24584567) Homepage

        Actually, he is paid (at his own insistence) a salary no higher than other developers. I've read it in numerous places over the years, but don't have a link handy.

      • by NotBornYesterday (1093817) * on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @01:12PM (#24587199) Journal
        If they had any damn sense, they would ask him to engage in misdirecting the competition. He could claim to be taking up knitting, or needlepoint, or horticulture. Maybe stamp collecting. Fine hobbies to those who are interested, but I wonder what the excitement factor would be to the game version. Let some crappy knock-off company sink their R&D into that!
    • Re:Well then... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by caramelcarrot (778148) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @09:41AM (#24583247)
      This smells of a PR stunt to say "look how awesome Miyamoto is! we have to stop him talking about trivial things or he'd give everything away! ha ha!"
    • Re:Well then... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by JoeMerchant (803320) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @10:22AM (#24583957)

      I suspect this all centers on delaying competition from co-launching similar products.

      It's common in all industries, the element of uniqueness adds value, and often that value is the difference between go / no-go for development.

      So, I imagine he can talk about his hobbies all he wants, as long as he doesn't mind killing any associated projects. It would be the same at any other (established, successful, ossified bureaucratic) company. He could try going to a small, inexperienced independent who would let him blab all he wants about things that aren't going to be available for 5 years, but I bet he's better off where he is.

    • by KUHurdler (584689)
      They're going about it the wrong way...

      I recommend that he comes with the hobby of curing cancer or feeding the hungry
    • by Gerzel (240421)

      Pretty long, after all wii gardening, wii painting, and wii jellowrestling are all in development.

      (er no not really is a joke.)

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by _KiTA_ (241027)

      ..guess we'll just see how long Nintendo manages to keep him around with ridiculous policies like this in place..

      How is this a ridiculous policy? The man takes his hobbies and interests and turns them into multi billion dollar franchises. And he has done this repeatedly!

      I'm sure there are no end of Sony and Microsoft reps that would gladly throw $TEXAS at him to get him to switch teams, and no doubt they're paying several people $OREGON to watch what he says in interviews to try and figure out what new innovative game he's going to come out with next before they do.

  • Latest game (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @09:10AM (#24582583)
    I guess wii Bukakke didn't quite catch on as well as the other Japanese classics did.
  • by diskofish (1037768) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @09:11AM (#24582629)
    What most people don't know is that he has a strange fetish for women dressed up in furry animal costumes. I wonder what the next game would be like?
  • I guess it'll be interesting, then, to see whether or not the "Wii Jack" makes it to retail...

  • So... (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @09:13AM (#24582679)

    So the next game will be about somebody who has been banned from talking by his corporate overlords.

  • by Bloke down the pub (861787) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @09:13AM (#24582687)
    The first rule about hobbies is, you don't talk about hobbies.
  • Me too (Score:4, Funny)

    by Telecommando (513768) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @09:13AM (#24582691)

    I'm barred from talking about my hobbies by my employer as well.

    Might have something to do with all the razor blades and dismembered animal parts.

  • by iamhigh (1252742) * on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @09:14AM (#24582721)
    218 words. 6 paragraphs, 3 of which are in TFS. No source. No links. Few details.

    I do agree, that is an interesting tidbit there, but it's an idle story at best. Fark material IMO.
    • Indeed. I'm left doubting the story's accuracy. It's on a website I never heard of that was slow as molasses when there were still 0 comments on this article.
    • Hey... you're the one that got duped into actually subscribing... you can't complain when you suddenly realize the editors never check the sources or spell check.

      ON another note.... quoting slashdot when I tried to post this as AC...

      Slashdot requires you to wait between each successful posting of a comment to allow everyone a fair chance at posting a comment.

      It's been 2 hours, 19 minutes since you last successfully posted a comment

      I have a routable IP... WTF?

    • by Vexorian (959249)
      I mean... the slashdot summary had as much information as the article!
  • Bizarre (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AKAImBatman (238306) <akaimbatman@gmai ... m minus language> on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @09:17AM (#24582761) Homepage Journal

    If knowing Miyamoto's hobbies is enough to scoop Nintendo, then why can't competitors even touch his track record?

    I think Nintendo is confusing ideas with implementations. Having ideas is great. Anyone can have ideas. In fact, they're a dime in quantities of tens of thousands. The problem is getting those ideas implemented. And without Miyamoto-san's insight into the implementation, I sincerely doubt competitors are going to be able to get ahead of Nintendo.

    This seems like a case where Miyamoto should ignore his employer and just do his own thing. Unfortunately, I think he's too nice to take a stand on this. He will probably go along with his employer's request. Thankfully, however, I imagine that this requirement will loosen and fall off with time.

    Which can only be good for fans. I can't speak for anyone else, but I have found the stories behind the development of Miis and Wii Fit to be fascinating. (And hilarious. [youtube.com] "You guys are useless!" :-P)

    • by Hoi Polloi (522990) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @09:24AM (#24582879) Journal

      Clearly Nintendo is looking to base their future games on his personal interests:

      "Super Eating Out Mario Bros"
      "Wacky Workout"
      "The Chronicles of Shopping"
      "Watching Reruns on TV Fiesta"
      "World of Internet Porn Surfing"

    • Re:Bizarre (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Speare (84249) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @09:45AM (#24583321) Homepage Journal

      I think Nintendo is confusing ideas with implementations. Having ideas is great. Anyone can have ideas. In fact, they're a dime in quantities of tens of thousands. The problem is getting those ideas implemented. And without Miyamoto-san's insight into the implementation, I sincerely doubt competitors are going to be able to get ahead of Nintendo.

      While I agree with you to a point, I would have to say that there are a lot of dollars at stake in being the trendsetter or the follower. Ideas are shopped around and cloned so blatantly in motion pictures, usually with much worse (cheaper) script and production values. Pixar: Finding Nemo / Dreamworks: Shark Tales. WarnerBros: Happy Feet / Sony: SurfsUp.

      I think there was a Miyamoto interview recently where he jokingly mentioned what he was dabbling with some new hobby, after specifically being asked about this trend of his. If Nintendo came out with game idea first, it might be interesting primarily through its novelty. If some other house copies the idea faster and cheaper, they will probably get the most money from it, even if Nintendo's longer production leads to a hell of a lot better game. If they appear to be a "me too" on one title, then it's not just that title that suffers, but people might associate Nintendo with "me too" and assume it will be a poor knockoff of someone else's idea, instead of the reverse.

    • by Yvanhoe (564877)
      Still, Nintendo's move has some sense. Imagine that one of their competitors released a crappy WiiFit-like before them. When WiiFit is finally released it will suffer from two prejudices :
      - fit games are crap
      - this is a blatant rip-off of company X
  • Wiit coming soon to a dining room near you!
  • by guruevi (827432) <evi AT smokingcube DOT be> on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @09:19AM (#24582811) Homepage

    I don't think a game based on Hobbits would do that well.

  • Puzzle Games (Score:5, Informative)

    by Enderandrew (866215) <enderandrew@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @09:29AM (#24583011) Homepage Journal

    No one ever thought of doing puzzle games before.

    And no ever thought of doing work-out games before (we actually own the XBox virtual personal trainer game that my wife used to work out with).

    And no one ever did music games before.

    And since when was Wii Music a big hit? I thought it hadn't even been released yet, and all the hype has been about Rock Band 2 and Guitar Hero: World Tour.

    • by jimicus (737525)

      Few of the ideas are original - but that's been the case in gaming since.... oooh, a very long time ago.

      Most of the ideas are remarkably well executed - now that is something rather rarer.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Enderandrew (866215)

        Exactly my point. Nintendo is worried about being scooped, and they shouldn't be. Nintendo and Apple are about style.

        The wiimote isn't the best motion sensitive controller I've ever used. I have an ancient flight-stick from a Comdex about 10 years back or so that I move in the air to control a plane in a filght-sim. The controls are marvelous, and it never caught on.

        The wiimote conversely isn't horribly accurate, doesn't feature enough buttons to offer the complexity I personally crave, and is very frus

    • I remember a PS2 work-out program that was quite popular with some of my wife's friends, not to mention Dance Dance Revolution and how many mats Konami sold before the Wii introduced the balance board.

      Many of these things are not new -- just don't tell that to the Wii fanatics :)

    • by Neoprofin (871029)
      If it makes you feel any better, (and this is obviously just my prediction, before some troll points out to me that this is obviously just my opinion) these games are all hype and in five years they wont even be a blip on the radar.

      Will WiiFit have the same cherished memories as using your hands on the NES track pad to achieve super human speed?

      Will BrainAge be remembered for its minigames beyond something like Mario Party (shudder) or even Wario Ware?

      Will Wii Music outshine any of the Guitar Hero,
      • I tried out a DS in a WalMart and didn't like the interface. I didn't like juggling back and forth between holding it with two hands to reach buttons and then going for the stylus. There didn't seem to be any good, comfortable way to hold the device. That being said, they sell like mad.

        My wife doesn't enjoy gaming on the PSP, but I imagine if I put a DS in her hand she'd love it. Retirement homes are going nuts over the Wii, where as I'm more interested in getting Fallout 3 and Force Unleashed on my PS3

  • I don't think Nintendo is worried so much about someone coming out with a better game. Their worries probably run more along the lines that a rival company will come out with a game first and either sue or just saturate the market with an inferior pre-knockoff.

  • I used to be a fan of Nintendo, but they seemed to totally screw everything up this generation. First they don't release enough games onto the Wii's Virtual Console, then they tell various third party publishers release dates then release non of the games they told them. Wiiware is much of the same, various publishers have said that they had no control on when the games they made would be released. And now this. Nintendo has become even more of a control freak then even in the NES era, and for no good reaso
  • Dogs and Gardening (Score:5, Interesting)

    by vitaflo (20507) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @09:56AM (#24583513) Homepage

    Don't forget playing with his dogs (Nintendogs) and gardening (actually where his idea for Pikmin came from).

    A lot of people know he does this, so many journalists like ask him what he's doing in his free time and then try to parse his words to figure out what future new games he may be working on. If they really are quelling that, I'm not very surprised, given how secretive the company likes to be.

  • If he doesn't obey? Fire him? Not likely. You don't kill the goose who lays the golden eggs without a better reason than that. It being Japan, he'll probably not even consider disobeying, though.
  • I'd venture that Nintendo just doesn't want others to try and do things first. I mean a lot of his previous hobbies and the way they translate into games aren't completely non-obvious; granted Miyamoto has great talent in that translation and what is really "fun" about them in a game, but if you follow that trend, someone's going to say "hey, how DO you make this into a game" and go from there. It's more of trying to prevent others from even getting the idea of "hey this _would_ make a cool game, wouldn't

  • if our hobbies can be classified as trade secrets...
  • I think we can infer from his resume what he enjoys in his off time:

    Popping mushrooms.
    Dressing up in short green skirts and cutting up bushes with a sword.
    Getting drunk and tossing empty kegs at frat boys.
    Pretending to ride shotgun with forest animals in space.
    Inhaling food with cheeks puffed.

  • there's an orwellian fascism game in the works.
  • ...that he's moving to Massachusetts and taking up amateur chemistry. [slashdot.org]

  • Strategy (Score:4, Funny)

    by CopaceticOpus (965603) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @12:36PM (#24586493)

    The next step is that Nintendo allows Miyamoto's hobbies to "accidentally" get leaked in order to get Microsoft and Sony to waste all their time.

    Word on the street is that he's taken up knitting, and he's started a rock garden. Run with that, Xbox dev team!

  • Manager: "Please don't talk about your hobbies publicly."
    Miyamoto: "OK"

    Co-worker: "What was that about?"
    Miyamoto: "They don't want me talking about my hobbies."

    Co-worker: "They won't let Miyamoto talk about his hobbies."

    [several layers of 'the telephone game' later]

    "Miyamoto banned from talking about hobbies."

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