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GameCube (Games) Portables (Games) Entertainment Games

Hiroshi Yamauchi On Nintendo's Future 65

Thanks to 1UP for its article covering a new interview with former Nintendo president Hiroshi Yamauchi, as he discusses the recently announced DS portable and the state of Nintendo as a whole. In particular, the article notes: "The DS represents a critical moment for Nintendo's success over the next two years, Yamauchi said -- 'if it succeeds, we rise to the heavens, if it fails, we sink into hell.' His hope, and Nintendo's mission, is to spread new gameplay through this device and re-energize the games market in both Japan and the rest of the world." Apparently, it was the 76-year-old Yamauchi "...who first proposed the concept of games employing a dual-screen device about 18 months ago", and elsewhere, Game Science has coverage of largely enthusiastic comments from Japanese developers on the DS, ranging from the positive ("It's exciting hardware for both makers and users) to the guarded ("A machine with two screens is going to be quite a high hurdle for developers to get over.")
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Hiroshi Yamauchi On Nintendo's Future

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  • by ReyTFox ( 676839 ) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @01:47AM (#8277674)
    Does it have two sets of controls or not?

    If it does, it has the smack-your-head obvious advantage of being a portable multiplayer device; with only one unit and one game, you can play with your friends.

    If not....well, I'm sure that people will come up with ways to use multi-screen in a single-player fashion.
  • Look, it's the DEVIL (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Rallion ( 711805 )
    As a longtime N fan, I have to say, this guy's an idiot. I haven't read the article yet, I'm just saying. This is the man who dismissed internet gaming as a fad, and who is possibly a significant part of the reason that GameCube lags so much in that respect. He also, supposedly, doesn't like kids. Luckily the people around him were always up to their eyeballs in genius. I'm glad he's gone.
    • by ziggles ( 246540 ) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @02:30AM (#8277870) Homepage
      Yeah.. what an idiot. Except for the part where, you know, the company was profitable for every year in the 50+ years he ran it. And since he has left Nintendo has seen their first non profitable quarter in god knows how long (possibly their entire existence?).
    • by realdpk ( 116490 ) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @03:47AM (#8278167) Homepage Journal
      Online console gaming represents a very small fraction of the market. Nintendo isn't missing out, they're waiting to see if it takes off, and to see which billing method works best.
    • by nathanh ( 1214 ) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @06:08AM (#8278602) Homepage
      This is the man who dismissed internet gaming as a fad,

      I only wish he was right. I don't know if I'm the only one, but I DETEST Internet gaming. All the online games are full of cheats and weenies and fu><0r j00 d00d morons. The servers are always full, or down, or slow, or whatever. But it's never a smooth experience. I'm constantly frustrated when trying to connect. Plus with half the online games charging a monthly service, it's simply too expensive for a casual gamer like me.

      I'd like to think I could just say "pfeh, I don't play them, but they don't bother me". But it's not true. Internet games are sucking up all the developer resources. Every second game has Internet connectivity. That's wasted effort on a feature I'll never use, but I still have to pay for.

      I do like LAN games. LAN parties are great. I also like party games (ie, 4 of you crowd around the same telly). But Internet gaming? No thanks. Been there. Done that. Wasn't interested in the t-shirt.

      • You have never played a good game. Xbox live servers are always up. I dont get any lag and Im on a crappy DSL line. Admittidly there are some idiots, none of the leet speak bastards thanks to voice chat. Internet games do not suck up resources, it's very simple these days to add some reusable code modules to get/send data to/from other players. And if the dev's dont know how to do that, then they haven't been programming very long
    • As a longtime N fan, I have to say, this guy's an idiot. I haven't read the article yet, I'm just saying.

      Awesome! This is the first time I've seen someone get +4 Interesting for blatantly admitting that they didn't RTFA.
    • When Nintendo dismisses internet play as unworkable in the near term, what most internet nerds don't get is that Nintendo was investigating networking on their hardware before they or sony knew what a fucking console was. The Bandai Satellite offered downloadable information, and RANDnet is a fully bidirectional connection. They've tried their hands at making subscription services worthwhile, and didn't see a way to make it work, even within the population dense Japan.

      If you compare the populace interested
      • Someone needs to mod the parent up: he's completely right, Nintendo's been doing this kind of thing for years. I mentioned Scheff's Game Over above and this and other books on Nintendo's history detail the things Yamauchi had Nintendo do via the Famicom, many of which seem like ideas game makers want to put into games today.
    • Oh yes, Yamauchi's an idiot. He only made Nintendo a multi-billion dollar GIANT. He only saw the potential of Shigeru Miyamoto, and hired him to work on Donkey Kong, and, well, the rest is history. Yes, Yamauchi is the one who personally saw potential in Miyamoto. That's why he hired him. Yamauchi has always had a knack for judging other people, and it's what made Nintendo the success that it is today. I mean, Yamauchi only led the company that revived the video game industry after t
      • Erm, he retired right around launch of GBA, actually, and had started to extricate himself from the daily management of the company wel before it. And I really wasn't talking about a long-time-ago, back when he hired Miyamoto, but I didn't specify that, and in fact indicated the opposite. I accept all the name-calling I deserve for that. But nobody can come up with anything great he did in the last several years of his presidency. Not that the company did all bad, but I certainly noticed that their success,
        • He resigned in september 2002: about 1.5 years ago.

          Don't give me the "If you knew what I knew, you'd understand." I know EXACTLY where you're coming from. And while I agree that Nintendo needed a new president, it was more due to the fact that Ninetndo needed to become AGGRESIVE, which it could not be under Yamauchi's leadership. Yamauchi did need to step down: but he was in no way, shape, or form, a fool, a failure, or ignorant. He's one of the most brilliant businessmen of our time, and
  • by Fiz Ocelot ( 642698 ) <baelzharon@gmaiF ... m minus language> on Saturday February 14, 2004 @02:14AM (#8277797)
    - The first time I saw it, I thought "?", then when reading the specs, that turned into "!"
    • by Apreche ( 239272 ) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @10:30AM (#8279294) Homepage Journal
      My guess is that the DS has some secret awesome thing going for it. What I'm thinking is this. Link cable gaming never really took off on the game boy because you needed two gameboys, two cartridges of the game and the cable. On the GBA it is starting to pick up because of the e-reader, the gamecube connecting, pokemon, and all the multiplayer games that need only one cartridge for 4 people instead of 2 for 2.

      My guess is that the ds will have cool single player games that utilize both screens in an intuitive and revolutionary way. However, I'm also guessing that the thing will split in half, physically, to become two pieces that communicate wirelessly with each other. With a single cartridge and a single system two people will be able to have never before considered portable gaming experiences. Imagine the possibilities. Battleship. Spy vs. Spy (remember!), Final Fantasy Tactics. Mario + Luigi! Zelda! Mario Tennis! Mario Party! Now if two dses can commuicate you can have 4 players 4 screens two systems two cartridges in the car on the go.

      The evidence I have? None, it's just a guess. But here's a qote from Iwata
      - ...we're thinking about new forms of play using wireless communication
      If they do what I'm thinking the DS will become king. Either that or I'm hoping they are such creative geniuses that I have not thought of their secret. I just hope they have something. I want Nintendo to stay around for a loooong time. When I have kids I need some games for them to play.
      • I believe the biggest thing going for it is the pure potential for new game concepts. I mean, when was the last time you played a game that was very new in design and concept? Something that you've never done before. So it would seem to me the new design is really there to drive new ideas in gaming. Who knows, it may even spark a revolution in pc gaming with 2 monitors? (although that's a stretch of imagination)
  • This guy's brilliance is only surpassed by his arrogance.

    One of his better quotes in the mid 90s was something along the lines of

    'I could shut this industry down by next week'

    Having said that, it was under his direction that led to the massive success of both the NES and the SNES. He became arrogant and somewhat senile during his later days at Nintendo.
  • Heaven or Hell? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by cabra771 ( 197990 )
    'if it succeeds, we rise to the heavens, if it fails, we sink into hell.'

    No shit. I wonder if he has a picture of the guy who headed the Virtual Boy's development sitting on his desk to remind him every day.

  • I've been a Nintendo supporter for a long time(not quite fanboy status yet) and some of the things they do and say just boggles my mind. They fail to realize that people actually do like to play games online. They also fail to realize that people are going to buy the latest and greatest system, so the Big N can't just close their eyes to the fact that better and better hardware will sell.
    • Re:Online (Score:5, Insightful)

      by 10101001 10101001 ( 732688 ) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @04:41AM (#8278391) Journal
      >They fail to realize that people actually do like to play games online.

      What he says is the current subscription model won't fly. With that, I have to very much agree. Games like Quake are played a hell of a lot more than any XBox online games. Not requiring to pay money monthly, hassle with connecting with a fixed service, etc is one reason why p2p instead of master/server subscription models work out better. And as it stands most cheats are blocked pretty well on PCs even without some voodoo hardware encryption scheme.

      I guess if you've not already got a PC, aren't willing to hassle with installing a PC game, and aren't willing to deal with finding a "good" server, then a subscription service is right for you, but all the above seem to fit the hardcore gamer which I would think are the core audience to buy into a subscription service. And if you did have a choice, wouldn't you play as much or more on a game system if you could play online for free instead (assuming, of course, that the game you wanted was on the system)?

      > They also fail to realize that people are going to buy the latest and greatest system, so the Big N can't just close their eyes to the fact that better and better hardware will sell.

      They didn't say they weren't going to have the best hardware in their next console or DS. But, look at the GBA. It's job is to be a portable. That means not sucking up batteries like candy which also means not having massive processor speed. So, while the GBA doesn't have the fastest CPU, it is arguably the best portable. I'm under the impression that instead of wasting money trying to manufacturer the fastest system, Nintendo is trying to work *smart* with the hardware to maximize the fun in the game. Eye candy does not a fun game make.

      Nintendo has, after all, been providing all sorts of 2D sprite hardware that make game production easier. I don't know enough about their 3D hardware to state the same, but I'd assume it's true there too. I can only begin to imagine where Nintendo will lead next, since I think the fundamental rendering for current consoles is at near peak (ie, we're into the Quake2/Quake3 rendering realm of realism). Given that, I don't thinking throwing processing power at the problem is where to begin.
  • by metroid composite ( 710698 ) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @03:51AM (#8278188) Homepage Journal
    Yamauchi said -- 'if it succeeds, we rise to the heavens, if it fails, we sink into hell.'

    I don't buy that at all (though I tend not to believe Yamauchi). I saw an insightful post on slashdot a while back which suggested that this was designed to cut into PSP market share only []. That, and it's not designed to replace the GBA, and it won't because it's more expensive and has a smaller library. Nintendo can still do fine off the GBA/GC whether or not the DS takes off.

  • Mother Brain (Score:5, Informative)

    by dancingmad ( 128588 ) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @03:57AM (#8278215)
    A couple of people have said that Yamauchi and/or Nintendo's desicions boggle the mind - the fact is they should (and perhaps shouldn't; the man's had a history of being crazy like a fox - anyone remember him talking smack about the Sony president?). Yamauchi isn't known as Mother Brain for nothing - he is a bizarre combination of loud mouth crank and brilliant businessman. He took a hanafuda company into the player in the a high tech industry.

    Though he's (thankfully) retired, I'm sure he's pulling strings behind the scens

    A GREAT look into Yamauchi and Nintendo's corporate culture is David Scheff's Game Over [], which has a lot of in-depth history on Nintendo as a company.
  • by M3wThr33 ( 310489 ) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @04:05AM (#8278251) Homepage
    The DS is in it's own class.
    The GBA's successor (With at least a 320x240 screen) is going to compete the with PSP, not the DS.
  • by Singletoned ( 619322 ) <> on Saturday February 14, 2004 @09:21AM (#8279056) Homepage
    I'm quite intrigued about the possibilities for the DS. I can quite see that a couple of killer apps will come out on it, and if so I will definitely buy one.

    I can see a game like Splinter Cell, where you could put a camera in a hallway and watch it on one screen, whilst performing a task on the other screen.

    Or threaded roleplay games, where two sides of the story are playing out, one on each screen. You alternately play a part in each story, and watch the repurcussions of your actions on the other thread of the story.

    As usual, Nintendo are actually trying to do something interesting rather just produce the 'best' console.
  • by Omroth ( 673505 )
    I'd just like to say that I'm massively excited about the DS, and completely support Nintendo trying to actually revolutionise gaming.
  • by GaimeGuy ( 679917 ) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @11:34PM (#8283696) Journal
    Actually, he said that Nintendo would be crushed if the DS failed, not that Nintendo would fall to hell. (The heaven part is correct, though, so it sounds much better in English to use a heaven/hell comparison, which is why that's how the quote is given in some translations).
    I highly doubt that Nintendo is banking all of it's billions of dollars on the DS. What I'm pretty sure Yamauchi meant when he said that was that if the DS is a success, Nintendo will have finally openned up a new realm for gaming, a new dimension to be exploited for years to come. If it fails, Nintendo will be heartbroken, because it will show that innovation no longer sells: that franchise sequels with technological pizazz are the meat of the gaming industry, that all gamers will ever want are the same old, same old. If the DS fails, then innovation fails. The industry is already practically at a technological peak. If the DS can't shake things up, then the industry will become stale, flooded with Final Fantasy XXXXXs and Madden 2080s that will be the only games that sell.
    I believe in Yamauchi, I believe in Nintendo. And by god, if the DS fails, then I, like Yamauchi, like Miyamoto, like Nintendo, will be heartbroken. The industry needs to be taken in a new direction: the DS needs to shake it up.

Don't get suckered in by the comments -- they can be terribly misleading. Debug only code. -- Dave Storer