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GN Podcast #466

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Iwata on third parties getting the most out of Wii and Wii U, how to cultivate new devs

Please let me confirm that your question is about bringing up video game creators in the entire industry, not just young people in Nintendo. (After he confirms the questioner’s approval): For the Wii, as you mentioned, it has been certainly pointed out that software developed inside Nintendo uses the hardware’s functions better than that developed by third parties. As there are third-party games using them in a very good manner, it would be rude of us to claim that this is the general trend. Creators have their home ground: Some are good at coming up with ways to play using a new structure and others are experts at creating games with breathtaking visuals or heavy storylines. It might have been that the latter didn’t go so well with the pros and cons of the features of the Wii.

On the other hand, we don’t think Nintendo alone is able to develop every type of software to satisfy all consumers. Therefore, we have been working to improve the development environment to let as many creators design games that take advantage of the features of a certain hardware as possible. One is to establish a trusting relationship with third-party developers and provide them with information on a new platform so that they can start creating games simultaneously with those in Nintendo. As we have been able to build such a relationship with more third parties than before, it was less frequently said for the Nintendo 3DS that the Nintendo games available at the launch of the new platform were more sophisticated than those of third parties. We are working to further improve the situation for the Wii U.

With regard to cultivating creators in the entire industry, we make efforts to hold the “Nintendo Game Seminar.” It is temporarily on hold until the next fiscal year owing to the Great East Japan Earthquake, though. The seminar participants, who are university students, go to our office in Kanda (in Tokyo) for about nine months, experience video game development with our junior employees and the completed games, which were for the Nintendo DS in the past, are made available to the public by download. Some participants joined our company after completing the seminar and have been already performing well in creating products. Also, I hear that others are working for other video game developing companies. In this context, the seminar contributes to the cultivation of creators in the whole video game industry.

In addition, we are changing our way of cooperating with other companies. One recent example is that we will develop a new game from the “Smash Bros.” franchise together with NAMCO BANDAI Games and NAMCO BANDAI Studios. We would like to develop fascinating software in line with the theme of the series by combining their specialties and our ability to brush things up. We can avoid a case where all the Nintendo staff members are devoted to one big project and we have no power to develop other games, which is another benefit of co-development with people in other companies. We hope that each development team will improve its collective strength through such experiences.

One thing I would like to add is that, when we work with people in other companies, we have no intention to take the trouble to “cultivate” them. I think it is more important to understand how we can both grow, or to find a good balance which can enhance each party’s strengths and eliminate weaknesses. - Satoru Iwata


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