Nintendo Interested In Creating Multiple Hardware Devices

By Ishaan . February 4, 2013 . 10:00am

During their recent third-quarter earnings briefing, Nintendo confirmed that they are indeed uniting their home console and portable hardware development groups into a single division, with the goal being to increase interoperability between Nintendo devices.


Nintendo president, Satoru Iwata, provided a few general specifics, including that future Nintendo hardware will share operating systems, built-in software and software development methods across multiple devices. This will make development easier and help avoid software shortages at launch.


The other effect it will have, Iwata said at an earnings Q&A session, is that it will allow Nintendo to develop more platforms than they are now.


“What we are saying is that we would like to integrate software development methods, operating systems, and built-in software and software assets for each platform so that we can use them across different machines,” Iwata explained to Q&A attendees. “This means that if we manage to integrate our platforms successfully, we may in fact be able to make more platforms.”


He elaborated: “At the moment, we only have our current handheld devices and home consoles because if we tried to make more platforms, our development resources would be spread too thinly. The more we can share software across different platforms, the more development resources will be left for something else.”


Iwata did not elaborate further as to just what kinds of additional devices Nintendo have in mind for the future, but did mention that Nintendo do not believe that dedicated gaming platforms will die out, and that the company is “determined to create a future where they will not”.


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  • Spirit Macardi

    It’s an interesting thought, although the last time they tried having a third console (the DS to the GBA and Gamecube) they soon decided to make it just the new secondary console.

    I do like the idea of integrating the OS among the devices though, since that’ll no doubt make game development and cross-platform play far easier. I hope they won’t do this until many years later though, since I’m currently more than content between my 3DS and Wii U x3

    • Did anyone ever really think that the DS would be a third-leg console in the long run, though? Nintendo pretty obviously just introduced it that way so that if the DS turned out to be a total failure, they could call backsies and go back to the proven GBA. (Remember, no one knew what to make of the DS hardware when it was first unveiled, and many predicted it would flop.)

      • ronin4life

        I always thought it was to keep people from freaking out over “no more GAMEBOY OMG HELL NO!!!”

    • kylehyde

      Pretty much is everything that @Ni_Go_Zero_Ichi:disqus said. The third pillar was a measure if the DS failed. Personally I think that we are going to see this move again. I have the feeling that future handheld could be more close to a tablet than a dedicated handheld.

  • Brimfyre

    Nintenphone incoming

  • SirRichard

    A curious idea, but what else could they do? Phones or tablets are the only things that come to mind that aren’t “more games consoles”, though I admit I’d be curious to see what Nintendo would try with a pure tablet device.

    • PABLO Rapetti Perez

      You and me both. They tend to have an habit of showing the least expected in their new offerings. Nintendo is a company that what truly has besides quality is vision.

  • Lucas .

    3DS U coming.

  • Go2hell66

    Nintendo Tablets, PC’s and cellphones incoming

  • I assume that all of their devices would share features to a certain extent, to make things easier to port along with the easier infrastructure.

    Honestly, I want to see what they have in mind. That said, if these additional devices are purely game systems, I’ll be disappointed at the sheer redundancy of it all.

  • If there’s going to be a set of compatible handheld and home console, I’m hoping there’ll be much more benefits from related games on each platform linking up with each other – like the GBA-GC connectivity and how some DS games got bonuses from having GBA games in Slot-2, but much more frequently employed this time around.

    On the other hand… those features can’t possibly be practical as important parts of their games, since not everybody is guaranteed to have both of the required games.

    • The GBA-Gamecube connectivity was used as the core feature in a small handful of interesting games (e.g. Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles, Zelda: Four Swords Adventures, Pac-Man Vs.) but to my knowledge nothing like that has been attempted since. Which is a shame, because I’d really like to see some expansion on the ideas utilized in those games.

  • Serpenter Rex

    They won’t do anything yet, is my opinion. If they do, it’ll be small scale. The Wii U will probably be the next GC. It won’t sell terribly well, but it’ll still have some good games on. The 3DS isn’t doing well either. They’ll try and roll out the next generation console line within the next 5 years (Nintendo usually works on a 5 year plan from what I’ve seen?) and integrate then.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if they revealed a separate tablet, replacing the DS line along side there next home console. As for cell phone, its been shown Nintendo have been getting a bit more involved with them, from the Pokedex app, right?

    I wonder if they’ll perhaps incorporate a Nintendo service that links VC to your account, and then lets you run the VC through a phone? That’d be interesting… Uncharacteristic of Nintendo, maybe, but they’re shaking things up now, so changes like that will be inevitable.

    • Suicunesol

      I can’t comment on the Wii U being the next GC because there is just no way to tell yet, and there’s still the possibility of the next PS and Xbox not selling well either, in which case the winner would be the one that has not sold as poorly as the others.

      As far as tablets go, I seriously doubt Nintendo will make a tablet OR a phone. Nintendo says they want to support dedicated game consoles, so it would be counter-intuitive to their philosophy of sustaining the dedicated portable gaming market to release a tablet or a phone just like Apple, Samsung, and the whole lot of them. Phones and tablets are NOT dedicated gaming devices because they do so much more than run games.

      However, I think Nintendo MIGHT release different kinds of handheld devices that cater to audiences ranging from the casual to the hardcore, with every device being able to play the same games. Nintendo might release, for example, their revolutionary Nintendo HOLO game system for $200 that runs games at 720p. Then they might have a HOLOmini for $150 that runs games at 480p with a smaller screen, then maybe a more expensive, hardcore version called HOLOCORE that runs games at 1080p with a larger screen. Three choices that appeal to different people, that all run the same games on the same OS. Something like that.

  • drproton

    I wouldn’t like to see a third platform for exclusive content, but if it had a subset of cross-platform stuff from the Wii U or 3DS or older systems, I’d support it.

    I’m a Nintendo fan, but I don’t think a third Nintendo device would offer me much utility, and I’d feel somewhat exploited having to buy a third platform for the franchises I enjoy.

    • I think the logic is that the games across these devices will be similar, but each device itself will appeal to a different demographic.

  • ShawnOtakuSomething

    Nintendo Smartphone,Tablets and Ect?. “Ummmm ahhhh hummm Not Needed” Why not upgrade the 3DS to do what a smartphone can do, but better? *Set back* Lets see what they come up with. More cross-play/anything that will be great.

  • Brimfyre

    It’s odd they didn’t do this BEFORE the Wii U launched. Seems like it is going to be a mess, unless the Wii U and 3DS also get firmware updates to use this new software OS.

    • They’re probably just working on R&D for their plan right now and will integrate everything starting next gen.

    • kylehyde

      I don’t think that they are doing this move for their current devices, but for the future ones.

      • Brimfyre

        I still think it’s a mistake then to even announce this. It makes it look like their next big thing will be released in a couple of years. It makes people who bought Wii U feel jipped and/or will prevent people from buying one saying, “I’ll just wait til that new blended OS Hardware is out.”

        • kylehyde

          Last time I checked, most of the people buy gaming devices for the games, not the operating systems on them.

          Also, many companies tend to talk about their future plans in their briefeng, even if those saw the light years later. Even during the first years of the DS, they talked about how they are constantly working on ideas and technologies for their next handheld. If that didn’t stopped the DS for being the juggernaut in sales that it is, then I don’t think that the idea of an integrated OS would hurt the 3DS or Wii U sales. Specially since many of this briefings are not targeted to the general public, but to the investors.

    • ForteWily

      Something like this requires planning, my guess is that Nintendo figured that doing a merge of this side would not be the best idea when they allocated resources to heavy console development and deployment.

      Which is somewhat reasonable, on top of this is the new R&D building that was only just completed, taxing cash reserves. I would think that holding back on such a move would be prudent.

    • 60hz

      if they are talking about it now, it’s already done.

  • idrawrobots

    I can’t put it out of the realm of possibilities, but I doubt a new 3rd tier would be a tablet or a phone. You all are thinking too close minded.

  • VeroC11

    A tablet is unlikely, the extremely casual crowd won’t go out of their way to buy a Nintendo device.

  • $30632660

    I’m not buying any more peripherals, I bought the Wiimotion+ and the CCPro for the Wii and they all barely got any use.
    Never again NIntendo, Never Again!

  • I read this as, “we wish to remain competitive with Apple by emulating their method.”

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