Furukawa: “I Don’t Think Dedicated Consoles Will Disappear”

Part two of our translation of the Nikkei interview with Nintendo Co., Ltd. President Shuntaro Furukawa, talks about Google Stadia, cloud gaming, an ‘innovation dilemma’, and ongoing interest in AR. Thanks to BlackKite for the translation. Please credit Japanese Nintendo and link to this post if using any part of this translation elsewhere. Check out part one here and look forward to part three shortly!

Nikkei: Google’s cloud gaming [platform] Stadia, which allows gameplay on various devices such as smartphones, has begun [operating].

Furukawa: If large companies like Google join in, the gaming industry will get noticed, and there is also a possibility of bringing new technologies. The breadth of user experiences will also expand. Various companies are applying diligently to liven up the whole gaming industry, and I welcome that.

Nikkei: With the appearance of cloud games, isn’t that going to lessen the presence of dedicated consoles that cost as high as ten-thousands of yen (hundreds of dollars) like the Nintendo Switch?

Furukawa: There is a possibility for cloud games to get huge popularity in 10 years to the future. But at this point I don’t think dedicated consoles will disappear. It’s still very long until [we can] talk about making a conclusion. On the contrary, there is no meaning if we cannot desperately polish gameplays that are only possible in dedicated consoles. It’ll be over if people are content that they can be played on other game consoles or smartphones.

Nikkei: Aren’t you falling into an ‘innovation dilemma’ where you get late at coming to new fields, due to the success of dedicated consoles?

Furukawa: Our number one fixation is to create new creative gameplay, not creating hardware. The creative gameplay we’re aiming for at this point can be produced because of the structure where we develop hardware and software in unison. It’s because we think having developers of hardware and software meet up in the same building enables us to create the best experiences.

Nikkei: American companies are actively adopting new technologies. For example, Apple – which is seriously entering the gaming [industry] – is focusing on AR.

Furukawa: What we don’t want to be misunderstood is that we’re not turning our backs on new technologies. We also always do research and development. Until now the hardware development division has also been finding new technologies in this world, and they talk together with software developers; if they decide ‘let’s use it on this game’, it gets adopted. This basic framework won’t change even in the future.

Of course, AR is also one of the subjects we are interested in. We are researching to see if we can do something interesting.

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