DS COULD CRUSH NINTENDO, SAYS EX-PRESIDENT
Hiroshi Yamauchi becomes embroiled in the debate over Nintendo's latest console
14:48 When Hiroshi Yamauchi retired as President of Nintendo, we thought we'd seen the last of the great man's ever-grandiose, sometimes maddening statements, but the industry veteran has been quick to comment on the company's latest ventures, in an interview with Japanese business publication Nihon Keizai Shimbun.
In trademark unrestrained fashion, Yamauchi-san offered a slew of entertaining if scarcely company-line opinions, revealing amongst other gems that the DS was his idea (cheers!) and that customers are "not interested in grand games with higher quality graphics and epic stories".
On the same theme, he continued: "The excessively hardware-oriented way of thinking is totally wrong, but manufacturers are just throwing money at developing higher-performance hardware."
On the DS Yamauchi was adamant that Nintendo would vehemently support it, saying the company would be "sailing in the heavens" if the product was a hit and "sinking in hell" if it failed to capture the public's imagination. "If we are unsuccessful with the Nintendo DS, we may not go bankrupt, but we will be crushed. The next two years will be a really crucial time for Nintendo."
And here's the money shot - Yamauchi also poured cold water on the idea that Nintendo would show off its successor to the GameCube at next year's E3, stating instead that the Expo would be used to "make a new proposal that uses the GameCube at its core. Only people who do not know the videogame business would advocate the release of next-generation machines when people are not interested in cutting-edge technologies."
That is of course a direct contradiction to Nintendo's statement of last week that a successor to the 'Cube will appear at E3 2005. An example of miscommunication? Well, possibly, except that Nintendo's current President, Satoru Iwata, seems to share his predecessor's opinion. Asked on plans for a 'Cube successor, Iwata replied: "I do not believe releasing a higher performance machine is the solution. Our hardware development team is thinking about the next move, but I cannot tell you about it."
On the bugbear of online gaming, Iwata remained skeptical: "Many people believe that online games are the next big thing. But I wonder how much revenue Microsoft and Sony have made from online games," he said, adding: "I don't think the current online games have adopted the right business model; people will not pay money for them."
Nintendo's curmudgeonly but consistent attitude to online gaming aside, these are bold statements indeed. Only Nintendo could release details on its future plans only to see them contested by the President (and the ex-President) of the same company. We'll keep you fully updated on all Nintendo developments as they happen.