Nintendo president says 'being first [next-gen console] not important at all'

Nintendo president Satoru Iwata downplays the importance of being first to market with a next-gen console, and talks vaguely about pricing and plans for the Wii U.

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Depending on how you measure, the Wii U will either be the first console of the next generation, or the last console of this current generation. Its power is roughly on-par with the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, which means Nintendo is doubling down on its lower-fi strategy and will probably be the last manufacturer to hit the next-gen benchmarks. But Nintendo president Satoru Iwata doesn't feel that having a head-start is the advantage many make it out to be.

"Being first in the next generation race is not important at all," Iwata told Gamasutra. "One of the reasons we believe this is the time for Nintendo to launch the Wii U is it's going to be important for the world."

Iwata also vaguely spoke about the price, one unrevealed element of the Wii U still undergoing heavy speculation. "The pricing of Wii U is going to be one of the most important elements when it is going to be launched," he says. "The environment is different. Wii U is going to be launching in a different environment than when the Wii was launched. Also, the involvement surrounding [mobile and social] businesses is different than several years ago."

He says the company intends to return to profitability this year, after it lost money last year due to the 3DS hardware sales. That sounds like the Wii U won't be selling at a loss, but pricing has yet to be determined so it's hard to say for sure.

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  • reply
    July 20, 2012 9:30 AM

    Steve Watts posted a new article, Nintendo president says 'being first [next-gen console] not important at all'.

    Nintendo president Satoru Iwata downplays the importance of being first to market with a next-gen console, and talks vaguely about pricing and plans for the Wii U.

    • reply
      July 20, 2012 9:30 AM

      You mean last?

      • reply
        July 20, 2012 9:52 AM

        'being first last [next-current-gen console] not important at all'

        Fix'd

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      July 20, 2012 10:02 AM

      Its kinda weird considering that they've shown more of their next console then either of the other guys.

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        July 20, 2012 10:46 AM

        weird? what? you do know that neither Sony nor Microsoft have even announced a new console.... right?

        • Zek legacy 10 years
          reply
          July 20, 2012 11:26 AM

          That's sort of the point, Nintendo revealed their console over a year ago when it wasn't ready to show at all, so it's odd to hear them saying now that being first isn't important.

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            July 20, 2012 7:56 PM

            it's not like the guy just walked down the street and randomly said it. it was a response. someone asked if he thought it was an advantage. he said no.

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      July 20, 2012 10:09 AM

      There's no two ways to look at it: it uses the last gens technology, so it's the last console of last gen

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        July 20, 2012 10:36 AM

        Yah it's not cutting edge, but it's a decent upgrade compared to the 360/PS3. At this point who knows what MS & Sony are cooking up. But I kinda have a feeling the next-gen systems aren't going to be cutting edge. Most gamers are more than fine with the current visuals from the PS3/360.

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          July 20, 2012 10:47 AM

          I'm curious to know why you think this is a decent upgrade to anything. So far all we've heard is that it's on par with current gen.

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            July 20, 2012 11:22 AM

            Considering Assassin's Creed 3 was shown at E3 on the Wii U running at 1080p @ 60fps. The PS3/360 version was 720p @ 30fps.

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      July 20, 2012 10:47 AM

      none of you seem to know what the word "generation" means

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      July 20, 2012 10:58 AM

      All this crap about the Wii U having the same power as current gen PS3/Xbox360 needs to stop. For god's sake, the 360 is using a X1xxx class Radeon GPU whereas the Wii U is going to use a HD4xxx class Radeon. The Wii U is going to be at the very least 2x more powerful than the X360, if not more. Wasn't all those crap supposed to be an April's fool joke? Not like I care about consoles but some people can't seem to think.

      • Ebu legacy 10 years
        reply
        July 20, 2012 11:24 AM

        I don't care, but here are things showing I care:

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        July 20, 2012 12:24 PM

        Yeah well... there is also the law of diminishing returns. There was a time (like in the days of NES and Master System) when doubling the power meant a huge difference in visual quality. These days the systems have gotten to the point where they look pretty good, it's going to take more than just double the power to really make a noticeable visual difference. I think more polygons and cleaner textures and higher framerates are always good... but you would need a massive change in all three for people to say "holy shit, that looks amazing!" I think the things which will impress us in the next generation are things like crazy physics and particle effects, post processing effects which are done to the image after it's rendered, and impressive lighting (also hopefully tons of CPU cycles for revolutionary AI). I don't think the Wii U is going to blow us away in those departments... IF it is more powerful than the 360/PS3, it's probably just a bit more. It's like putting a 3 inch exhaust on your Honda Accord... it's going to sound nicer and let the exhaust flow a bit faster... might give you a small gain.. it's not going to make it an EVO.

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          July 20, 2012 12:44 PM

          Yah i think the CPU power will be about the same, but the GPU will be quite a bit faster. We will probably see more 1080p games but more or less the same visuals with better textures.

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          July 20, 2012 5:57 PM

          That's true. I remember John Carmack said something like, current gen is running at 30fps 720p, if we're running at 60fps 1080p next gen, the extra power is going to be consumed all. Essentially we're going to see the same things at higher frame rate and resolution and that's it, nothing mind blowing. Just wanted to point out it was grossly ignorant to say the WiiU having same power as the PS3/X360.

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            July 20, 2012 6:11 PM

            I wonder how many devs are gonna stick with 30 fps 720p to get more visual quality. This gen a lot of devs didn't even do 720p, instead going as low as something like 540p to get either higher frame rates or better visuals.

            • Zek legacy 10 years
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              July 20, 2012 6:42 PM

              Probably almost all of them, same as this gen. Even if it they don't spend the resources to produce better visuals, they can still save dev time on optimizing performance by settling for 30fps 720p, which more than likely most consumers will be happy with for at least another generation.

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        July 20, 2012 12:49 PM

        If it's so powerful, how come developers who are developing for current gen consoles are saying that the new Wii won't handle it?

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        July 20, 2012 1:08 PM

        I think the point is even if it IS more powerful, all of that is wasted, because no one is going to use that power. Cross-platform games will look the same, its not like devs are going to put extra time into a WiiU version to make it look better, and first party games aren't exactly pushing the graphical envelope.

        So when it's all said and done, for all intents and purposes this thing is on par with current gen.

        When next gen hits and blows it out of the water, Nintendo will be in the exact same situation as the wii was.

        This is all speculation of course.

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          July 20, 2012 1:23 PM

          This may not be the case. There is a very tangible difference between a game running at 720p (with perhaps an even lower internal resolution) and one that is running natively at 1080p. I don't think we'll see anything greatly beyond what the xbox and ps3 can put out, but a better resolution and higher average frame rates are definitely good selling points.

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          July 20, 2012 3:04 PM

          I don't think this is true.

          The PC is the lead platform currently for Unreal 3 engine games. Just look at all the comments from E3 talking about how all multi-platform games shown were on PCs with controllers attached.

          This is actually good news for the WiiU.

          The higher quality art assets are being produced for the PC and the WiiU will benefit from that. WiiU games will look better.

          However, you're right about the next-next gen blowing it out of the water.

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          July 20, 2012 6:09 PM

          Not wanting to defend the WiiU but the difference between the WiiU and next gen PS/Xbox might be smaller than what people think. Rumors that WiiU is going to use a HD4xxx class Radeon whereas the next PS/Xbox are going to use a HD6xxx class Radeon. Now if you're looking PC's Radeon 4870 and Radeon 6770, they're having roughly the same power.

          Of course we don't know the exact numbers, but I don't think the difference is going to be as great as the current Wii vs PS3/X360.

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            July 20, 2012 6:41 PM

            I had a 4870 and a 6770 would have been a pretty significant improvement.

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        July 20, 2012 6:13 PM

        It is more powerful, but it also has to render an additional screen, which is where the problem is. And if it's a 2-player game it gets even worse. I think Nintendo said it drops the framerate in half.

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      July 20, 2012 6:52 PM

      Historically the first one out of the gate at the level of the others is the winner. The dreamcast doesn't count because it was not at the level with the others. The Dreamcast has shown us that what Nintendo is attempting with the Wii U is a bad idea

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        July 21, 2012 12:10 PM

        The Dreamcast wasn't a bad idea, it just didn't need memory cards with black and white LCD screens on it... And it should have used better protection from hackers instead of just a gigabite disc that most hackers were able to compress down to a CD-R and run everything with ease.

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      July 23, 2012 11:35 AM

      This all points to 299$ and nothing more.

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