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Nintendo confident on survival of physical consoles, Iwata doubts cloud gaming’s success

Tuesday, 5th February 2013 11:16 GMT By Dave Cook

Nintendo boss Satoru Iwata has cast doubt on the potential of cloud gaming, and has stressed that the company will continue to support physical consoles in the foreseeable future.

As part of a Q&A posted in response to Nintendo’s recent financial report, Iwata replied to a question regarding the games industry’s future and played down the potential of cloud services, such as Gaikai.

Sony purchased Dave Perry’s Gaikai streaming service last year, after selling $1.9 billion in convertible bonds to fund the acquisition, yet Iwata feels that there are no legs in cloud gaming.

Instead Nintendo aims to support physical consoles going forward, “Naturally, our stance is that dedicated gaming platforms will not die out and we are determined to create a future where they will not”, Iwata stressed .

On the matter of cloud gaming, he said, “A cloud is an attempt to process information online on a server,” he replied, “as opposed to doing so on individual machines in the hands of the users. What this implies is, since the time to transmit data over an internet connection is never negligible, there is always some latency before you receive the result of your input.

“Of course, there are types of games on which delays have no effect. In such instances, it may perhaps make sense to have an input means as well as the ability to display images at hand and let all the information be processed on a server.

“On the other hand, for some highly interactive games, action games in particular, the time required to reflect the push of a button on the screen is critical and the frame rate (the number of times a screen can be updated in a given second) determines the fluidity of the movements. This means that there are some types of games that can be put on the internet and others that cannot.

“By the laws of physics, it always takes some time to transmit data, and given the current level of internet technology, there is bound to be some latency during the processes of a server receiving data, producing images instantly and sending them back.

“There are many things that cloud gaming cannot do by design, but this fact has not been communicated well to the public, and I find it strange that many people claim that cloud gaming is the future.”

Has Sony backed the wrong horse here, or is Nintendo holding on to ideals that will become outmoded in years to come? Discuss below.

Thanks Eurogamer.

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16 Comments

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  1. Digital Bamboo

    Cloud gaming IS the future, but who knows how distant?

    I can’t see a country like Canada, for example, having fast enough internet to support cloud gaming for at least 10 years. When it happens, it will happen in smaller, eastern regions first: S.Korea (already starting), Japan, Hong Kong, and spread slowly from there.

    What I don’t get is why Iwata cares to hold onto the physical consoles. If they’re currently selling Wii U at a loss, and they still have to manufacture physical copies of games and ship them all over the world, then wouldn’t a wholly digital future be more profitable?

    #1 1 year ago
  2. manamana

    He isn’t talking about downloading digital copies of games. He thinks that the streaming part, where the hardware is on the other side of the ocean and does all the processing, isn’t going to work out for action games. And I think he is right although I didn’t played onlive or Gaikai, so I have no experience with that. From a logical, physical standpoint he must be right, as you must have latency due to the long transmission path.

    #2 1 year ago
  3. DeyDoDoughDontDeyDough

    It’s Gaikai, by the way, not Gai Kai.

    He’s absolutely right about Cloud gaming, though. It’s not something that will ‘work brilliantly one day’. The laws of physics prevent it and no upgrade in technology and infrastructure can ever overcome that.

    #3 1 year ago
  4. PC_PlayBoy

    Consoles are dying and Nintendo continue to be irrelevant as usual.

    #4 1 year ago
  5. DeyDoDoughDontDeyDough

    @4

    Tell me that when the ‘proper’ next-gen consoles from MS and Sony launch breaking all previous sales records.

    #5 1 year ago
  6. absolutezero

    pfffffffff aha ha haa

    #6 1 year ago
  7. PC_PlayBoy

    @5

    You’re having a laugh. These so-called next gen consoles from MS/Sony are nothing but ancient PC tech duct-taped together and called “next gen” for the casuals.

    MS/Sony will be as irrelevant as Nintendo in a few years time.

    Consoles are dead…

    #7 1 year ago
  8. DeyDoDoughDontDeyDough

    @7

    Right, so when they immediately begin outperforming PCs which have far superior spec (closed systems are good like that), you’ll still be bleating on in the same way will you? What are you going to do when the best-looking games are on consoles again at the end of this year? Buy one or carry on about how your PC is faster ‘on paper’?

    It’s the same every generation you dingbat.

    #8 1 year ago
  9. ManuOtaku

    Consoles are not dead and neither they will be dead, theres a lot of things that physical consoles did in the past, and that they will keep doing in the tech department in order to keep themselves relevant,in the past was the gamepad, the joystiqs, the rumble pack,etc, now we have motion control, asynchronous gameplay,touch screens etc, and in the future could be holographics, or other things involving gameplay, it is safe to say the consoles always finds new techs and ways to bring games in order to be relevant.

    As for the topic at hand i agree with him, and i hope they will keep the physical media alive as well.

    #9 1 year ago
  10. absolutezero

    HAHA HA HA HA oh fuck I don’t think I can laugh harder.

    #10 1 year ago
  11. manamana

    @4 Nintendo never is irrelevant, your opinion is.

    #11 1 year ago
  12. Cobra951

    “On the matter of cloud gaming, he said, ‘A cloud is an attempt to process information online on a server,’ he replied, ‘as opposed to doing so on individual machines in the hands of the users. What this implies is, since the time to transmit data over an internet connection is never negligible, there is always some latency before you receive the result of your input.’”

    So simple even a Japanese business dude understands it. Never mind the idea of *millions* of simultaneous intensive 3D rendering requests to one set of servers. Cloud gaming is nowhere near established enough to test that scenario.

    #12 1 year ago
  13. Kabby

    Cloud gaming will never be fast enough. He is correct.

    #13 1 year ago
  14. Lounds

    I hate Physical media, Steam changed my gaming life in 2007 and I won’t look back, I only buy physical media second hand.

    #14 1 year ago
  15. DSB

    Considering that all the console manufacturers apparently doubted digital’s succes going into this generation, I don’t see why anyone would look to them for innovation.

    Maybe lead the charge for once, then we’ll talk.

    #15 1 year ago
  16. monkees19

    All I’ll say is, haters gonna hate. Nintendo is always right with this stuff. They almost always lead each generation in console sales, handheld sales AND game sales. They started the motion control craze 3 years before anyone else. They clearly know what they are doing.

    #16 1 year ago