Nintendo: Iwata discusses ‘next system,’ promises flat iOS-like architecture across handheld & console

Tuesday, 4 February 2014 11:28 GMT By Dave Cook

Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has discussed the nature of the company’s console development and the plan to create a flat architecture between both handhelds and home consoles moving forward. It comes as part of an investor note released by Nintendo.


During the Nintendo note, Iwata recalled that the firm merged its home console and handheld device departments into a single R&D division, under the supervision of Genyo Takeda. Iwata explained that after the move, Nintendo was able to achieve some parity between the 3DS and Wii U architecture, leading to the merger.

He added that previously, Nintendo’s hardware policy was to update its hardware from the ground up with each new iteration – with the exception of the jump between GameCube and original Wii, which share common architectures.

It’s time for change, and a more-common architecture Iwata said, and explained, “However, I think that we no longer need this kind of effort under the current circumstances. In this perspective, while we are only going to be able to start this with the next system, it will become important for us to accurately take advantage of what we have done with the Wii U architecture.

“It of course does not mean that we are going to use exactly the same architecture as Wii U, but we are going to create a system that can absorb the Wii U architecture adequately. When this happens, home consoles and handheld devices will no longer be completely different, and they will become like brothers in a family of systems.”

Iwata then cited Apple’s iOS architecture – which works across iPhone, iPod and iPad devices, allowing the same games and experiences to be enjoyed across all formats. He wants this technology for Nintendo via a shared platform.

“To cite a specific case,” he concluded. “Apple is able to release smart devices with various form factors one after another because there is one way of programming adopted by all platforms. Apple has a common platform called iOS. Another example is Android. Though there are various models, Android does not face software shortages because there is one common way of programming on the Android platform that works with various models.

“The point is, Nintendo platforms should be like those two examples. Whether we will ultimately need just one device will be determined by what consumers demand in the future, and that is not something we know at the moment.

“However, we are hoping to change and correct the situation in which we develop games for different platforms individually and sometimes disappoint consumers with game shortages as we attempt to move from one platform to another, and we believe that we will be able to deliver tangible results in the future.”

Would you like to see Nintendo introduced a shared architecture on future hardware? Could it help the company’s financials? Let us know below.