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

Tuesday, 4th 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.



  1. fengato

    Pleasing. Too many good Nintendo games are stuck on the 3DS. I’ve avoided Link Between Worlds as it’s the kind of game I like to play on the couch with my parter alongside. Shame not to be able to share the experience. Why this isn’t happening now is beyond me – at least make use of that silly resistive screen on the Wii-U for the sake of 3DS compatibility.

    Oh and Nintendo, please for the love of god give us more Virtual Console games (esp N64).

    #1 11 months ago
  2. polygem

    this is great. it´s basically the most clever thing to do imho. it certainly is EXACTLY what i personally want them to do, so i´m very happy to hear this indeed. there are way too many platforms to play videogames on out there these days. way too many, throwing your branded games onto multiple devices just wont work anymore. people can´t afford to buy all that. it´s the same situation with the ps homeconsoles and the vita. most guys think the sony homeconsole experience is the better deal for them so they go for that device – with nintendo it´s vice versa and they go 3ds if interested in playing nintendo games. it makes tons of sense from a consumers perspective. only few can buy all the systems and all the games they want to play on them. merging your branded games into one device is the way to go. this way you can focus on delivering a steady flow of quality first party support, which will then attract consumers, which will then give you a decent install base, which will then attract third party devs, which will then lead to happy consumers, devs and pubs. it´s that simple really. everyone will do that in the near future. one brand, one device. it´s the only way in an aggressive business like this.
    one device that offers the nintendo fix and all their problems will be solved because it´s not about the lack of innovation or fresh ideas in their games, or about mario fatigue or anything like that. i never thought that this was the case. it was about a changing market, about too much, too good competition. all you have to do is: don´t panic, analyse the situation, focus on your strenghts, don´t listen to the shortsighted analysts, try to become better at what you´re already good at.
    never adapt if you are nintendo. if you adapt you´ll die.
    great news indeed.

    #2 11 months ago
  3. IntrovertedOne

    If they do they may as well just make 1 system, I’ll miss the days of dedicated handhelds, but i’m oldschool.
    They could make a beefed up 3ds (with a second analog, hopefully) that uses a base station to play on a tv, basicly a much more powerfull wii u with an improved 3ds swapped out for the current controller.
    But if they really want to stick around mashing up preexisting idea’s will never do more than keep them from bankruptcy, to move forwards they need a new idea, something Nintendo seems to forget its the best of the big 3 at doing.
    People don’t really want last years thing with bells and whistles, they want something they’ve never even heard of.

    #3 11 months ago
  4. fihar

    So basically, they’re taking the basis of Vita and PS4/PS3 codependency and aim to take it even further.

    Couldn’t they just make it so that the Wii U tablet could play 3DS games?

    #4 11 months ago
  5. Joe Musashi

    Nintendo’s [terrible] approach to account management needs to be addressed before they even consider this approach.

    Also, I’m tired of Nintendo’s increasingly empty words. They have yet to deliver on many of their humble ‘please understand’ pledges of the last 12 months so, objectively, it’s increasingly difficult to get excited over further nebulous promises.

    Mana from heaven this ain’t.


    #5 11 months ago
  6. Joe Musashi


    “People don’t really want last years thing with bells and whistles, they want something they’ve never even heard of.”

    Everything happening in the current market points to the exact opposite of this.

    But, when it comes to Nintendo, it’s glaringly obvious that some people don’t live in the real world.


    #6 11 months ago
  7. OlderGamer

    If this was still the old site lay out I would search, cut and paste where I said Nintendos next system would do exactly this. It is also a slight glimpse of the future. Going to come a day where the hardware doesn’t matter, you can log into one hardware(PC/Tablet/SteamMachine?/PS/XB/Cablebox/Smart TV/device) and then log into Xbox Live/Apple/Google/PSN/Steam/Nintendo, then play your games.

    Nintendo has a long way to go, as does the industry on a few different levels. But I firmly believe as we transistion away from platforms and move towards services that brand names won’t matter.

    #7 11 months ago
  8. OlderGamer

    Let me add that while I do think Brand names will of course matter, I do not think they alone will be the defining feature. Like how if you have an Android, it is less important what carrier or even what device you use it on.

    #8 11 months ago
  9. polygem

    yep og was spot on. someone should tell pachter and nostradamus that they can fuck off now.

    #9 11 months ago
  10. Legendaryboss


    #10 11 months ago
  11. Legendaryboss

    Right now i’m not seeing enough action in regards to making new progress on various things: Game droughts, adopting mobile development, better third party support, New IPs and a commitment to a Pokemon on console. This is in regards to Wii U, 3DS is the same with the omission of the first and last points.

    #11 11 months ago
  12. fihar

    Funnily enough, that’s exactly what Playstation Now set out to achieve and some of you guys here were shortsighted enough to jump on the hate bandwagon and simply pass it off as Sony’s attempt to force you into paying for backward compatibility.

    #12 11 months ago
  13. fearmonkey

    I think that a wise idea for Nintendo to have the same kind of OS compatibility as iOS devices. However it concerns me that he said this “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. ”

    The Wii-u architecture was based on old tech, and I hope they don’t mean recycling that tech AGAIN for a new system. The WII-u’s CPU is recycled Wii tech which was recycled Gamecube tech, let it die already…….. I really hope I am

    #13 11 months ago
  14. fearmonkey

    (I miss the edit button!) I mean to say I hope I really am mistaken on what I said in my last post and that I read it wrong.

    I miss the old site’s way of keeping track of articles that had recent posts,.

    #14 11 months ago
  15. Joe Musashi


    Agreed. Blue Sky ideas sound nice and are good for the easily distracted or those that insist there are no current issues to address.

    There are plenty of current issues to address and promises still to make good on.

    Walking away from that and leaving your current userbase to dangle is only going to be tolerated by those so devoted to a brand that they’ll accept being exploited in such a manner.


    That’s a fair point. Microsoft had already dipped its toes in these waters with Windows Phone having access to some XBLA content also.

    Rather than exploiting current platforms to extend their reach, I pessimistically think Nintendo would propose its own platforms. If so, those platforms need to spectacularly compelling for a worthwhile demographic to invest in them.

    Consumers currently not investing in Nintendo’s platforms is why Iwata and co are taking pay cuts and buying back shares at the moment. Will history repeat itself? Or will lessons have been learned?


    #15 11 months ago
  16. SplatteredHouse

    Vintage Nintendo:
    (no price cut, and Mario will see them into success) Where’s that chalkboard jpg…

    #16 11 months ago
  17. OlderGamer

    I can’t wait for PS Now, fihar. My PS4 is ready. But I don’t think that PS Now is what Nintendo is doing. Nintendo is just talking about one system. Maybe a docking station ala the new Neo Geo system, where you have the handheld that plugs into a console/docking station that allows the same games to also run on the TV. Or. A new Gameboy that plugs directly into the TV and doubles as a controller. Or maybe something entirely different. Maybe a genuine cross buy between platforms(console and handheld) where the exact same game will play on either. Time will tell what they have planed.

    As for what I think the future will be like, yeah I think game streaming services that play across multiplatforms is prolly on its way. For a number of reasons.

    I do think that both X1 and PS4 should be fully BC with their current gen retail offerings(XB360/PS3). WiiU does play Wii games. I think that X1, and PS4 should also allow you to play digital content purchased from their previous systems….Like WiiU does.

    It isn’t Nintendo that are somehow blazing a new trail here either. My new PC(a different brand then my old one) plays all of my old Steam games. That is how it should work. Period. The hardware should be irrelevant. It should be a barrier that should have faded by now…esp when we are talking about hardware from the same company. It is one of the shortcomings of consoles.

    #17 11 months ago
  18. antraxsuicide

    @SplatteredHouse This one? XD

    I have to agree with JM. I just don’t think that Nintendo is presenting any real ideas here. They’ve got a ton of flowery words, but their last flowery speeches still haven’t led to anything. Nothing leads me to believe that these flowery speeches are any different than last years.

    @JM I love the phrase “‘please understand’ pledges.” It perfectly conveys Nintendo’s overall business strategy, which is “if you think we’re not doing well, you’re too dumb to understand our plans.” Ten years ago, I’d have believed them. I’d have thought that they had some master plan that was too secret to disclose.

    Clearly that is not the case anymore. Clearly they’ve been creatively bankrupt for a few years now. And they STILL refuse to just come clean about it.

    #18 11 months ago
  19. dizzygear

    Nice promises and all but not a single word on region locking. If they region lock their new consoles as well they can shove them right up their ass.

    Yes i’m still salty about RF4.

    #19 11 months ago

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