Internal development at Nintendo is unable to keep pace

By Jessica Citizen, Tuesday, 3 May 2011 03:30 GMT

The latest Financial results briefing from Nintendo reveals what we’ve all suspected: The company makes great games, but sometimes bites off a little more than it can chew.

Satoru Iwata

In a lengthy answer that focusses on the concept of jimae-shugi (“doing things by one’s bootstraps”), company president Satoru Iwata explains that Nintendo constantly faces a dilemma:

“I believe that it is the key to Nintendo, which develops both hardware and software in-house, to create new experiences which have been neither enjoyed nor requested by consumers, and let them say, “This is the very thing I have been wanting to play” once they have actually tried it. The more we depend on outside resources for this point, the more strength Nintendo will lose.”

He goes on to explain that it is impossible for Nintendo to develop everything internally and still keep up with the pace of change in the industry today. Iwata refers to games like Kirby’s Dream Land and Super Smash Bros., which were created by “second-party developers” who received advice from Nintendo while developing their games.

In a revealing statement, Iwata also observes that that the future of the Wii could have been different, had Nintendo made better partnerships. He says the company might have been “a little obsessed” with jimae-shugi at the time, and it’s taken a while to get back on track. Here’s hoping that the 3DS fares a little better, as the hardware giant learns its lesson.

The full Financial Results Briefing is well worth a read, providing an intriguing insight into the head of a major Japanese company.

(Thanks to Go Nintendo for the heads-up!)

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