Nintendo's Hideki Konno has said that when it comes to comparing 3DS with Sony's upcoming NGP handheld, it's something that's a bit hard to do at this point.
Expanding beyond games
Speaking in an interview with Game Informer, Konno said the goal with creating 3DS was to "surprise," customers with "new unique experiences."
"I don’t know that our goals are the same [as Sony's] for one thing," he said. "As far as from a user’s perspective, I love these digital gadgets, so when the NGP goes on sale I’m sure I’ll take a look at it and see what software is available for it and what the system can do. Whether or not Sony or Nintendo through the launches of these two different hardware systems are trying to achieve the same goal that’s something that I don’t know. It’s difficult to speak to what they’re trying to do."
Konno also told the site Nintendo had considered including Netflix on 3Ds for awhile before it was announced at GDC. The inclusion of the service was due to Nintendo's expanding audience and with 3DS, the expansion was something it wanted to continue - but Konno could not say whether the firm plans to expand outside of gaming with the device further.
"We can bring new and interesting experiences to the table that continue to move us closer to that goal of expanding the audience and that’s definitely something we want to explore," he said. "So short answer, yes, we do want to move in that direction. Concrete plans, I cannot say."
Wireless, hotspots, always-on Internet
Konno said Nintendo has ideas it wants to bring to the market as far as Internet services go, but it is reluctant at the moment to include anything which would "increase the cost to the end user."
"To be honest, it’s not something I can speak to directly at the moment," he said. "When we have some new ideas that we want to bring to the market and we look at how to do that, if that’s the technology or the tool, then we’ll consider it. Personally, I don’t want something that’s going to increase the cost to the end user. If you’re using cellular technology and you have to pay a data plan fee every month, that impacts the end user’s bottom line. It’s not something that I would be very excited about as a consumer.
"For example, if, in the process of Mario Kart becoming a 3D title, the price was doubled from $40 to $80, I’d have to think about whether or not that was worth it. Personally I just think there are a lot of obstacles between the incorporation of new things like that."
Konno goes to on to say, this time to Guardian UK, that the firm hopes to enter into an agreement with a provider in the UK so the country will have available hotpots for 3DS, just like in the US. However, he doesn't "have any details about that," at present "but hopefully," will soon.
"In North America, for example, we have a collaboration with AT&T, which is providing us with 10,000 wireless hot-spots across the country," he said. "So if you pass through one of those hot-spots, just like in your home, data will be pushed out to you automatically – again, it's a passive transaction which takes place in the background; you don't have to do anything other than be within range.
"They aren't special hotspots created just for Nintendo 3DS, they're just hotspots."
It was announced earlier in the month that Skyhook Wireless would support NGP as the main location-based program, which would enable users to find a location using a combination of wi-fi, cell-phone triangulation and GPS. This will allow users to connect to mobile networks on-the-go, like when traveling by train or bus.
3DS is out in Japan now, and releases in the UK and US in the next couple of weeks.
So far, NGP is slated for Japan later this year, and a holiday release is presumed for the rest of Sony's territories.