Iwata: Revolution will bring a "paradigm shift" to gaming

Nintendo president confirms his company's next-gen console will be unveiled at E3, says it will lure retired gamers and nongamers to the market.

TOKYO--In a full-page interview in Thursday's Kyoto Journal, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata commented on the current state of the company's next-generation game console--being developed under the working title "Revolution."

Iwata said the Revolution will cause a "paradigm shift" in video gaming, and reconfirmed that details on the machine will be unveiled at the upcoming E3 in May. He added that the machine will most likely come out somewhere between 2005 and 2006, when Sony and Microsoft are expected to release their next-generation consoles. Currently very little is known about the Revolution except that it may not use a conventional controller and may be able to connect to a PC monitor as well as the traditional TV screen.

"The keyword for the DS was 'innovative product,' but it will be 'paradigm shift in [game] play' with the Revolution," Iwata said in his interview with Kyoto's popular local newspaper.

"The concept behind our new console, tentatively named 'Revolution,' is the same as the DS. We want it to broaden the [video gaming] audience range, and we don't want it to be something that people will see as too irrelevant to them, too difficult to use, or as something that wastes space. We'll announce specific details at the E3 ... It will most likely come out between this year [and] next year, which is considered to be the transition period for home consoles," Iwata said.

Iwata said the DS and PSP aren't directly competing, because Nintendo is aiming for nongamers and retired gamers with its handheld, while Sony is targeting the traditional gaming audience. He added that his company will also attempt to avoid competing in the next-gen console market.

"Similar to the relationship that the DS has with the PSP, we won't fight over the same share of the pie with another company. We have no intention of fighting over shares of the market in a way that will shrink it. For us, success will depend on whether we can call back people that have stopped playing games, and whether we can also bring in a new base of customers. That way, our share [of the market] will increase since the market will grow bigger," Iwata said.

Iwata also took time to comment on the success of the DS. "We shipped 2.8 million units in Japan and America by the end of last year, and most had reached the hands of our customers by early after New Year's. Its sales are very good when compared to the launch of other game machines we've sold in the past. We feel that the DS has gained a wide range of audience. Aside from video game fans, people that haven't played games in a long time, or never played games before, have been picking up the DS," Iwata said. "According to research, the sales of game hardware for one month, starting in late November, increased by 75 percent compared to the past year, and game software sales also rose by about 10 percent. I believe that the DS is hindering people from losing interest in video games."

When asked by the Kyoto Journal what he thought of the PSP, Iwata stated relatively bluntly that Sony is going in a direction that Nintendo doesn't believe in, though he softened that by saying he welcomes Sony's entrance into the market--since it should expand the total gaming audience.

"In the past, the video game industry grew on high-quality graphics and data volume," Iwata said. "We decided to move into a different direction, since we believe that those days have ended. But by watching the PSP, we see that there are also people that have different thoughts from us. But it's up to the consumers to make the judgment, and it'll also be good if we can expand the market size by bringing out our best points."

Iwata also commented briefly on Nintendo's entrance into the movie market, hinting that although the company is strongly considering the move, it isn't completely sure if it will be going into the business just yet.

"We're strongly considering the matter. I've been in contact with the script writers, directors, and the production companies. We're looking into the potentials between movies and video games. But if we decide to really go into the movie business, it will be around summer of 2006 at the earliest."

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