Iwata talks up Revolution specs, controller

Nintendo pres hints at additional specs for GameCube's successor, confirms online play is in the cards.

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TOKYO--In a recent interview with Nikkei Business, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata revealed a bit more about the "Revolution" next-generation console, offering hints on how it will make game creation easier for developers and how it will "allow users to experience games in ways that nobody has yet imagined."

Reflecting on his Game Developers Conference keynote address, Iwata said the Revolution came in for more positive reviews from developers than he had anticipated. Pointing out that development costs continue to rise, developers have expressed concern about creating games for the console. Iwata said Nintendo will do everything it can to lower the costs, and he revealed that one of the solutions is that Revolution will use the same application program interfaces (APIs) as the GameCube.

Iwata then switched the conversation from software to hardware, saying that one way Nintendo hopes to grow the user base is by making the Revolution gamepad more user-friendly for nongamers.

"Controllers for current consoles have more than doubled [in complexity] from older consoles. They may satisfy the hardcore gamers, but they've become too difficult for more casual gamers," Iwata said. When elaborating on the Revolution's controller, Iwata used the phrase "user interface" and avoided the word "controller" to describe the Revolution's input device. A recent magazine article sparked widespread speculation that the Revolution's controller would feature no buttons other than a DS-style touch screen.

"For the next-generation console, we plan to introduce a friendly user interface so that, for example, a mother who's watching her child playing a game might say, 'Oh, I'd like to try that too.' However, user interfaces are devices that can be easily imitated by other companies, so I can't reveal any details right now," he said.

Iwata went on to restate that the Revolution will use wireless LAN capability. Iwata said he hopes the Revolution will put an end to the need for consumers to have highly technical skills to play games online. His comments appeared to confirm that Nintendo's next-generation console will indeed feature online play, something he carefully avoided saying explicitly during this GDC keynote address.

Using the DS as an example, Iwata said Nintendo made sure its users didn't have to understand the technical aspects in using the handheld's wireless LAN capabilities. "The next-generation console will follow along that same line as the DS [for wireless LAN]. The ideal is for users to be able to connect to the Internet without having to think about it," Iwata said.

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