Miyamoto Confirms Work Underway on New Nintendo Consoles
Company executive adds that the next major Mario game could be reserved for next platform; Responds to Mario movie speculation.
Shigeru Miyamoto has openly stated that Nintendo is actively working on new ideas for its next wave of hardware systems.
Though it is common for a platform holder to begin work on next-generation hardware soon after the release of the current system, it is rare that a company executive will openly discuss those plans.
But Miyamoto told the Associated Press that Nintendo is in the formative stage of designing new hardware, and suggested that preliminary work is underway on more than one system. That does not necessarily mean a new console will be released next year, but it does suggest that potential product roadmaps are being considered.
"We're focused on providing a robust line-up of Wii U software for next year," Miyamoto said.
"It seems like we've managed to do that this year and people are very happy with what we've done on Wii U. For the time being, our focus is on the Wii U hardware, but Nintendo as a whole has groups working on ideas for new hardware systems. While we're busy working on software for the Wii U, we have production lines that are working on ideas for what the next system might be."
The comment follows a recent rumor that the electronics firm Sharp will continue its close business relationship with Nintendo, this time supplying a free-form LCD screen that, it is rumored, Nintendo hopes to use to make a doughnut-shaped display. Meanwhile, in October, it was revealed that Nintendo has begun hiring staff to help work on future platforms, including a hardware architect.
Miyamoto also suggested, but did not confirm, that the next major Mario game will be reserved for new hardware.
"Since we first created Mario, people have compared him to Mickey Mouse. I've always said Mickey Mouse evolved with each evolution in animation. You saw Mickey Mouse each step of the way," he said.
"From early on, I wanted Mario to be that character in the digital world, so that with each digital evolution, he was there to usher in the next era. I think that maybe when we release the next hardware system, you can look forward to seeing Mario take on a new role or in a new game."
Nintendo is also developing new hardware in its new Quality of Life business, the first of which is a bedside sleep analyser. Though it is possible Miyamoto could be referring to such devices when discussing new hardware, it is unlikely, as he also talks about how Mario will evolve on these new platforms.
Elsewhere in his interview, Miyamoto was asked about the rumored partnership with Sony for a Mario movie. Such details were leaked due to a hack on Sony Pictures Entertainment, supposedly from a North Korean in response to the now-cancelled movie The Interview, which depicts an assassination attempt of the North Korea dictator Kim Jong-un.
Miyamoto played down the significance of the Mario movie leak, however, describing it as a common business proposal.
He said: "I heard something about that this morning. What's interesting is that over the past 20 years, people come to us on a fairly regular basis about creating 'Mario' movies. There are times that those ideas end right when they bring them to us, and other times we'll listen to presentations. It's not very unusual, and it's something we've been doing for a very long time. I don't particularly have a vision that the next iteration of 'Mario' is going to be in film."
Nintendo's Wii U, now two years into its life, has been supported by several high-profile and critically acclaimed games, including Super Smash Bros, Mario Kart 8, Bayonetta 2, Super Mario 3D World, and Pikmin 3.
The Nintendo 3DS, now three years since its release, has sold more than 45 million units into retail.
Nintendo does tend to discuss new consoles far ahead of release. At E3 2004, chief executive Satoru Iwata revealed Nintendo's plan to work on Project Revolution, which would eventually become the Wii, released some 30 months later.