Just based on the article, Serkan Toto's translation is accurate. Kimishima was asked whether the Switch wouldn't render a successor to the 3DS meaningless, and he responded saying that the Switch would be bigger, heavier, and pricier than a theoretical 3DS successor, and they will keep considering it since there is a market base for it.
Nintendo is to amalgamate its console and handheld hardware divisions in a brand-new Kyoto facility on February 16, 2013, the manufacturer has confirmed to GamesIndustry International.
The company hopes that, by housing the two arms of the business together in the new ¥30 billion ($340m apprx) offices, they will be able to share technological research and breakthroughs more efficiently, as well as perhaps working on further integrating the 3DS and Wii U.
What I can say is, certainly, within Nintendo the fact that our development environment for our home console is different from the development environment for our portable system is certainly an area of stress or challenge for the development teams. So as we move forward, we're going to look at what we can do to unify the two development environments.
So, particularly with digital downloads now and the idea that you're downloading the right to play a game, that opens up the ability to have multiple platform digital downloads where you can download on one and download on another. Certainly from a development standpoint there is some challenge to it, because if you have two devices that have different specs and you're being told to design in a way that the game runs on both devices, then that can be challenging for the developerbut if you have a more unified development environment and you're able to make one game that runs on both systems instead of having to make a game for each system, that's an area of opportunity for us.
You have explained your concern about users being divided by hardware. Currently, you have both a handheld device business and a home console business. I would like to know whether the organizational changes that took place last year are going to lead to, for example, the integration of handheld devices and home consoles into one system over the medium term, or a focus on cost saving and the improvement of resource efficiency in the medium run. Please also explain if you still have room to reduce research and development expenses.
Last year Nintendo reorganized its R&D divisions and integrated the handheld device and home console development teams into one division under Mr. Takeda. Previously, our handheld video game devices and home video game consoles had to be developed separately as the technological requirements of each system, whether it was battery-powered or connected to a power supply, differed greatly, leading to completely different architectures and, hence, divergent methods of software development. However, because of vast technological advances, it became possible to achieve a fair degree of architectural integration. We discussed this point, and we ultimately concluded that it was the right time to integrate the two teams.
For example, currently it requires a huge amount of effort to port Wii software to Nintendo 3DS because not only their resolutions but also the methods of software development are entirely different. The same thing happens when we try to port Nintendo 3DS software to Wii U. If the transition of software from platform to platform can be made simpler, this will help solve the problem of game shortages in the launch periods of new platforms. Also, as technological advances took place at such a dramatic rate, and we were forced to choose the best technologies for video games under cost restrictions, each time we developed a new platform, we always ended up developing a system that was completely different from its predecessor. The only exception was when we went from Nintendo GameCube to Wii. Though the controller changed completely, the actual computer and graphics chips were developed very smoothly as they were very similar to those of Nintendo GameCube, but all the other systems required ground-up effort. However, I think that we no longer need this kind of effort under the current circumstances. In this perspective, while we are only going to be able to start this with the next system, it will become important for us to accurately take advantage of what we have done with the Wii U architecture. It of course does not mean that we are going to use exactly the same architecture as Wii U, but we are going to create a system that can absorb the Wii U architecture adequately. When this happens, home consoles and handheld devices will no longer be completely different, and they will become like brothers in a family of systems.
Still, I am not sure if the form factor (the size and configuration of the hardware) will be integrated. In contrast, the number of form factors might increase. Currently, we can only provide two form factors because if we had three or four different architectures, we would face serious shortages of software on every platform. To cite a specific case, Apple is able to release smart devices with various form factors one after another because there is one way of programming adopted by all platforms. Apple has a common platform called iOS. Another example is Android. Though there are various models, Android does not face software shortages because there is one common way of programming on the Android platform that works with various models. The point is, Nintendo platforms should be like those two examples. Whether we will ultimately need just one device will be determined by what consumers demand in the future, and that is not something we know at the moment. However, we are hoping to change and correct the situation in which we develop games for different platforms individually and sometimes disappoint consumers with game shortages as we attempt to move from one platform to another, and we believe that we will be able to deliver tangible results in the future.
What certain take away from that statement is
- Nintendo keeps the door open for another dedicated handheld.
- They are not committed to make the Switch their only flagship hardware in the market. At least not yet.
What it means is anything can change drastically depending on success of the Switch. If it bombs, the next handheld will come. If it hits the 3DS or the Wii level, this is the only hardware moving forward.
I hope you're dense on purpose and this is not a reflection of the way you actually use your thinking process.
Or it means they could make a dedicated handheld Switch.
It would make no sense at all for them to go back to having a separate portable platform, because they're no longer organizationally set up for that. They've integrated their dev studios. Having that development division was a burden on both platforms. I don't see them going back to that, ever. It just makes too much sense to have one game platform with a variety of form factors to cater to different market segments.
Keep in mind that even if the hardware launching next month fails, that doesn't mean they'll abandon the Switch platform. They finally have standardized hardware architecture, much like Sony and Microsoft. The days when heavily proprietary hardware made financial sense are over. There's no reason why they couldn't release a new console and handheld, but still say "These both run the same games, and will run all your Switch games as well." They can even call it something else, but still have it effectively be based on Switch.
I just don't see any realistic way that they're ever again going to have split platforms.
Iwata talking about how Nintendo systems should have a common platform during a Q&A in May 2014. https://www.nintendo.co.jp/ir/en/library/events/140130qa/02.html
Alright, so this is sort of interesting.
From a Q&A with Aonuma.
How about speeding up development processes? Does the Switch architecture mean you can unify your handheld and console software teams, enabling you to get games out more quickly?
There's an element of that, but it doesn't automatically mean things wil happen more quickly or more easily. Plus, Nintendo 3DS still has plenty of titles in development. The concept of the Switch is that you have a home console that you can take with you on the go, and in that respect it is both home console and handheld, but it doesn't mean for us that the concept of a dedicated handheld will just disappear.
Apart from that, no big news in the Switch feature. A lot of gorgeous photos though and it's very informative. Their overall tone on Switch is rather negative for all the reasons we've heard here at GAF many times before. Pricey, too many features leading to compromise in a couple of places, lack of launch software, etcetera.
From the EDGE thread. Seems to further confirm that Nintendo wants a separate successor to 3DS at some point (of course it's up to debate if they CAN do it).
A 3DS successor would just be the Switch hardware in a different form factor. I have no doubt they will create a cheaper, portable focused model that shares the game library.
They are never again going to make two walled-off pieces of hardware, they cannot support it.
It's a Switch Lite. Smaller form factor with lower price. Surely this is obvious?