Nintendo president discusses the future of cloud gaming and other new technologies

Slight caution to new trends is something Nintendo is known for.

Screengrab via GameXplain

Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa has only been in the position for about a year and a half, but in that time he has reaffirmed the company’s stance on advancing technologies where possible without taking massive risks to its current stability.

In an interview with Japanese publication Nikkei (as translated by Twitter user Oni Dino,) Furukawa opened up a little about his exact thoughts on things like cloud-based gaming, augmented reality, and other tech that is either already being worked on or is coming down the pipeline. The sustained viability of some advancements is still a ways off, according to Furukawa. 

“It’s possible that cloud gaming could capture the public’s interest in 10 years from now, however at this point in time, I do not think that dedicated hardware will go away,” Furukawa said. “It’s a long way off before we’ll really know the outcome. With that said, it would be pointless to solely focus on methods of play that can only be had on dedicated hardware. Once your audience starts saying they can play on other consoles or smartphones instead, you’re finished.”

Those comments are likely pointing more at Microsoft’s Project xCloud, which will eventually allow players to stream and play Xbox titles directly to their mobile devices through cloud-based servers and internet connection. Something like that could take away sales from the Xbox consoles while still pushing software sales at the same time, but Furukawa isn’t sold on the idea fully in the current market. 

And although he doesn’t rule out Nintendo eventually working on their own, similar product, it does seem like Furukawa is more inclined to stick with specified hardware to ship the company’s products. 

“I believe that our core value, the unique entertainment experiences that can only be achieved through the development of integrated hardware and software, will further increase in value,” Furukawa said. “Delivering unique entertainment that only Nintendo can create will continue to be our top priority.”

With how successful the Switch has been in comparison to the Wii U, it isn’t hard to think that Nintendo will keep riding its current trajectory with console and mobile game development for as long as possible. A large chunk of users who own a Switch also own another console, so it isn’t like Nintendo would hurt its chances at more sales by just waiting to see what the landscape shapes into. 

But just because Furukawa isn’t sold on the cloud-based streaming future happening within the next few years doesn’t mean the company isn’t looking into new technologies to improve its products. 

“Something I do not want the public to misunderstand is that we are not turning our backs on new technologies—we are constantly researching and developing,” Furukawa said. “Our hardware development teams evaluate all kinds of new technologies available thus far and consult with our software developers. If they determine that a technology can be used with a game, then they will utilize it. We will not be changing this fundamental approach moving forward.”

Again, that statement locks in the current Nintendo practice of integrating where possible but keeping to the marked path when it comes to making games. Innovation is something that the company is known for and just because the status quo can make them a lot of money, doesn’t mean it will completely kill that drive to make new and unique experiences that are only available through Nintendo. 

He goes on to mention how he and the development teams are very interested in AR still and are looking for ways to utilize it in upcoming projects. 

There isn’t a lot of information out about what Nintendo is planning for 2020 outside of the first few months, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see another game that takes full advantage of the Switch’s hardware get announced. Games like Ring Fit Adventure are somewhat of a specialty when it comes to interesting concepts that end up being really cool, if odd innovations.