Earlier today the President of Nintendo Satoru Iwata took the stage at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco to deliver a keynote speech titled “Video Games turn 25: a Historical Perspective and Vision for the Future”. For the most part it was kind of dull and there was a lot of somewhat confusing talk about social networking and Tetris.
But amongst the many minutes Iwata spent congratulating his company, a few interesting things were said in regards to the future direction of Nintendo. Netflix support was confirmed for the 3DS, as well as the ability to easily shift a movie from the hand held to the console (and vice versa). Iwata further talked about the 3DS’ ability to screen 3D movie trailers, and said that we should be starting to see these by the time Warner Bros. Green Lantern movie hits theaters.
Later in the speech, Iwata introduced Reggie Fils-Aime, president of Nintendo of America, who talked about the multifunctional aspects of the 3DS bringing up the especially interesting point that the 3DS will not require that a game be inside for it to be used. I highlight this not because it’s especially fascinating, but because it suggests Nintendo has heard the criticisms of the 3DS being a purely gaming-centric machine in a world of iPads and smart phones and are trying their best to draw attention away from that.
There was one other particularly interesting thing Reggie touched upon. When mentioning all these various things – Netflix, 3D video recording and the like – he also mentioned that most wouldn’t be available until an update in late May (if not later). This got me to thinking about how many of the star 3DS titles also won’t be released until the summer. Does anyone else out there think Nintendo are making a mistake releasing the hand held this early? It seems like the 3DS won’t even be ready for a few months yet.
Perhaps in recognition of the fact that a great deal of the presentation was minutiae, Iwata did spice the proceedings up with two tidbits that will cut right to the heart of any Nintendo fan. First, new footage was shown for the forthcoming Zelda game, Skyward Sword. It looks fantastic, and the gameplay and visuals seem very evocative of Ocarina. This game alone might convince me to pick up a second hand Wii.
The other thing was very exciting indeed. A logo was shown for the newest Mario game and Iwata made sure to draw particular attention to a tail that had been drawn on. He said that more details would be known at E3, but as this is Nintendo, I wouldn’t hold your breath and I’d be more inclined to put money on us seeing something substantial at the Tokyo Game Show.
So, that about wraps it up for Iwata’s speech. For a while I was worried Nintendo were about to announce their very own Facebook game. Instead we got a nice Zelda video and a Mario game we can speculate about for months. On balance, I’d say it wasn’t bad.