We're asking a lot of creators about this because it's very interesting to hear opinions about the Wii and the PS3 and the 360. They are all coming out or are out, and there are different user bases, different audiences, and different capabilities. Which systems are interesting and why?
Inaba: I don't necessarily have a particular piece of hardware that I really think is the best. And I don't really have a particular piece of hardware that I really think is something that I'll want to make a game on. It's kind of the same situation as the Nintendo DS. When the Nintendo DS first came out I thought "You know, this is a really good piece of hardware; it's interesting." But we didn't know how it was going to sell, and the explosion [in popularity] of the DS is something that's been very recent. So my personal opinion is, I kind of want to see how a system is accepted in the market - what kind of games go on the system. And then approach it with a little bit more information as opposed to just being able to say "Right now this is the one I want."
Yesterday Suda-san [creator of Killer 7] who is making Heroes for the Wii, spoke with us. And he said that it seems like a logical extension of this situation: PSP is kind of tanking in Japan and the DS is really incredibly popular. He thinks that maybe the PS3 and the Wii will have the same situation. What do you think about that?
Inaba: I think the thing that you really have to take into account with the situation between the PSP and the DS is that right now, what's really making the DS popular is games that aren't really games. They're games that are different kinds of experiences. Whereas what's really coming out on the PSP are your traditional style of games, and whether that situation is going to extend itself to the PS3 and the Wii - I don't really think so. Because I think that the portable market and the console market are very, very different in the kind of experiences that they present.
Furthermore I kind of feel that the console market doesn't necessarily have as bright a future as it previously did. I think that you're not going to see the Wii go up and the PS3 go down. I think you're going to see them stay about even, because I don't feel console machines are going to experience this kind of sales boom you've seen on the portable machines and I think that kind of explosion is going to stick on the portable market.
To be completely honest, I'd love to see the PSP sell more, because if the PSP sells more there will be more games and it will become a true rival to the DS as a game machine. And I think it will be good for creativity.
That's sort of the problem with the PSP - especially in America - it's just ports of PS2 games, not really a lot of original titles. Do you agree with that? What do you think about that?
Inaba: I think part of the problem was that the PSP is a machine that was positioned primarily at the beginning as a UMD player. So they didn't really put it out there as something they really wanted you to play games on; they wanted you to do various things with it, put movies in it, whatever. Whereas the vision for the DS was very clearly defined: "This is the DS and this is what we want you to do with it."
So I think because that vision wasn't necessarily clearly defined with the PSP at first, game makers kind of looked at it and were like, "Well, we don't really know if this is a game machine, so do we really want to make games for it?" And because of that, we've entered a new scenario where there are not really many great games for the PSP. Now, Sony's got an excellent opportunity to change that if they cycle hardware. So just like the vision was re-invented with from the GBA to the DS - Sony's got a chance to re-envision what they're doing with the PSP for whatever their next target becomes. So I'm looking forward to that. I'd love to see a touch screen PSP.