It's not every day that the president of a videogame company decides that he wants to explain his new console to you - but it's not every day that a company creates a console like Wii. So Satoru Iwata has interviewed his own creators to explain, in his words, "Why is Wii the way it is? What kind of idea was the basis for the development of Wii?"
In the first interview of a three-part series, he talks to Genyo Takeda, head of Nintendo's research and development division and coordinator of the Wii project, and Kou Shiota, head of Wii technology.
In answer to why Wii is the way it is, Takeda says, "If we had followed the existing roadmaps we would have aimed to make it 'faster and flashier.' In other words, we would have tried to improve the speed at which it displays stunning graphics. But we could not help but ask ourselves, 'How big an impact would that direction really have on our customers?'"
Shiota explains Wii's usage of new technology for something other than better visuals: "Normally when you decide to use new semiconductor technology, you do so solely for the sake of more extravagance and higher performance. We have utilized the technology in this way so that we could minimize the power consumption of Wii; Wii can be left on 24 hours a day."
A canny interviewer, Iwata notes that "In general, no engineer hates higher performance," and asks Shiota if he had doubts over the direction Nintendo took with Wii. With no fear for his job security, Shiota admits that he did, but "Once the concept of Wii as 'a console where something new happens every day' became clear, we were certain that we had made the right choice."
You can read the whole interview - be warned it bogs down in semiconductor talk a little, showing that tech guys are the same the world over - at Nintendo's official Wii site.
September 14, 2006