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Analyst says Nintendo should create an Apple Arcade-like service for their back catalog, fans/industry members discuss what happens when Shigeru Miyamoto retires

A Nintendo without Miyamoto?

Back in mid April, we shared a CNBC documentary on Nintendo's history that was quite well done, and equally as interesting. If you missed out on that, you can check it out here.

In that feature, a number of Nintendo analysts, fans, and more discuss various aspects of the Big N. In one section, Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter chats about his belief that Nintendo should start up an Apple Arcade-like service.

One thing they have that nobody else has is a gigantic library, more than a thousand handheld games, and if they were to emulate Apple Arcade and put a thousand games on it, they would have 100 million subscribers paying them $5 a month. It's not reflecting in their share price because they haven't monetized it yet, but if you're looking at Nintendo going forward, I think that's the answer.

In other words, Pachter thinks there should be another Virtual Console service. It's not clear as to whether he thinks this should be on phones or on Nintendo's hardware, but there's no denying people would jump on the idea.

That's not the only topic discussed, though. The importance of Shigeru Miyamoto is brought up on the documentary, and he's no doubt had an absolutely huge impact on Nintendo's gaming content. This leads to the question of what happens when Shigeru Miyamoto retires? Amir Anvarzadeh, Japan equity market strategist at Asymmetric Advisors, had this to say.

Miyamoto-san has obviously been a driving force of the gaming business initially for Nintendo, but Nintendo has a very deep bench; Nintendo has a very, very strong development base.

On the other hand, Alex Handy, founder and director of The Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment, isn't quite sure what'll happen to the Big N after Miyamoto's departure.

I think that some of the talent they have is once-in-a-generation talent and can never be replaced, so I wonder what happens to a post-Shigeru Miyamoto Nintendo.

Miyamoto leaving Nintendo will surely be a sad moment for Nintendo fans, and a major hit to the company's efforts. That said, Miyamoto and other devs in Nintendo have been working hard to foster young creators to help drive their success going forward. I definitely think they'll be okay, and most likely thrive in new ways.

Shigeru Miyamoto becomes a plot point on NBC's "Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist"

Miyamoto's extraordinary name-drop

Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist is a musical comedy-drama that started airing on NBC back in January 2020. I haven't been watching it, but my sister is a big fan. She reached out to me the other day to say that the latest episode had a whole section about Shigeru Miyamoto, and I had her record the segment for you guys and gals. I apologize, as the volume is a bit low.

After watching the clip, you're probably wondering what happened in the rest of the story. Turns out the original person that was supposed to give a speech came back into the fold, so Miyamoto was no longer needed. Too bad, as it would have been amazing to see him actually make a cameo!

Miyamoto on making new things, carrying Yamauchi's values, collaborative content, hobbies, Pokemon GO, and much more

The final part of his Famitsu interview

It's finally time, boys and girls. The last part of Famitsu's interview with Shigeru Miyamoto has been translated. Check out the last round-up of details from the interview below.

“Why Nintendo makes something that’s never been seen before”

“I did a number of lectures at CEDEC, saying such a thing while also talked that operating staff and managers are the ones who restrain the stretched creative staff in the workplace. If you were to say ‘It will sell if we make it like this’ without relying on the stretched ideas in the workplace, the result would end up being something that might exist in society. But something that might already exist would not sell, would it? (laughs) That’s why Nintendo makes something that’s never been seen before.”

Yamauchi saying “Make something never seen before”

“Mr. Hiroshi Yamauchi was the one who said ‘Make something never seen before’. We came along that in a very stretched way. I think the difference is extremely big. That’s why I also said ‘To everyone in management, please tell people in the workplace to make things in a stretched way’ at CEDEC (laughs). [The term ‘stretched’ here should mean to take your time and don’t be too hasty]

Sharing Yamauchi’s philosophy after he was no longer president

- Nintendo never said “Make something that will sell globally”
- there had been some talks of concerns like “Won’t there be any problems when bringing this overseas?”
- everyone in the company makes things normally and naturally
- the team found themselves really lucky that the things they made could expand worldwide
- Miyamoto wanted to share this philosophy with newer staff that joined after Yamauchi was no longer the company’s president

Miyamoto isn’t closely related to Nintendo Labo and Ring Fit Adventure

- these two titles don't really come from Miyamoto, and he was happy to watch the developers making them with a high degree of freedom

Nintendo wanting to cooperate with more companies

- Nintendo wants to expand and cooperate with various companies while taking great care of their own game characters
- if it goes well, there would be more opportunities for people to get in touch with Nintendo characters in an even larger scope
- there should be more parents that can safely watch their children interact with Nintendo, just like Disney movies

Miyamoto wanting Nintendo to keep doing new things

- Miyamoto wants Nintendo to keep doing new things.
- Nintendo could end up becoming not a game company, character company, or movie company, but an entertainment office
- while many people may think development [of games, software etc] is an internal-only work, Miyamoto originally had lots of outside work

Wanting to make something considered interesting

- Miyamoto has been communicating with many people from outside the games industry
- it’s fun for him to look at some chances getting generated
- he has seen his desires changing from ‘drawing manga’ to ‘making something that surprises everyone’ to ‘making something that would be considered interesting by everyone’

Miyamoto’s hobbies

- Miyamoto's hobbies include DIY carpentry and re-arranging his own room
- his origin is from Industrial Design, so he would be restless if things he had made weren’t being preserved as-is
- Miyamoto's wife is into gardening
- when his wife does some gardening, Miyamoto would provide wood frames and pour cement

Guessing item heights

- Miyamoto can guess a seat’s height just by looking at it
- the best seat height for Japanese people is around 38 to 42 centimeters
- people from Scandinavia would prefer 43 to 44 cm because they have longer legs and also wear shoes

On enjoying Pokémon GO

- it's been a long while since he last enjoyed a game made by somebody else
- when enjoying something made by other people, one can learn the process of how customers can understand things
- this should impact a developer’s approach to convey the fun factors of their games to customers
- even Miyamoto’s wife, who almost never plays any games, gets very serious in playing Pokémon GO
- she's been memorizing all the detailed gameplay features of Pokémon GO
- she is also very keen on achieving the weekly rewards
- Pokémon GO’s success doesn’t make Miyamoto jealous of it

Miyamoto on being viewed as a regular guy, having fun, and taking criticism

- Miyamoto wants to be treated as a normal person in his household and neighborhood
- he wants people to focus on the games that he had made rather than himself
- Miyamoto is really enjoying his job because at his current age, he now thinks “If I’m not having fun, I’d be at a loss”
- anyone would be angry if a game they created gets criticized harshly by someone, but Miyamoto is making it more enjoyable by turning that criticism into energy for him to think how to overcome those critics

Miyamoto wants to work on a smaller project, has "exciting things" on his plate, and teases a connection to his hobbies

So close to sharing new details...

The Famitsu interview with Shigeru Miyamoto is an insane wealth of information all Miyamoto and Nintendo in general. In the latest snippet, translated by OniDino, we get to hear about Miyamoto's interest in creating a smaller project, and also what's keeping him busy now.

I often think in the back of my head that it’d be nice to work on a small project with a group of several people. But at this moment in time, I’ve got a lot of exciting things on my plate other than that. ...When that time comes, if I can somehow discover an inspiration that I haven’t had before, I’d really like to make that. Nowadays, if I say, “What do you think about making this?” to those around me, they’re not very receptive. I know it’s going nowhere when they respond with, “Oh, huh. Interesting.” (Laughs)

A bit later in the interview, Miyamoto is asked if he's feeling inspired by everyday things like he has been in the past. Things similar to what inspired him for Pikmin and so on. Miyamoto says that is indeed the case, but when he's asked to share what he's been enjoying in everyday life right now, he says his PR person told him not to share!

Miyamoto on loading times, making Super Mario Run, working on Super Nintendo World, the Super Mario movie, and more

More Miyamoto musings

Yes, there's even more to cover from Famitsu's extensive interview with Shigeru Miyamoto. Check out the latest rundown of details below.

Designing GameCube and Wii controllers

- Miyamoto’s team made the controller for GameCube, but they redid the controller scheme from scratch for Wii’s concept
- some parts in the Wii U were also made with such a concept

Nintendo’s accessibility

- back when storage media for games shifted from cassette ROMs to optical discs, Nintendo tried to protect customer comfort
- they were troubled when seeing some developers out there didn't care about a game's loading time

Talking to Apple regarding Super Mario Run

- Nintendo talked with Apple about “wanting to make something that will make customers feel ‘I can safely play this because it’s a Nintendo game’ including the payment method”
- Nintendo is aware that the gameplay method they proposed may not be desired by all of their customers

The ‘Nintendo-like’ term

- Nintendo thinks about consumer standards instead of market standards or current trends
- customer sensation when interacting with their hardware/software is deeply considered
- this has helped Nintendo reach a wide audience

A lot of Nintendo TOKYO visitors don’t own a Switch

- a lot of visitors to Nintendo TOKYO still don’t have a Switch
- these customers came only because they are interested in Nintendo
- Miyamoto wonders if all of them can be persuaded to buy a Switch
- Miyamoto knows it’s going to take a very long time to sell the Switch in the entire worldwide market
- Miyamoto hopes he can recommend people buy Switch and its games before other character goods like figures
- Miyamoto would like customers to buy two games before buying figures, and he joked about doing too much licensing

More thoughts on gameplay streaming

- Miyamoto thinks streaming games may pique interest in those titles for those who watch
- Miyamoto doesn't want to watch his own games, but he'll watch games made by others

Playing Pokémon GO

- Miyamoto's grandchild and daughter-in-law started first last year, then his wife followed suit, and then Miyamoto joined in

Gatherings for gaming fans

- Miyamoto noticed that there is a place nearby his house where middle-aged people gather and trade information about games
- Miyamoto sees that both gameplay videos and IRL gatherings let people have much fun in playing games while trading info

Nintendo’s sense of ‘safety and relief’

- making large-scale games recently takes three to five years
- this means children currently in the lower elementary grades will have graduated by the time or release
- Nintendo wants more opportunities to get in touch with them, to give them Nintendo’s sense of ‘safety and relief’
- this is why they created real-life venues like Nintendo TOKYO and the Super Nintendo World attraction

Giving guidelines to Universal

- Miyamoto has been working closely with Universal to develop the Super Nintendo World's attractions
- Miyamoto would give guidelines on using the IP, while Universal would handle the safety details
- it was decided that the device structures would be made in Orlando and manufactured in Hollywood
it was suggested that the first park should be in Japan, especially since the Tokyo Olympics will be held soon

The upcoming Mario movie

- Nintendo used to think they could make a movie on their own with the same amount of staff and materials needed for a game
- Miyamoto was against it because it would be a rude to movie directors
- Miyamoto also feared Mario wouldn’t be used to his liking

Miyamoto reveals the moment he knew he could trust Universal to help make a Mario movie

The moment that sealed the deal

Nintendo and Universal are teaming up for Super Nintendo World, but they also have another collaboration in the Super Mario animated movie. The project is being worked on by animation studio Illumination, which is owned by Universal. While we haven't seen anything of the film yet, it seems the pairing of the two companies is working really well.

In an interview with Famitsu, Shigeru Miyamoto discussed how the project came to be, and how he knew teaming with Illumination was the right way to go. Check out the translation courtesy of OniDino below.

When we started our partnership with Universal, I heard that the CEO of Illumination, Chris Meledandri, wanted to meet with me – he was also signed with Universal. So I met with him and talked. He brought things with him that I had mentioned in interviews in the past to say that our ways of thinking and doing things are one in the same.

I didn’t know what kind of angle he was getting at, but I’ll never forget when he talked to me about why he had failed before. That’s when I thought, “I think I can trust this guy.” That was right around the time I was considering movies, so we decided to have him do the animation for us when he said, “What do you say? Let’s make something together.” It took a really long time for things to come together, but we finally found our way.

Thanks to Dondom95 for the heads up!

Miyamoto says it was the right time for Switch to release

Timing is everything

The Wii U didn't really find an audience with gamers in general, or Nintendo fans specifically. The Switch has been the complete opposite. Millions of people have flocked to the system and continue to do so. In an interview with Famitsu, Shigeru Miyamoto says that part of the Switch's success has to do with its release timing.

The Switch released with good timing in this age where people are walking around and using devices like smartphones. And yet, they get loaded up with a lot of data. So for this reason, we thought it should be relatively easy for a single console with a single technological architecture to succeed, given the situation. For mobile [gaming], there are many different hardware versions that all have to be accounted for, so you don’t know what else is going to come along with it all.

Miyamoto on being called a creator, involvement in Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Run, gaming for the family, Iwata's ethos, and more

More wise words from Nintendo's brightest mind

Miyamoto's massive interview with Famitsu is still bringing us all sorts of juicy details. Check out yet another massive round of tidbits below, as translated by BlackKite/JapaneseNintendo.

Being called creators/making creations

- Shigesato Itoi had once said “[Being called] Creators or Creations are absurd.”
- Itoi said God is the only creator, and everyone else is editing
- Miyamoto agrees with this and considers himself an Editor
- for Miyamoto, making games is like the sensation of throwing a dart with your own style while ignoring angles and stances

Miyamoto’s involvement in Breath of the Wild

- Miyamoto was most fixated on controls
- he was also involved in the game's conception, as well as nailing the first 30 minutes

Miyamoto's involvement in Mario titles

- Miyamoto sets the basis of ‘what’s okay for Mario to do’ and checks in during development
- Miyamoto sets the basis because no one else has taken on the job
- “Rather than only myself, if nobody decides on it, ‘then I should do it to the best of my ability.’ As we repeated this, it gradually became like that. Well, I should at least get the privilege to say ‘I don’t want to’ (laughs).”
- Miyamoto only works on Mario games closely or briefly
- in the case of Super Mario Run, Miyamoto worked on it closely
- “[…] When I had Yoichi Kotabe draw a picture of Mario, I think I said a point that ‘Mario does not kill people’. When I think about it now, that basis may also be easy to understand. But it doesn’t mean ‘he doesn’t trample insects underfoot either’. That’s the moderate sense of Mario. Such a basis has also pretty much permeated on everyone even now.”
- some people got worried about Mario’s appearance in Smash Bros., asking if it was okay to show him punching
- Miyamoto said, “Well, Mario also did things like pulling a turtle out of its shell…”
- the sound effects for Mario punching were also made cuter to make the idea more palatable

Miyamoto drawing Bambi

- when Miyamoto joined Nintendo, the company worked on a remake of Disney Home Games board game set
- Miyamoto had a set in his own house from his childhood, and he didn’t realize until then that the set was made by Nintendo
- Miyamoto had to draw pictures of Bambi and others, and then visit Disney Japan to have them approved

Gaming for the family

- Miyamoto and the whole company really hoped families would pull out and play Nintendo games in the living room
- this was the image Nintendo had during the board game/playing card era, and they wanted this to continue with video games
- Miyamoto’s development team had a direction of making the Nintendo Switch “an item that wouldn’t look weird at the center of a family”

N64 having more proficient interfaces than its competitors

- “During Nintendo 64’s times, when I look at other companies’ hardware, I got to think once again that ‘we’re the most proficient in the interfaces.’ And during Wii’s times, we became able to clearly say it’s a ‘tool at the center of a family’.”

Satoru Iwata wanting to bring back the “Anything goes” ethos

- there was a period where anyone could enjoy games in their own ways regardless of the game's intended presentations
- games around the Gamecube era had hardly anything like that
- this lead Satoru Iwata to saying he wanted to bring back that “Anything goes” feeling

Miyamoto has moved on from "upending the teatable" when a game is in mid-development, discusses his role nowadays

Mellowing out

Miyamoto is famous for a lot of things, but to hardcore Nintendo fans, we know him as the developer who's willing to take things back to square one in the middle of development when he feels like things aren't panning out. Well, it looks like we can't make jokes about that anymore, as Miyamoto says he's moved on from those days.

In an interview with Famitsu, Miyamoto opens up about his reformed ways. You can read the blurb below, courtesy of a translation from Oni Dino.

I might say something in the early stages of development like, “What if we didn’t do this?” Or “If you’re going to do that, then what about this?” But I no longer come in mid-development to completely rework things. I don’t “upend the tea table” just as a hobby or something, I only do so if I can see how the whole game will pan out.

By changing the structure of things when a game isn’t turning out right, I “upend the tea table” when I can see how things like the visuals and the merits of the game can change. If I can’t see a clear vision for the game, then that doesn’t mean something should be changed. After all, you can’t see all the key components unless you’re the director.

Altogether, it sounds like Miyamoto really is stepping aside to let the younger generation of devs do their thing. When asked about his involvement in projects nowadays, Miyamoto says he sticks to tweaking a game’s controls, working on the user-friendliness, and offering input on early concept stages.

Miyamoto shares thoughts on being named a "Person of Cultural Merit," talks Nintendo and sequels, mobile support, and the desire to create new fun

The legend speaks!

We learned earlier in the week that the latest issue of Famitsu would include an interview with none other than Shigeru Miyamoto. That issue is now available, and the interview tidbits are being pored over. The gang at JapaneseNintendo has cooked up some translations with BlackKite, which you can find below.

Thoughts on being named a 'Person Of Cultural Merit' By Japanese government

“Games are not created by a single person, so I’m very sorry for receiving this honour personally. The members with whom I started developing games together from almost 40 years ago are still developing together with me even now, while cooperating with developers all around the world. I’m deeply grateful that this team – which has a sense of stability – is getting valued, and also for video games to be given spotlight as Japanese culture. I shall continue devoting myself to make people worldwide smile even from hereafter.

If games could just be created alone, I would have said ‘Thank you’ in a bit more dignified way. But since games are like combined arts, that’s not really the case. However, I hadn’t really gotten a spotlight for a one-man job, so when I think about it… I feel like I met with an interesting job (laughs).

Rather than ‘We’re finally rewarded for what we’ve been working on’, the current lifestyle is getting filled with digital media. So when I think about the past, I feel like ‘I’m glad video games have now become so common.’”

Nintendo doesn't "just make sequels"

“[…] Even though Super Mario games make a series, we don’t just simply make sequels; we make one when a new technology shows up. For example, one when a Mega ROM with large capacity showed up, and then one when CPU processing speed has become 16-bit. Once we’ve seen new ideas and materials that can be realized with a new hardware, we make it. As a result of piling that up, I think it’s able to get valued continuously.”

Mobile devices expanding opportunities to reach new players and make new gamers

“...everyone has a mobile [device] that can play games in ordinary lives. It has accelerated ever since [people] start owning smartphones. There are also people who have smartphones but never played games at all. They already have the device, so the hurdle to deliver games to them is always lower than making them buy game consoles. So now I think ‘Ah, this keeps expanding the opportunities. This is fun’.”

Making new fun experiences

Finally, Miyamoto shared some thoughts on where his interest lies in game creation nowadays. He's moved on from wanting to create games that simply aim to include new courses. He'd rather push himself to make something that results in a more fun experience, rather than just adding new content for the sake of adding.

“[…] If we make something that has really new fun factors not seen anywhere else, it should continue to sell for many years instead of disappearing one month after its release. That’s why I made it to go that way.”

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