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Video: Iwata reflects on a changing game industry at GDC 2011

"The process of game development is the same for everyone. At Nintendo, it's just as stressful, just as frustrating," said Iwata at GDC 2011. "If there's a way to make it easy, we haven't discovered it yet."
"The process of game development is the same for everyone. At Nintendo, it's just as stressful, just as frustrating, and there never seems to be enough time, manpower or solutions. If there's a way to make it easy, we haven't discovered it yet."

- Nintendo's Satoru Iwata delivering the keynote speech at GDC 2011

Amid the launch of the Nintendo 3DS in 2011, company president Satoru Iwata took to the stage at GDC to reflect on the state of the game industry and voice his concerns about the then-nascent problem of discoverability in digital marketplaces that were rapidly overflowing with games.

"A few games do become mega-hits, but it's not easy. With such competition, even being noticed is extremely difficult; huge investments promise nothing," said Iwata. "Now, consider this. The corresponding number of games available to download from app sites is in the tens of thousands. Game development is drowning."

He was speaking at a time when Nintendo was coming down from the remarkable success of the DS and the Wii, and commiserating with other game makers about the challenges of continuing to make premium games and consoles at a time when it seemed like the rising tide of mobile games might swamp the industry.

It was a seminal speech, and if you missed it in person you can now watch it for free over on the official GDC YouTube channelFor more insight into Satoru Iwata's philosophy of game design, you can read this reflection on his career (with plenty of wisdom direct from Iwata himself) or this collection of quotes.

About the GDC Vault

In addition to this presentation, the GDC Vault and its new YouTube channel offers numerous other free videos, audio recordings, and slides from many of the recent Game Developers Conference events, and the service offers even more members-only content for GDC Vault subscribers.

Those who purchased All Access passes to recent events like GDC, GDC Europe, and GDC Next already have full access to GDC Vault, and interested parties can apply for the individual subscription via a GDC Vault subscription page. Group subscriptions are also available: game-related schools and development studios who sign up for GDC Vault Studio Subscriptions can receive access for their entire office or company by contacting staff via the GDC Vault group subscription page. Finally, current subscribers with access issues can contact GDC Vault technical support.

Gamasutra and GDC are sibling organizations under parent UBM Tech

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