Speaking to British trade paper MCV, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has made a number of surprisingly frank comments about the possible success, or otherwise, of the Revolution – the current codename for the successor to the GameCube.
"If the next generation platforms are going to create even more gorgeous looking games using further enhanced functionality, and if that next-gen market can still expand the games industry", said Iwata. "Then I'm afraid that third-parties may not support Nintendo."
"On the other hand, what we are trying to do is such a different thing, and people have come to realise that the approach we have taken with Nintendo DS can actually expand the market beyond what existing platforms can do - therefore I believe there should be more third-parties who are willing to support Nintendo's new ideas", he continued.
"Already publishers are not hesitant in disclosing their concerns over next generation gaming platforms, and development costs are rising. Publishers are afraid... of whether [next-gen] consoles can appeal to people who are not the avid game fans of today."
"If we can receive the support of the licensees, I believe we will expand third-party support. If our ideas cannot be appealing enough, then we cannot receive third-party support."
Iwata ended his comments, though, by making it clear that consumers would be the ultimate judges of a console’s success: "How [gamers] are going to react to both these [options] shall determine the future of the games industry."
Although admirably honest, Iwata’s comments do not suggest a great deal of faith within the company that the Revolution can attract third-party developers, particularly those in the West. Indeed, the Revolution has seldom been mentioned by publishers or developers when announcing next generation projects.
However, apart from betting that the Revolution’s unique properties (whatever they may be) will help to attract consumers, Iwata will be aware that for most of this and the previous generations, the company has still been able to generate enormous profits just from its own first party releases – even if these profits are much diminished from the halcyon days of the NES and SNES.