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Iwata: Near-Term Console Obsolescence 'Unthinkable'

As hardware design has played a key role in the innovation Nintendo calls its "lifeline", president Satoru Iwata says that while it can't last forever, the near end of the home console is "unthinkable."
Despite cloud-based streaming services like Gaikai and OnLive on the near horizon, home consoles will not become obsolete any time soon, says Nintendo president Satoru Iwata. Nor is the rise of social gaming on PCs, the audience for which may overlap somewhat with Nintendo's Wii and DS demographic, a threat to the company's hardware, Iwata suggests. "We do not think that the combination of a game system and dedicated software will last forever," he states in a Q&A session with analysts. "However, we do not believe that hardware dedicated to gaming shall (become obsolete and) perish in a few years. I personally think that kind of scenario is unthinkable." "The reason why we have been making systems dedicated to games is because creating engaging experiences that can not be available on other devices is the lifeline for the company," he adds. The Wii's motion control interface has been key to the game design innovations Nintendo has aimed for on the platform -- and the uniqueness that scheme can claim credit for the console's explosive growth, which by itself can be credited with a massive expansion in the gaming audience. With that in mind, says Iwata, "Should we stop what we are doing, the current business configuration with a video game system and dedicated software could become obsolete. However, as we have been thinking and proposing new ideas one after another, we do not think that it will become obsolete at all." He adds, "I have never thought that we will need to launch social games in order to avoid our offers from becoming obsolete."

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