Speaking in an interview with Japanese magazine Famitsu, legendary Nintendo designer Shigeru Miyamoto has commented on Nintendo’s online plans for the Nintendo DS.
In the interview, Miyamoto stated that it was his opinion that online gaming will become mainstream in three to four years. He also indicated that Nintendo was already preparing for this eventuality, starting with applications for the Nintendo DS.
Indeed, Miyamoto went further by revealing that Square Enix and Nintendo are working on an online project for the new console, which was implied to be something other than the already announced Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles
Although the GameCube is the only current generation console not to feature prominent online capabilities (though a broadband adapter and modem have been released for it), the company has experimented with online functionality for years - with the NES, N64 and particularly SNES having complex online services in Japan.
The company has always maintained that online gaming is not yet a significant enough draw for mainstream customers to justify the additional cost of development and creating and maintaining an online infrastructure.
Although this attitude could be accused of being short-sighted, the company’s huge profits (it announced six month profits of $389m just yesterday) and the rough level of parity between the world-wide GameCube and Xbox user bases do seem to justify the decision, to some degree.