Iwata 3DS

3D might be the most distinct feature of the 3DS, but it’s not the only thing that sets it apart. It is, however, something that could be entirely ignored in future game releases — even those from Nintendo.

An English translation of Nintendo’s recent financial results Q&A has gone live, giving us more insight into the company’s decision to drop the price of the 3DS so early in its life cycle, among other things. CEO Satoru Iwata addressed a number of questions about the system’s 3D capabilities, prompting him to outline the difficulties of conveying 3D through traditional advertising. He also admitted that 3D isn’t a necessary feature for every 3DS game.

“I think there could be a Nintendo 3DS software title which does not use the 3D feature at all, and I believe Nintendo will develop such software,” he said. “Instead, other features of the Nintendo 3DS should be focused on. It might be a communication feature, or other functions (such as the gyro sensor or the motion sensor). The important thing is that each respective software title has its own characteristics, and appeals to the consumers in a way that fits the software. So I am not worried in a way like, ‘The value of the Nintendo 3DS will decrease when the novelty of 3D wears off.’”

That said, he believes both of Nintendo’s big 3DS releases later this year, Super Mario 3D Land and Mario Kart 7, feature a strong 3D component.

“But I do not think consumers would be satisfied if every software title we release in the next year only focuses 3D,” he continued. “So, I believe we have to implement new proposals focused on another appealing feature of the Nintendo 3DS, which is the communication feature.”

It’s an honest answer, and it’s also probably the right one. I know I like to play with 3D turned on, but there’s no shortage of people who prefer to turn it off altogether, and there’s no reason why games shouldn’t be developed where 3D goes unused.

Another admission from Iwata was that Nintendo needs to reconsider how it closes its platforms off to anything other than other Nintendo systems. He presented one possibility of something that could be done along these lines: “[I]f our platforms are connected to other open platforms in some way and, when you are out, your smartphone gives you information from your friend like, ‘Let’s play with this game tonight,’ or ‘I broke your record on this game,’ you will be motivated to start a new game.”

Uncharted 2 tweets

It’s not the most compelling example; many Twitter users can recall how annoying it was to see tweets getting sent out about someone’s progress in Uncharted 2. Regardless, while Nintendo isn’t about to release its games for your phone, it wouldn’t mind taking advantage of them for use in its games.

“We are currently drastically changing our way of thinking regarding networks, which might have looked very closed before. We would like to respond to the changing times in this way, and our basic policy is to keep the value of our software assets and to do business in a manner where these assets are not easily depleted.”

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By Chris Pereira