Miyamoto Calls for Greater Developer Creativity

Says Nintendo Can Still Dominate Video Game Industry

shigeru miyamoto

With Satoru Iwata still recovering from surgery, Nintendo’s latest shareholder Q&A required other execs to take over the task of giving vague answers and indistinct promises. The often antagonistic questions were often more interesting than those answers, although Shigeru Miyamoto offered a few hints on the direction of the next Zelda game and made an interesting speech about the need for greater creativity in the industry.

Shareholder Questions: The Natives are Restless

After a softball request for some E3 footage and an appeal for videogame gifts to shareholders that was quickly shot down, questions indicated increasing dissatisfaction and distrust. There was a complaint about the lack of immersive single-player games that was blamed on the HD learning curve. There was a shareholder who felt the meeting was too bogged down in discussions of video games (odd investment choice) and who was unhappy that Iwata hadn’t resigned after Nintendo’s poor financial showing. A gamer expressed the fear that Nintendo could “become a manufacturer of health devices in the future” (a reference to Nintendo’s proposed “quality of life” system) which got a rather evasive reply promising health improvement would be fun, and one suspicious shareholder expressed concern that outside of Iwata, most of Nintendo’s directors own very little stock in the company.

Zelda: Evolution is Coming

Miyamoto was unwilling to offer any new information on the upcoming Legend of Zelda Wii U game, but did say they were “preparing to newly evolve the series for Wii U,” giving as an example the way players could rent items from the beginning in “The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds” on the 3DS.

Miyamoto’s Key to Success: Creativity in a Stagnant Industry

Miyamoto’s most interesting comments came at the end after a question comparing the difficulties for video game publishers to those of film studios in the ‘50s and ‘60s. Saying a lack of software variety at E3 was “a revelation of creative immaturity on our part as creators in the video game industry,” Miyamoto referred to former Nintendo president Hiroshi Yamauchi’s belief “that in the entertainment business, only one can become strong and all of the others will become weak,” because “if you create something unprecedented … consumers do not think it is necessary to purchase products from others.”

“My comment may be at risk of being misinterpreted,” he continued, “but in the digital content field, I think that our creativity is still immature. In the world of comic books and movies, there are people who are challenging themselves to be even more creative than before in creating their content. I believe that we … are still in a transitional period and will eventually step up into the phases where we expand and enrich the substance of our creativity. If we can manage Nintendo without losing sight of this challenge, I believe we might be able to create new entertainment that dominates the industry.“

Nintendo has been accused of a lack of creativity in its recycling of characters and genres, it is unclear whether Miyamoto is committing to bold new ideas or simply spitballing.