Nintendo has told shareholders that it’s “investigating” advancing technologies such as 5G and cloud streaming but has explained that it won’t simply “chase trends” for the sake of it.
During the 79th Annual General Meeting for Shareholders (opens in new tab), Nintendo representatives were asked directly about how the company will respond to recent advancements in VR, 5G and “alliances between rivals in the arena of cloud gaming”.
With the next generation of consoles from Sony and Microsoft being heavily rumoured to put a lot of focus on streaming and Google entering the streaming arena with its own Stadia later this year, there was some concern that Nintendo has been “a little slow” when it comes to keeping up with the competition.
Keeping up with the competition
However, just because Nintendo isn’t promoting any plans for these new technologies doesn’t mean it’s ignoring them entirely. In response to the question, Shigeru Miyamoto offered assurance that the company has been working on new technologies like 5G, VR and streaming “from the very beginning, and have been experimenting with them in a variety of ways”.
As far as cloud streaming is concerned, Miyamoto sees it becoming “more widespread in the future” but added that he has “no doubt that there will continue to be games that are fun because they are running locally and not on the cloud.”
These sentiments were echoed by Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa who said that while Nintendo can’t see all games becoming cloud games any time soon, it is aware that it “must keep up with such changes in the environment.”
It was Nintendo director and senior executive officer Ko Shiota who focused in directly on the latest buzzword: 5G.
“5G can send a large amount of data without latency. We are aware that this technology has been gaining a lot of attention, and Nintendo is also investigating it.”
However, Shiota added that Nintendo doesn’t “only chase trends in technology.”
As with VR and cloud streaming, Nintendo won’t be jumping straight onto a 5G bandwagon and will instead “think about both how the technology will be applied to gameplay and what new experiences and gameplay we can offer consumers as a result of that application.”
Not only that, cost will be a big consideration for pushing forward with 5G. According to Shiota “It’s difficult to use even an outstanding technology if the cost is too high, so we will continue to also thoroughly investigate the cost of new technologies.”
It’s already known that Nintendo has been experimenting with streaming cloud-based games on the Switch in Japan (via Kotaku (opens in new tab)) but doing so requires a high quality WiFi connection. 5G connections would certainly make streaming on the Switch a more portable experience, but it seems likely that Nintendo won’t pursue it further unless there is sufficient demand at the right price.
Given 5G has only just gone live in a handful of cities across the world and is still experiencing some teething problems, it seems safe to say that Nintendo still has some time to experiment further.