I just read an article on GamesIndustry.biz in which the Nintendo’s president, Satoru Iwata basically says that most gamers don’t want online games. He provides what he considers to be proof of this and so on. He may be right, the majority of gamers may not think online is important, but I don’t know. I can’t help but be reminded of what happened as Nintendo steadfastly stuck to the expensive cartridge format as the rest of the games industry moved to the much cheaper CDs. If the relative success of various Playstation 2 titles and Xbox Live are any indication, Nintendo is again in danger of leaving money on the table.
I think the key for Nintendo is Game Design God, Shigeru Miyamoto (you know Mario, Donkey Kong, Zelda, most of the good stuff…) and whether or not he is ready for online games. In an interview a couple of years back, he did not have much use for online games. He made valid points about the ease of use for the gamer and the added expense. But with two years behind us and a vibrant console based online gaming community on not one but two consoles, has he rethought online games yet? My guess is yes, but he doesn’t have a game design ready yet. And that is what is holding Nintendo back. When Miyamoto-san is ready, so will Nintendo.
And gamers can rest assured that an online game from Shigeru Miyamoto will be something different. So don’t expect anything like Mario meets Halo, meets Final Fantasy XI. This can only be a good thing for gamers everywhere and of course Nintendo, which is in many ways the house that Miyamoto built.