Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has reiterated his scepticism when it comes to the notion of cloud gaming, particularly in regard to action games, expressing confidence in the continued success of physical consoles.
The Nintendo head honcho also played down the importance of graphical prowess and improved console performance, citing cost recovery and "saturation" as serious issues.
Speaking during a Q&A published following Nintendo's recent financial report, Iwata responded to a question about the industry's future and the theory that home consoles might be replaced with cloud streaming services. He expressed confusion that the fact that many consider cloud gaming to "be the future", suggesting that the technological limitations severely hampered the notion of such services currently.
"The term "cloud gaming" is one of the words we have lately heard so often, but I would like people to understand that there are certain things that cloud gaming cannot achieve. [...] The time to transmit data over an Internet connection is never negligible, there is always some latency before you receive the result of your input."
Iwata noted that this might not affect certain games, but that "highly interactive games" would surely suffer.
"For some highly interactive games, action games in particular, the time required to reflect the push of a button on the screen is critical and the frame rate (the number of times a screen can be updated in a given second) determines the fluidity of the movements. This means that there are some types of games that can be put on the Internet and others that cannot. By the laws of physics, it always takes some time to transmit data, and given the current level of Internet technology, there is bound to be some latency during the processes of a server receiving data, producing images instantly and sending them back. There are many things that cloud gaming cannot do by design, but this fact has not been communicated well to the public, and I find it strange that many people claim that cloud gaming is the future."
The Nintendo president also went on to cast doubt over the importance of increased console power, suggesting that the industry will soon reach a crunch point where cost recovery on expensive development becomes a serious issue, and that innovation will prove more key than graphical grunt.
"If we try to linearly pursue [more powerful technology], software development will become so complicated that we will eventually face a situation where cost recovery becomes a serious issue. Therefore we feel that we are nearing a saturation point in terms of simply improving performance or enhancing graphics. What is far more important for the future of video games is whether we can make new propositions in other aspects and create games out of something that people never expected to see in the form of a game."
Elsewhere in the Q&A, Iwata also returned to the matter of overseas markets, this time with regard to the 3DS, although the wording could equally be used to apply to the companies issues with the Wii U as well. The president noted that overseas hardware sales where disappointing - something that he put down to a failure to develop understanding of the value of Nintendo's products.
"The current sales levels of Nintendo 3DS in the overseas markets are not at all satisfactory in regard to the hardware’s potential. This is not happening due to external factors. In our understanding, this is because we could not fully convey the appeal of the Nintendo 3DS platform and as a result, fewer consumers purchased it than we had expected. So, obviously, our aim is to increase our hardware sales more than in this fiscal year."