In an interview with Associated Press the creator of the iconic Super Mario and Zelda games said, “For the time being, our focus is on the Wii U hardware, but Nintendo as a whole has groups working on ideas for new hardware systems.
“While we’re busy working on software for the Wii U, we have production lines that are working on ideas for what the next system might be.”
Launched in November 2012, the console, which comes with a special tablet-style controller called the GamePad, did not fair well to begin with. It sold slowly and gamers complained about the paucity of titles available for the system.
This year has seen an upturn in interest, though, with critically acclaimed titles such as Mario Kart 8 and Bayonetta 2. The machine has now sold more than 7m units worldwide, which is still a long way behind its competitors, the Xbox One (10m) and PlayStation 4 (13m).
For a while, there was speculation that Nintendo may choose to pull out of the hardware market, instead concentrating on producing its hit software titles for other consoles, as well as smartphones and PC. It is the route Sega took after the comparative failure of its Dreamcast console in 2000.
However, in May, the Nintendo CEO, Satoru Iwata, confirmed to investors that the company would remain in the hardware market, although would not be drawn on further details.
Miyamoto’s confirmation will no doubt lead to speculation that the company is set to announce a new machine at this year’s E3 conference in Los Angeles. But with several key Wii U titles due in 2015 – including a new adventure in the blockbusting Zelda series – this is unlikely.
The legendary game designer did hint at a possible launch title, though. Talking about the evolution of his Mario character over the past 30 years, he said: “I think that maybe when we release the next hardware system, you can look forward to seeing Mario take on a new role or in a new game.”
According to many pundits at the time, one of the major weaknesses of the Wii U launch was that it was not backed with any big titles for classic Nintendo characters. The company is unlikely to make that mistake again.
This article was written by Keith Stuart, for theguardian.com on Monday 22nd December 2014 13.38 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010