Nintendo praises console diversity

Rob Crossley
Nintendo praises console diversity

Nintendo UK boss David Yarnton believes rival firms Sony and Microsoft are as equally important in promoting the industry to the next generation of game development hopefuls.

Speaking at the Learning Without Frontiers event today, Yarnton set aside old rivalries to say the arrival of both Sony and Microsoft in the console business has been beneficial for the industry as a whole.

He said all three platform holders were crucial “to promote game development, providing the extra tools for developers and help them experiment and explore new ideas and concepts”.

“As an industry we can provide people with a lot of different options across formats with the view of having something that can appeal to everyone,” he said.

There are “really powerful programs and games that come from Sony and Microsoft” that can both help developers and encourage industry growth, he added.

Yarnton cited Media Molecule’s LittleBigPlanet as a “fantastic example” of this.

Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo are “all classified in the same industry, but of course we’re also different”, Yarnton added, going on to explain that Nintendo has challenged the status quo and expanded the market with both the Wii and DS systems.

“We’re very proud to be different,” he added.

Yarnton made his address at the Learning Without Frontiers event in London, a three-day conference for discussion and debate on digital media, education, technology and entertainment.

In what proved to be a well-received speech, Yarnton said Nintendo had helped eradicate the “old image of a gamer 16-24 antisocial male” and the stereotype of games as overly violent.

“That might be true for some games,” he added, “everyone I’m sure has heard of Call Of Duty, but the industry is far more diverse than that.”

Nintendo’s home console and handheld offering has famously captured a wider demographic of games players.

Yarnton spoke of meeting a 96 year-old who plays Wii regularly, and is dubbed ‘the strike queen’ by those she shares a nursing home with.

“We have children and families all paying together,” he added. “Almost 50 per cent of Nintendo users are female. We believe at Nintendo games can have more social credibility than being something enjoyed in isolation.”

The purveying message in Yarnton’s speech was that “games are good for us; socially culturally and economically” – a sentiment, however straightforward, that battles with presumptions routinely made in the wider media.

In a celebration of gaming’s impact, Yarnton spoke fun-centres in children's hospitals that used video games, where he said that children talked to each other more in the games area and, apparently, recovered faster.

Yarnton also spoke of how games should play a bigger part in education. He said that today’s youth “shouldn’t have a monopoly on fun, and fun should be at the heart of education".

Elsewhere in the speech he said Nintendo “does not look for the government help, apart from for protection of intellectual property”.

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Tags: Microsoft , Nintendo , Sony , PlayStation , ds , wii , xbo 360 , david yarnton

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