After Nintendo of Europe’s Laurent Fischer stepped in it last week with his careless “geeks and otaku” comment, you just knew he got a scolding behind closed doors, and that an apology of some sort was forthcoming.
Well, good news and slightly better news: it happened, and he did it with a caveat of sorts. Nintendo is apparently well on their way to addressing the Wii storage issue, but it won’t be with a hard drive.
Well, I suppose apology is the wrong word. He’s sorry I guess, but Fischer insists the comments were a joke (a bad one, reminiscent of Nintendo circa 1990’s). Perhaps to make it up to us, he teased the fact that Nintendo is “working on a solution” to the Wii’s terrible case of shrinkage (see also: Seinfeld). But don’t get too excited, as there’s “definitely there’s no plan to issue hardware,” he told GameIndustry.biz.
“We definitely detect that they [gamers] are serious and we know there is an issue in this, so it’s something that we’re working on,” he told GamesIndustry.biz. But Fischer poured cold water on rumours – stemming from recent hints dropped by Nintendo President Satoru Iwata – that the company was planning an external solution.
“Definitely there’s no plan to issue hardware, an external hard drive, but we know that we have an issue in that area,” he added. “It’s very obvious and we’re perfectly aware of it, but there’s nothing we can say beyond this.”
Pressed on what this entailed, Fischer said he was not yet privy to the details, explaining that “this area is fully handled by the development team in Japan. It’s very linked to the overall strategy; that’s something they’re working on.”
So I guess there’s only two options left, unless I’m really missing something obvious here. First, Nintendo patches the firmware, and really matures the SD card support to the point where users can seamlessly move information back and forth, and plays games off of the cards themselves. This seems inevitable, given the apparent simplicity of the update.
The second is a bit more ambitious, but certainly attainable. Basically, Nintendo goes into the cloud, a la Steam or some other similar web services-based platform. Gamers would buy games, but they wouldn’t *technically* reside on their physical machine. Instead, you’d access them as you needed them, and they’d be served up by Nintendo. It’s a pretty common thing to do today (think of all those Google Apps you use), but for a company like Nintendo, with its online hiccups to date, I don’t think it’s plausible just yet. Unless they’ve been secretly working their tails off behind the curtain.
Bottom line is we’ll see something at E3 about this. I’m certain of it.