||Whenever we are ready to launch a new hardware, that hardware development team starts working on something new. As long as Nintendo's internal hardware developers are concerned, they are always trying to think or actually developing something new. On the other hand, if we should develop and market any and all such new hardware ideas, an unrealistic number of new hardware would be launched, so we won't do so. Many ideas are being exchanged, and so many experiments are being conducted internally at Nintendo at any given moment. Among them, we will select a few ideas that have the biggest potential to be welcomed by the market or have the biggest appeal to the software creators and they are going to be materialized to become the actual commodities. For example, Nintendo launched Game Boy, Game Boy Color and Game Boy Advance, but there had been a number of prototypes internally developed but never revealed to the public. Now that the development of Nintendo DS and DS Lite were over, the DS development team must be working on a multiple new projects. Of course, we are thinking about what we will do next. We are not lazy not thinking about the future. But I can't tell today which one of them will be actually commercialized. You asked about the expected lifecycle of DS but, to be honest with you, I doubt if it is right for us to think of portable games from the viewpoint of any expected lifecycle. The actual life span of any portable game machine must be more dependent upon various factors such as whether or not the market still demands it or demands new product or upon the cost factors of different major components and relevant technologies. We have to determine the launch timing of new products also by looking at the availability of relevant new technologies and infrastructures to support the new features of the product. In other words, we are not thinking like, "We will need to complete the development of a new product around that time because the life span of DS is expected to finish then." Further, forecasting the life span of DS is difficult and doesn't make much sense now that it has been expanding the new market. More specifically, we don't need to make new hardware simply because one of our competitions are trying to make a beefed-up version of their existing machine. So, we will be working on a variety of different projects on an ongoing basis. And then, when the time comes when we think, "the software creators are having a hard time coming up with unique ideas with the existing hardware but we can create brand-new hardware with this new basic technology we have worked on which will encourage software creators to make brand new applications," that is the time we will use some of the technologies to develop the new hardware. This is our basic thinking on the launch timing of new hardware. |
If you ask me today how Lite will evolve from now, I cannot answer. Those who have actually developed DS Lite are working on a variety of different ideas on Lite, not knowing if any of them will be commercialized. We have no answer what will be used in the end.
I understand that the possibility of Microsoft's entrance to the portable game machine market has been a topic in this industry. As I showed you today, there is an apparent shift of the game market from console business to portable business. It is the trend in the whole video game market. As a background, contemporary men and women are becoming increasingly busy and cannot afford to sit in front of TV set for a long time, which makes it difficult for game developers to make games that require the game players to do so. Also, while we can expect one house to own one video game console at maximum, we will be able to sell multiples of portable game machines if several family members have come to love them. Actually, Game Boy Advance has shown that kind of family penetration, and DS is showing up similarly at the moment. So, even if Microsoft, which has been consistently saying that they would never introduce a portable game machine, will announce that they will do so, it won't surprise me. About your question on how the market will change in the event Microsoft will have launched its portable machine, basically Nintendo won't change because Microsoft has done something. Nintendo should be proud of the fact that we were the very first in thinking and exercising how we can expand the number of people who play video games. There are a number of things we can do and we must do for that mission. Until the time that a lot more Japanese people will love to touch and play with Nintendo hardware, until the time far more people around the world will do so, we think that Nintendo will just continue doing what we believe is right, and it doesn't look like we need to change this policy easily.