Nintendo: We’ll ‘unify’ handheld and console development environments

Shigeru Miyamoto said to Kotaku recently that Nintendo is looking into developing games for both handheld and console at the same time in the future.

You may need a little bit of background info to understand why this is a big deal. Last year Nintendo merged their R&D divisions for both handhelds and consoles. Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata has repeatedly mentioned making some sort of Nintendo OS, like iOS, that runs the same games across multiple devices.

Miyamoto says that the company will pursue some sort of hybrid game development path so they can make a game for two platforms at the same time but doesn’t outright confirm some sort of console/handheld hybrid.

What I can say is, certainly, within Nintendo the fact that our development environment for our home console is different from the development environment for our portable system is certainly an area of stress or challenge for the development teams. So as we move forward, we’re going to look at what we can do to unify the two development environments.

I imagine in 2016 Nintendo will reveal a unique new eco-system with a 3DS successor that sports a Nintendo OS and a more powerful console to be released in 2017 that uses similar hardware and the same OS and plays the same games with some exclusives. Imagine that it’s like how the iPhone gets most iOS content while the iPad gets some exclusive stuff.

In this scenario, most games would be developed with Nintendo’s next-gen handheld in mind and would play on both a handheld and a console. Sometimes the console would get exclusive games or features.

I’m not sure if this is the future for Nintendo I want but if it means they can give us one hybrid device that gives consumers a steady flow of great first party games that would normally be split among handheld and console, I’m all for it.