Nintendo is pondering games that run on both consoles and handhelds

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Wouldn’t it be highly convenient if developers developed a single game that can be run across multiple platforms? Well that’s what Sony tried to do with the PlayStation 3 and the PS Vita, but could that be something Nintendo could be considering for the future as well? While it’s hardly a confirmation that the company is doing something about it, Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto did state that he could imagine Nintendo doing something like that. Speaking to the folks at Kotaku, Miyamoto was quoted as saying, “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.”

Could you imagine Nintendo making games that play on both their console and their handheld? Nintendo’s top game designer, Shigeru Miyamoto, can. He told me he sees that as a challenge but also an “area of opportunity.” We talked about this kind of thing during the tail end of our very fruitful conversation at E3 in Los Angeles earlier this month. We were in speculative-future territory here. To be clear, he didn’t announce anything. He did not tell me then and there that Super Mario Bros 65 will be co-developed for the Wii U 2 and the Nintendo 4DS. Nothing of the sort. Still, we were brainstorming! I had been asking Miyamoto about the wisdom of continuing to split Nintendo’s development talent across two machines, a portable and handheld, be it the Wii and DS or the Wii U and 3DS. It’s a shame, I think, for, say, some developers at Nintendo to make a marvelous game for 3DS that can’t run on the Wii U or to make a Wii U game that can’t run on 3DS. I get that there are horsepower differentials and some feature distinctions. But I also see this type of cross-platfrom play becoming increasingly prevalent across iOS devices and PlayStation devices. I’ve also seen Nintendo themselves hinting at developments that would enable this, all the while doing things like authorizing simultaneous development and near-simultaneous release for similar but distinct Smash Bros. games for Wii U and 3DS.

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