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Watch Nintendo’s Satoru Iwata predict the future of consoles 20 years ago

Nintendo's Satoru Iwata: Lost Interview 20th Anniversary Remaster

Beloved former President of Nintendo Satoru Iwata said many profound and memorable things throughout his career, but thanks to a reuploaded and remastered Kikizo interview from E3 2004, we have even more.

The video, which was uploaded by Kiziko founder Adam Doree over the weekend, is now watchable in 1440p at 60 frames per second. According to the Kikizo archives, the original video was posted in an astounding 320-by-240 resolution, so the quality upgrades alone make it worth watching.

While his remarks on the state of the video game industry at the time aren’t new, they feel almost prophetic in 2024, where most of his predictions about the console market have come true. For example, when talking about the then upcoming Nintendo DS and the Wii (which was called the Revolution at the time), he said that Nintendo’s strengths are about innovation. This, he added, would separate Nintendo consoles from competitors like PlayStation and Xbox.

“I don’t think the next-generation consoles that Sony and Microsoft are considering have a future. If I thought so, we would be doing the same thing, right?” Iwata says, according to subtitles on the video. “Even if I had a machine with 10 times the processing power and 20 times the graphics, the work would be harder, and I don’t think it’s that easy to make customers clearly recognize the difference.”

“When other companies release products that are improvements on existing ones, the question is whether Nintendo can release something that can be called revolutionary. In this way, our goal is for our challenge to bear fruit, and I believe that is what we should be doing,” he continues.

Satoru Iwata presenting at GDC in 2011 in front of a red GDC logo.
Official GDC

He didn’t have much to say about the Wii, which was still in development and wouldn’t be revealed until the following year, but he noted: “Just as Nintendo surprised people with the DS, if we were to create new hardware after the GameCube, I believe there’s no point in making it unless it’s something that will surprise people. That’s all I can say today.”

The jury is out on whether Xbox and PlayStation don’t have a future in consoles, but the numbers speak for themselves. The Switch has sold over 140 million units as of February 2024, despite getting released in 2017, and is working on a follow-up. While Microsoft and Sony are still in the console game, the former is focusing a lot of its efforts on cloud gaming and Xbox Game Pass, while the latter is stretching out onto PC for its first-party titles. Nintendo has also become known for its innovative consoles that don’t necessarily chase graphics and frame rates.

The interview also features previously never-before-seen footage. In one section, Iwata misunderstands a question and talks more about his predecessor, Hiroshi Yamauchi, instead of shifting gears to Shigeru Miyamoto, who had taken on new responsibilities at the company and was focusing more on developing games. While Iwata mentioned Yamauchi in the original interview, he goes more into how the former head of Nintendo inspired him.

“I have heard a lot from him in the past about his philosophy on how the gaming industry should change, and I intend to inherit that philosophy as it is, if it’s good,” Iwata said. “And he himself said that we need to change with the times, and I also intend to inherit that.”

Iwata died in 2015 due to complications from a tumor at the age of 55. He had been the president of Nintendo from 2002 until his death.

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Carli Velocci
Carli is a technology, culture, and games editor and journalist. They were the Gaming Lead and Copy Chief at Windows Central…
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