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Nintendo is merging its handheld and console divisions next month
Nintendo is merging its handheld and console divisions next month
January 16, 2013 | By Mike Rose

January 16, 2013 | By Mike Rose
More: Console/PC, Business/Marketing

In a bid to hasten game development on both its 3DS and Wii U video game systems, Nintendo plans to merge its handheld and console divisions next month, Nintendo has confirmed to Gamasutra.

On February 16, the Japanese publishing giant will bring the separate divisions together, opening a new unified sector that will include 130 console engineers and 150 handhand engineers.

A Nikkei report (subscription required) also states that Nintendo plans to open a new $340 million facility next to its headquarters in Kyoto, with the aim to open the new building by the end of the year.

The hope is that by merging these two divisions, the company will also be able to speed up its hardware development cycle to better compete with tablets and smartphones.

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E Zachary Knight
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Now that gameplay prospects of Nintendo's handheld and console lines are more attuned, thanks to the WiiU's Gamepad, I think this makes a lot of sense. With the handheld guys having a number of years of experience developing for two screens under their belt, it would greatly enhance the ability of the console guys to have easier access to that knowledge base.

John Flush
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This might have fixed the problem of generating a separate 'terminal' tablet for the Wii U instead of allowing the use of the 3DS out of the gate to act as the device and allow more of them to be connected. Maybe the Wii U 2 will figure that out.

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It wasn't a problem. Nintendo was headed in the direction of creating a tablet screen controller anyway. They released research of thier protypes to the web. One device showed two Wii motes teathered to a 6 inch wide screen. Allowing only the 3DS to be the soul controller to the new system would not have been cost effective for the consumer and would have been a path already travelled by Nintendo on an older console. Also the Wii U game pad does incorperate tech that the 3DS does not, meaning extra middleware costly tech would have had to have been produce before the device could be actively connected to the Wii U in its current form. We can be sure R&D had all the possibility on the table before the final desision was made.

Bob Johnson
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Interesting. One thought I've had for awhile now is Nintendo should have one "system" and twice as many games.

Probably more of a fantasy on my part since the type of game that works on a handheld isn't necessarily the type of game that works on a big screen tv or vice versa.

On the other hand the Wii U sort of goes that direction. What if you could plug a brain into the Wii U controller and turn it into a full fledged handheld? The battery compartment in the Wii U gamepad has unused space. And the "brains" could stick out like those extra-capacity batteries do on laptops.

wes bogdan
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Bring on the fruit roll up bendable colapseable gear.

I wonder if nintendo teams were islands unto themselves competeing with -against other in house teams and if unity means the walls come down making better games and gear possible.