The newly-introduced Nintendo 3DS handheld has markedly better graphical performance than its DS predecessor, and squeezing all the power out of the device means higher development costs when compared to DS, Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata said in an E3 Q&A
"Because the visual capabilities of Nintendo 3DS are more powerful than the existing Nintendo DS, if you are going to take full advantage of the graphics capability of Nintendo 3DS, the development cost is … expected to rise," he told analysts after the unveiling of the 3DS at E3 in Los Angeles last week.
"Therefore, if developers decide to try and maximize the graphical powers of the system, then the cost would be more expensive than what it is currently for Nintendo DS and may potentially approach the cost of developing Wii software," he added.
Major titles for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 can cost between $20 and $30 million. A Wii game may cost as little as a third or fourth of that amount. DS titles cost even less to develop.
Iwata said that implementing the 3D effect on the handheld will not require much extra effort on the part of game developers. He added that creating the effect is just a matter of capturing the same image with two cameras, one for each eye.
"From a development perspective, it actually does not make much of a difference in terms of development costs to create the 3D visual effect," he said.
Nintendo and its third-parties have announced a number of titles that appear to require Wii-like processing power, including Capcom's Super Street Fighter IV
and Resident Evil: Revelations
. The portable already has the support from a wide range of third-party publishers.
This week, Digital Media Professionals said that it would be providing
the graphics processing unit for the 3DS, called the Pica 200.
While some 3DS games may approach development costs of Nintendo's home console, Iwata said that developers don't have to necessarily put forth huge investments for every game.
But he added, "On the other hand, I believe there will be developers who will use a similar amount of resources to create games as if developing for a home console, and such games also would result in satisfaction to our consumers."