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Games too complex, Nintendo chief warns

Especially for the three-year-olds it's targeting...

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Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has warned that games are becoming too complex and the industry risks alienating consumers.

It's a line the company has trotted out before. Right around the time Sony was announcing its PlayStation 2, former president and now chairman Hiroshi Yamauchi made much the same complaint.

Iwata's restatement came this week in an interview with the BBC. The comment comes just weeks after Sony unveiled the PlayStation Portable into a market thus far dominated by Iwata's company.

Nintendo's stance is that the industry has become obsessed with faster processors and better graphics. This trend, he reckons, represents a failing of innovation that will see people become "tired of games".

Well, it's worked so far, with each new broad generation of consoles selling more than the previous ones. PC gaming has similarly gone from strength to strength on the back of faster CPUs and GPUs, and the new titles they make possible.

Still, there's something in what Nintendo says, given the way old, graphically challenged games remain popular - this reporter occasionally still enjoys laying waste among Doom baddies - and how retro titles are finding a new home on mobile platforms.

Not surprisingly, Nintendo's DS is the answer to this rampaging complexity among modern games. According to Iwata, it will offer a broader appeal. "The players of DS will have even wider demographics than today," he said. "I hope people realised a DS game can be played by a three-year-old and a 50-year-old returning to games."

Parents of young children may be a little concerned that Nintendo is now targeting toddlers.

Whatever, the DS' basic control system, with its voice-recognition, will allow game developers to make titles that are easier to play - and so keep consumers buying. ®

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