CN: I'd like to ask about the PlayStation 3, since you've been mainly working with that console recently. First, from a market perspective, how successful do you feel it's been in Japan, America, and Europe?
YO: I think it's on the up and up. Last year wasn't easy, though. Things have been better recently, so I'm not as worried. Isn't that how the PSP's been lately? It had a real rough patch for a while, too. So maybe the PS3 will follow a similar pattern.
CN: We've been talking with Japanese developers like Masaya Matsuura, who say that the bubble has burst for the DS in Japan. Looking at the market do you think that's true?
YO: You just don't ask any easy questions, do you? (laughs) How am I supposed to answer that? I mean, let's say I'm thinking "What, the DS? Oh hell yes, it's over and done with," I can't very well say that, can I? That's the most devious thing anyone's ever asked me! (laughs)
But actually, and again, and this is those whispering voices saying this, but you've started hearing the phrase "Atari crash" pretty frequently. People are talking about how the second "Atari crash" is around the corner. And Nintendo is the one that has to figure out a way to stop it. In Japan we often say that history repeats itself, and it's going to take some serious effort to keep it from happening this time.
Japan had its economic bubble in the late eighties, and that burst. I think some of the same things are happening in the American economy right now. Like, they're going to have to do something to prevent it. It's foolish to keep making the same mistakes people have already made.
So, Nintendo's going to need some sort of strategy to deal with this. I think it's a fact that the market blew up more rapidly than even they thought it would. And the faster something expands, the easier it is for it to deflate again, right? I hope they come up with a way to avoid this with the DS. But for one thing, there are way too many titles out all at once.
CN: Right. So you're seeing companies like [stationary company] Kokuyo making games. You mentioned Atari, and that's the same thing that happened in America in the '80s. Companies that didn't make games started making them, and that created the problem.
YO: And it's happening with the DS in Japan. All sorts of companies that have never made games before are getting involved. I mean, the cost of development is really next to nothing. And what about this flood of "brain training" games? Can they really keep that up?
Nintendo put a lot of thought into the original, and ran some really cool commercials for it. But some of these companies just slap something together, put the word "brain" in the title, and release it. There are a ton of them, and barely any of them are interesting.