If there’s one thing that’s consistent in the video game industry, it’s that developers and publishers alike strive for the next innovation, in an effort to be “the next big thing” for their avid audience. This week, it appears that Nintendo and Microsoft are ready to get things moving for 2015.
Speaking with the Associated Press (via a story from Gamespot), Shigeru Miyamoto, director and executive for Nintendo, explained that the Wii U will remain a focus for the company heading into the New Year, although that isn’t stopping it from exploring new ideas for its next console.
“We’re focused on providing a robust line-up of Wii U software for next year,” he said. “It seems like we’ve managed to do that this year and people are very happy with what we’ve done on Wii U. For the time being, our focus is on the Wii U hardware, but Nintendo as a whole has groups working on ideas for new hardware systems. While we’re busy working on software for the Wii U, we have production lines that are working on ideas for what the next system might be.”
The iconic plumber Mario could also make a return with the new hardware. “From early on, I wanted Mario to be that character in the digital world, so that with each digital evolution, he was there to usher in the next era,” he explained. “I think that maybe when we release the next hardware system, you can look forward to seeing Mario take on a new role or in a new game.”
This follows the rumor earlier this week that Nintendo was looking to utilize Sharp technology in its latest hardware, although that remains unconfirmed.
Meanwhile, Gamespot also reported that Microsoft could have a big surprise planned for the Electronic Entertainment Expo next year, as it could be planning to introduce its own virtual reality headset., something that could compete with the Oculus Rift and Sony’s Prject Morpheus.
A Digitimes story explains that the Microsoft headset will work with the Xbox One console, and development is being handled by the same team that works with Microsoft’s Surface tablets. The company has been experimenting with virtual reality for some time, but stopped just short of confirming it was getting into the market.
When asked for an update, Microsoft simply stated, “We have nothing to share concerning these reports.”
Still, the move would make sense, especially considering that Sony is making huge forward progress with the Project Morpheus headset it introduced earlier this year at the Game Developers Conference. Oculus Rift is gaining leverage as well, especially with its purchase by Facebook for $2 billion. It’s starting to look like 2015 will be the year we see virtual reality launch into the consumer market, though whether it will sink or swim remains to be seen.