Hideo Kojima's analogy calls Nintendo's Wii a television

Friday, June 30, 2006

Hideo Kojima, Metal Gear Solid creator, has analogy for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii

Mastermind of the Metal Gear Solid series, Hideo Kojima, has offered up a new analogy in the latest edition of the Official PlayStation Magazine. Recall that last year Kojima compared the next-generation consoles to food. He said the PlayStation 3 was a big banquet that you have once a year at celebrations, the 360 was a special supper that you have on weekends, while the Wii was an everyday meal.

"If the game creators and the users want to have a great steak for their anniversary, they go to PS3," he concluded. "But if they want a great steak dinner with their family during the weekends, they might select Xbox 360. Or why not have a great steak at your house everyday -- they might choose [Wii]. So my impression of the battle between the consoles is, it's not about what kind of dinner it is. It's more about how much the dinner will be. Will it be worth the cost of being served? Or where can I have this dinner - number of restaurants, is it near my house or do I have to take a cab or train or bus? I think the battle amongst the next-gen platforms lies in that area."

To sum things up, through the course of a year, a family will eat a variety of meals. However, their daily decision of which meal to eat is based on factors of convenience, price and the occasion.

In his most recent interview Kojima admits this analogy was not completely accurate. He feels a better comparison is to that of motion picture. "Now, the PlayStation 3 is like a movie theater for people who want to see this movie on the big screen with THX and 5.1 audio, even if they have to pay a high price," he said. "The Xbox 360 is DVD. Basically, you don't know what movie you want to see, so you go to the store and see if you can pick up a good one. The Wii is like a TV for when you're home and you don't know what you want to watch but you [want to] have that variety."

Where this analogy differs from the culinary one, only my stomach knows. Nevertheless, it can be concluded that Kojima believes there is a clear distinction between the three next-generation consoles. They each offer something unique, he says. Just as a person may enjoy watching television, renting DVDs and visiting the movie theater, people may also choose to own all three platforms in order to experience their respective meals/visual presentations.

Kojima especially urges developers to recognize these differences between the platforms while developing games. He said games for Wii must therefore be easily accessible and diverse. Games for the PlayStation 3 on the other hand must feature high production values and an emotional connection with the audience.

Kojima's team is following this advice. The studio currently has the epic Metal Gear Solid 4 in development for the PlayStation 3 and portable Lunar Knights for the Nintendo DS. Although the group is occupied with these games, in December 2005, Kojima admitted he would like to make a game for Wii. He said he yearns to create a game "based on life, something organic," and something that will bring him closer to the movie directors and novelists he admires. More recently at the May Electronic Entertainment Expo, Kojima reiterated his interest in the Wii platform saying, "Iím very interested in creating something for the Wii. Iíd like to run away from MGS 4 creation and create something for the Wii but unfortunately, I donít have anything that I can announce at the moment."

Although we may not see a Wii title from Kojima anytime soon, there is one particular project in the pipeline that has Kojima's unmitigated support. Former HAL Laboratory employee Masahiro Sakurai is friends with Kojima. Earlier this year the two came to an agreement to include Metal Gear Solid star Solid Snake in the upcoming Wii title Super Smash Bros. Brawl. To place this within a food analogy, Kojima's blessing is like a cherry on top of Sakurai's delicious sundae that I saw on television. Confused? So am I.