At a recent financial results briefing, President and CEO of Nintendo Satoru Iwata admitted that Nintendo has been relying too much on their own internal development teams, and claimed that culture may have to change if Nintendo is to keep pace with the rest of the industry.
"It is a great honor to succeed in a business by making the best use of our own unique strengths," claimed Iwata, "but on the other hand, it is a shame to fall behind the times clinging to it. I believe that it is the key to Nintendo, which develops both hardware and software in-house, to create new experiences which have been neither enjoyed nor requested by consumers, and let them say, "This is the very thing I have been wanting to play" once they have actually tried it. The more we depend on outside resources for this point, the more strength Nintendo will lose.
"On the other hand," he continued, "it is not true that Nintendo is able to internally develop everything and keep up with the current pace of change. In fact, some of the software titles published by Nintendo are developed by outside developing companies, called 'second-party developers' in this industry. There are already a lot of companies which receive various advice from Nintendo in the process of software development and whose products are sold under the brand of Nintendo, and for instance, I was working for one of such companies, HAL Laboratory, Inc., which developed "Kirby's Dream Land" and "Super Smash Bros." Considering the existence of such companies, Nintendo is not totally based on the policy 'Jimae-shugi.'"
'Jimae-shugi' roughly translates as 'lifting yourself up by your bootstraps' and, while Nintendo has had an incredible amount of success by relying on their own strengths in development, it seems like Nintendo is more willing now to accede to a more relaxed style of dealing with second party and third party developers.
It will be interesting to see how this affects, firstly, Nintendo's relationships with other developers and, secondly, their own research and development. We're extremely keen to see precisely what Nintendo has up their sleeve at this year's E3 and how this fits into its new, slightly adjusted, corporate attitude.