Nintendo Investigating 5G, but 'We Don't Chase Trends'

Mike Dano
7/9/2019

During the company's recent annual shareholder meeting in Japan, executives from video game company Nintendo acknowledged that they're keeping an eye on a variety of trends hitting the video game space, including cloud gaming, subscription payment models and, yes, 5G.

However, in discussing the wireless industry's latest network upgrade, Nintendo's Ko Shiota offered a decidedly pragmatic view: "5G can send a large amount of data without latency. We are aware that this technology has been gaining a lot of attention, and Nintendo is also investigating it," he said in response to a question about whether Nintendo is slow to respond to global consumer trends like virtual reality and mobile gaming.

"However, we don't only chase trends in technology. When considering what to offer in our entertainment and services, we think about both how the technology will be applied to gameplay and what new experiences and gameplay we can offer consumers as a result of that application," Shiota continued, according to a transcription of his comments provided by Nintendo. "Cost is also an extremely important factor when it comes to 5G. It's difficult to use even an outstanding technology if the cost is too high, so we will continue to also thoroughly investigate the cost of new technologies."

In reading between the lines, Nintendo executives seem suspicious that 5G might be more hype than substance. Regardless, wireless providers are pushing 5G connections into gadgets beyond smartphones to grow their addressable base of potential customers: According to the Global mobile Suppliers Association (GSA), there are now 39 vendors globally that have announced a total of 90 different 5G products.

Nintendo, maker of the popular Switch gaming device that connects to WiFi, appears content to sit on the sidelines of 5G, at least for now.

Mike Dano, Editorial Director, 5G & Mobile Strategies, Light Reading | @mikeddano

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