Japanese economy magazine Nikkei Business published a lengthy interview with Hideo Kojima as part of a big feature on 5G. Hideo Kojima answered multiple questions regarding 5G, streaming technology, and how it’ll affect the gaming industry. Hideo Kojima also spoke about how cinema and gaming evolved in a similar way, and how new technologies change the way entertainment is created and consumed, in an endless cycle of evolution. Hideo Kojima also teased that he has a very big thing in mind in relation to streaming. Lastly, Kojima stated he always believed that ultimately, movies and games will become one and the same entertainment medium. He’d love to be a pioneer in that domain, no matter the cost, as he’s not making games for profit.
Here’s an extensive summary of Nikkei Business’ interview with Hideo Kojima.
Hideo Kojima believes that gaming and cinema history are nearly identical. When the Lumière Brothers held the world’s first public movie screening, it set the base for the concept of theaters and cinema as entertainment. Later on, televisions came around and families had access to cinema without going to theaters. And now, with streaming technology and the rise of VOD platforms like Netflix, each member of a family can have their own access to cinema, anywhere, anytime. According to Kojima, this is just like what happened with gaming. In the past, you’d go to the arcade, pay 100 Yen to play 3 minutes of Taito’s Space Invaders and later on Namco’s Xevious. But with the democratization of consoles like with Nintendo’s Famicom, people could enjoy games at home.
Now that the world’s first 5G commercial services have launched this April, Kojima believes that streaming platforms like Google Stadia will become the norm:
5G commercial services have launched, Google announced a cloud gaming service, and Apple is strengthening its position in the gaming industry. Cloud gaming allows direct delivery of games on any screen, be it a smartphone, a tablet or a laptop, without the need for consoles. Cloud gaming experienced a boom around 4, 5 years ago, but there was no phenomenon carrying it. Many say it’ll end in failure, but I think it didn’t work out because the technology wasn’t advanced enough. Now that 5G has launched, we’ll see a huge shift to cloud gaming during the next five years. Entertainment as a whole will change and allow more liberty.
When asked about how Google Stadia will affect the game industry and if game consoles will disappear, Kojima answered:
Games we’ve never seen before will appear. This is certain, considering how the entertainment industry evolved. Most movies aren’t longer than 2 hours because the audience at theaters would get hungry or need to use the restroom. Plus, it would mean less screenings a day, and theaters’ revenues would drop. When TVs came around, entertainment adapted to keep watchers glued to their screens so they don’t switch channels. Hence why concepts like cliffhangers before commercial breaks were invented.
Kojima also mentioned the same happened with the music industry, and how people wouldn’t frequently flip their vinyl records to avoid damaging them if they screwed up moving the player’s needle. That’s why artists would put popular songs on A-Side of vinyl, and riskier artistic attempts like 20-minutes long songs on B-Side. But when CDs came around, we became able to switch directly to any song, so practices like including really long songs became uncommon.
Next, Hideo Kojima mentioned that Google Stadia’s features, like being able to directly join the game of a YouTuber you’re watching, is only the tip of the iceberg of what cloud gaming can bring:
As streaming keeps evolving, games, movies, documentaries and any type of video content will all be on the same platform. This is the future I’ve always wished for. Services like Netflix will divide its content between “interactive games” and ‘”non-interactive movies”. Games and movies are complete opposites, separated by a border. But that border will disappear. It already started to disappear. Like with Netflix’s Black Mirror: Bandersnatch published last year.
Kojima also wishes to contribute to this merge between movies and games, and to leave his own mark in its history:
Games will change drastically. Of course, high-end console games like the ones released nowadays will remain. But technology will keep progressing, and we’ll be able to create brand new types of games with novel gimmicks. I’m very busy myself, but I too would love to leave my mark on this side of history.
Continuing on, Hideo Kojima stated that he actually has a big thing in mind related to streaming:
We’ll start seeing completly different games these next five years as 5G spreads. There’s one big thing I have in mind related to streaming as well. I can’t say anything more as I don’t want to spoil though (laughs).
Next, Kojima also spoke about how AIs will change the ways we consume entertainment in the next five years. AIs that understand our personality and pick choices for us in interactive content will appear. In turn, the ways this content is created will definitely change as well, but he doesn’t know how.
Lastly, Kojima jokingly said that he really hopes to stay alive as long as possible to see all these changes with his own eyes. He’d also love to be the first person to make one of those new types of games, even if it’ll be really difficult. Kojima elaborated, saying the pioneer in a business venture almost never ends up making a profit from it. Because they’ll need to go through a painful, costly, long period of trial and error instead of following an already made path. Kojima ended the interview saying he’ll definitely try anyway because he doesn’t create games for the money, and will keep making games till his death.
The “big thing” related to streaming that Hideo Kojima teased might be a brand new game on Stadia. Another possibility is that it’s one of the gameplay aspects of Death Stranding, explaining why said he doesn’t want to give out”spoilers”. Or all of the above, with Death Stranding including streaming gameplay elements and releasing on Stadia. In any case, we’ll know for sure in five years at most.
Kojima Productions is currently working on Death Stranding, and Hideo Kojima plays the game every day, thinking about what could be improved. It’s also possible Death Stranding will launch for both PS4 and PS5. The game also has an awesome cast for its Japanese dub.
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