What do you expect to happen when Wii Street U is released and delivered to people everywhere? Ohashi-san, would you answer that first?
Hmm… that’s difficult. (laughs) To be honest, I’m still knee-deep in my work, so I haven’t quite thought that far ahead.
But the presentation to Kawai-san made a solid impression, didn’t it?
Yes, I suppose so. That really pleased me! (laughs)
That will occur on a much larger scale.
If I think about that, as someone who made it, I would be happy if even people who have never used the service on the PC would, like earlier, really get excited using it together with others.
When you imagine that, the difficulty of work transforms into a reward. But if I say too much about that, it may sound like I’m saying, “Work harder!” (laughs)
Well, I’ll keep at it! (laughs)
All right, Suzuki-san?
When this project began, to surreptitiously check my wife’s reaction, I used Google Maps to casually show her a photo of a place we once went to in Okinawa. When I did, she said, “Hey, when did you take that photo?” To most people, a scenic photograph is something you take yourself when you go somewhere, so I realised that most people still don’t know that you can easily see photos of anywhere in the world on the Internet. So I’m really looking forward to seeing what happens when the people of the world realise that with Wii Street U they can see such places anytime, and from anywhere, as if they are standing right there.
Now more than ever before, anyone will be able to easily access the world’s largest database of scenic photographs.
That’s right. Rather than video-on-demand26, it’s scenes-on-demand! Through Wii U, the immersive aspect ramps up, so it’s sure to become something unique like nothing ever before.26. Video-on-demand (VOD): A type of service that streams video content over the Internet for users to watch whenever they want.
Okay. How about you, Takahashi-san?
Until now, Street View has been something that you used alone, so I’m incredibly interested in how family members and friends will react when looking at it on a big television in their living room. And another big thing is if you use Miiverse27, you can introduce your favourite places to other people who aren’t there.27. Miiverse: A network service, integrated with Wii U at the system level, that allows people all over the world to connect through their Mii characters and more fully enjoy video games. People can interact by sharing their thoughts in the communities of their favourite games and by posting handwritten illustrations and comments.
You can seek empathy from others by saying, “Look here! Isn’t it neat?”
Right. I think enjoyment will arise from more direct interaction than ever before, so I’m really looking forward to seeing how that turns out.
All right. Street View’s photos are nothing more than image data, so they themselves don’t hold any meaning. But the feelings of the people who look at them and the background of that place give rise to all kinds of value.
That value resides with the people looking at them, so it isn’t in the database.
Right. Photos are just there. Over the course of about six months, all the photos on Street View are viewed at least once. What that means is there’s a special spot for every person around the world.
Despite the mind-blowing amount, each one of them has definitely been viewed by someone around the world.
About the time we started Street View, I heard a story. There was an old lady who was in bed a lot and couldn’t leave the house very easily, but her grandchild used Street View to show her the new house he had moved into. When she saw that, she was overjoyed.
Oh, what a nice story!
But I suppose the grandchild was pleased as well to see his grandmother so happy. And for this time, we are very thankful to have been offered a medium through which that kind of emotional connection and empathy can be shared more easily and more comprehensibly right in the living room. I’m sure that more stories like that will arise. We would be very happy if people would share how they have put it to use.
I hesitate to brag about our own product, but this time, with the way Wii U is structured, it includes a controller with a screen right in your hands. I think the characteristics of viewing locations by physically panning the Wii U GamePad and of displaying them on the television as something everyone in the family can share were a surprisingly perfect fit with Google Street View. Combining multiple devices for putting photos together to achieve a similar viewing structure existed previously, but the interesting part about this service is how it’s one package from the very start, and that it gradually takes hold of not just one person but everyone in the same room.
Yes, that’s right.
One dream that everyone has is to go to many places. But that requires time, effort and money, so many people can’t do that. But I feel like Wii Street U may be able to fulfil that dream as a new tool for experiencing a sensation as if you’re right there.
Of course, you can only know and feel certain things by actually going somewhere, so this is not a complete replacement, but something will happen unlike anything before by which everyone together in the same living room can immerse themselves in a distant location. As a result, I feel like we are taking a new step forward in the relationship between people and maps – asking what it means for people to move and moving people’s hearts through viewing a place.
I think a lot of interesting things are yet to come from this new dimension that ties together Wii U and Web services. Among the possibilities, Wii Street U impressed me the most today and is a service I want to realise as soon as possible. Kawai-san, thank you for such an enjoyable conversation today.
The pleasure was mine. Thank you.
It is my hope and ambition that social interaction occurs within the home and spreads from one living room to another over Miiverse. I’m certain that if it does, we will be able to do something interesting as the next step. I’d like to ask for your continued support. Thank you for today.
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