Home   >   News

Nintendo doesn’t trust AI to make its games

President Shuntaro Furukawa would rather keep making games the Nintendo way rather than hand the reins to AI
Nintendo doesn’t trust AI to make its games
  • Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa prefers to trust "decades of know-how" over generative AI
  • Concerns around copyright infringement and limited uniqueness are among AI's downsides, according to Nintendo

Nintendo won’t be using generative AI technology in any first-party games for the foreseeable future, preferring to trust its expert game designers over artificial creativity.

Company president Shuntaro Furukawa revealed Nintendo’s official stance in a recent Q&A with investors, translated by Tweak Town.

In his answer, Furukawa acknowledged that generative AI is a "hot topic" with more creative potential than earlier "AI-like technology". However, rather than jumping onto the latest tech bandwagon, he reinforced Nintendo’s preference for its own "decades of know-how", claiming the creative potential of its employees leads to more "unique" games than AI could achieve.

Experts vs robots

While creativity forms a large part of Nintendo’s stance here, reservations around IP rights comprise another part of its position on generative AI. It's a concern shared more widely across the games industry too.

Avoiding even the slightest risk of infringing another company’s copyright also fits the Nintendo brand, considering enforcement around its own copyrighted content is so strict - bringing the hammer down on everything from emulators to game music uploaded to YouTube.

"In the game industry, AI-like technology has long been used to control enemy character movements, so game development and AI technology have always been closely related. Generative AI, which has been a hot topic in recent years, can be more creative, but we also recognise that it has issues with intellectual property rights," said Furukawa.

"We have decades of know-how in creating optimal gaming experiences for our customers, and while we remain flexible in responding to technological developments, we hope to continue to deliver value that is unique to us and cannot be achieved through technology alone."

Nintendo’s fondness for the human touch comes in stark contrast to many modern tech companies, with mass layoffs influenced by not only economic turbulence but by the rise of AI too. Google, for example, laid off over 1,000 employees in stealth as AI took on more of the workload.

Of course, economic instability and a slumping games industry have only further pushed companies towards AI - the tech offering a cheaper means of game development than so many employees.

But as for Nintendo, the Japanese giant is doing better than ever thanks to the Switch and has actually expanded its workforce from 5,064 people in 2016 to 7,724 in 2024, as per Automaton.

Even without generative AI, Nintendo made $10.8 billion in FY24 as mobile and IP income increased by 81.6%.