Nintendo is "preparing for [its] next hardware system", CEO Satoru Iwata has confirmed, and "already [has] a clear idea to some extent about the direction [the] next hardware is going to take".
Iwata discussed the next-gen console during the firm's financial results briefing, revealing that it had been preparing for its next hardware since the launch of the Wii U.
"Once we launch a new platform, we naturally start to prepare for the next one," Iwata said, when asked by an investor when Nintendo was planning to launch its next-generation video game system. "As it takes several years to develop a single platform, if you ask us whether we are preparing for our next system, then the correct response will be that we are always developing new hardware.
"On the other hand, the most difficult question for us to answer in public in concrete terms is when we are going to launch our new hardware and what kind of hardware we are going to launch, and I am afraid that I cannot talk about this in more detail. However, I can certainly assure you that we are not at a dead end of any kind in which we are out of ideas for developing new hardware."
Despite having ideas for the new hardware, though, Nintendo won't drop the Wii U until consumers are "satisfied" with the console, Iwata says.
"I of course believe that launching new hardware will not produce good results unless we first make sure that those who have already purchased our platforms are satisfied," he continues. "We will continue to work hard to ensure that consumers who already own our platforms are satisfied, and make sure that people will continue to see great value in our software, but I would like to say that we are preparing for our next hardware system, and in fact, we already have a clear idea to some extent about the direction our next hardware is going to take."
Whatever direction the console takes, though, don't expect to see it soon. Nintendo confirmed earlier this month that it would not be revealing new hardware during E3 next month.