It's no secret that Nintendo begins developing their consoles right before the previous one is released. The Wii U, in fact, began development right after the Wii, and that began its development as a peripheral for the GameCube. But Nintendo is hiring hardware architects for their next big thing already.
We have no idea when this console might launch—though I'd be surprised if it's any time before 2017—but we do know what Nintendo is looking for in their hiring notice:
Description of Duties
- Nintendo Technology Development is looking for a lead graphics architect in the system-on-chip architecture group in Redmond, WA. The group is responsible for the architecture of Nintendo’s game console SoCs. The graphics architect plays a key role in determining the SoC architecture. The job responsibilities are:
- Evaluate HW graphics (GPU) offerings from SoC solutions available in the market based on performance, power, and silicon area.
- Evaluate the performance of the SoC solutions for both proprietary and standard graphics APIs.
- Determine workloads and simulation models for both performance and power characteristics of GPUs.
- Keep track of GPU architectural improvements in the industry and devise strategies to incorporate them for future Nintendo gaming platforms.
- Act as the graphics architectural evangelist working with global Nintendo teams for future and on-going programs.
- Work with external SoC vendors as the Nintendo focal point for graphics GPU architecture.
- Should be prepared to work through architecture, design, validation, and bring-up stages of SoC design in cooperation with internal and external teams.
Summary of Requirements
- The ideal candidate will have had experience working directly in a GPU architecture and design team with significant responsibilities.
- Low power and SoC design experience would be a plus.
- The candidate is expected to have good architectural insights and the ability to apply that for setting future graphics direction for Nintendo.
- A bachelors degree (graduate degree preferred) in computer science/engineering or electrical engineering.
- 5+ years of lead or architectural role experience are required.
SoC, or "system on a chip" is an important part of computers and similar hardware. It's possible that Nintendo is simply hiring for someone to work on their upcoming "Quality of Life device," but given the emphasis on graphics, "performance," and "power," I think it's a safe bet that this is a hiring for their next major home console.
And hey, even if this is for something unrelated, given their development patterns, we can be sure that the Wii U successor has been in its early research and development stages for quite some time.