Although Nintendo’s financial performance in the recent quarters was not really good, the company will keep its integrated hardware-software strategy and will continue to develop video game consoles and proprietary video games only available on its own platforms. Nonetheless, the company is beginning to consider new directions. At a recent conference with investors, it said it would introduce new platforms aimed at different audience than gamers.
“We will definitely maintain dedicated video game platforms as our core business, but we will attempt to establish a new platform business with which we can leverage our strengths, but which is independent from our video game platform business,” said Satoru Iwata, the president of Nintendo.
The head of the 125-years old company believes that during the tough times it makes sense to reconsider the very meaning of entertainment in general. In Nintendo traditional belief, entertainment’s main goal was to put smiles on people’s faces. Starting from now, Nintendo believes, entertainment should not only bring joy, but to improve quality of life as well.
“This time, we decided to redefine our notion of entertainment as something that improves people’s quality of life in enjoyable ways, and take a step forward in expanding our business areas. […] Ever since Nintendo was founded 125 years ago as a manufacturer of Hanafuda, Nintendo has continued to transform itself into offering various propositions to consumers from toys, electronic toys, and then video games, improving, in my view, people’s QOL in enjoyable ways. What Nintendo will try to achieve in the next 10 years is a platform business that improves people’s QOL in enjoyable ways,” said Mr. Iwata.
The quality-of-life is a large thing that consists of multiple elements. Nintendo believes that the key components are health, education and life-style. Those are three areas the company will explore under the new strategy.
“This definition includes, of course, dedicated video game platforms. While we will continue to devote our energy to dedicated video game platforms, what I see as our first step into a new business area in our endeavor to improve QOL is the theme of “health.” Of course, defining a new entertainment business that seeks to improve QOL creates various possibilities for the future such as “learning” and “lifestyle,” but it is our intention to take “health” as our first step,” said Mr. Iwata.
Nintendo did not detail its approach to platforms designed to improve health. But it did say they will naturally combine hardware, software and the company’s know-hows in engagement and entertainment. Probably, the software for the platforms will be developed with the help of social psychologists who will try to lure consumers to healthy lifestyles, physical exercises and so on in a way that puts smiles on their faces.
“With that said, we wish to achieve an integrated hardware-software platform business that, instead of providing mobile or wearable features, will be characterized by a new area of what we like to call ‘non-wearable’ technology. When we use “health” as the keyword, some may inevitably think about ‘Wii Fit’. However, we are considering themes that we have not incorporated to games for our existing platforms. Including the hardware that will enable such an idea, we will aim to establish a blue ocean,” said the president of Nintendo.
Satoru Iwata did not say when the first platforms that improve quality-of-lives are set to emerge.