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Thursday, January 30, 2014
Nintendo To Focus On Video Game Consoles, Expand In Health
Nintendo will remain comitted to its game console strategy, which has dragged it into operating losses for three years in
a row, ignoring calls to go mobile and promised instead to wow
customers with health-related technologies.
The Japaneese company has been under pressure to branch out
from its consoles and capitalize on the spread of smartphones
and tablets by releasing games that can be played on any
However, Satoru Iwata, president of Nintendo, said that
Nintendo would not take Mario mobile, just a day after Chinese
Lenovo declared its mobile ambitions with a deal to buy
Google's Motorola handset division for $2.9 billion.
"..we do not hold a pessimistic view of the future of
dedicated video game platforms. We therefore believe that
dedicated video game platforms which integrate hardware and
software will remain our core business," Iwata said.
Although Nintendo will not release its first-party content on
smart devices, it will focus on achieving greater ties with
its consumers on smart devices and expanding its platform
business. Nintendo developers will release applications on
smart devices this year that will be capable "of attracting
consumer attention and communicating the value of our
entertainment offerings," according to Iwata.
He also said there would be a merging of handheld and home
game console software architecture, suggesting that users
would be able to download and play the same game across
platforms in the future.
Speaking about Wii U, he said that simply executing a price
reduction as a way to defuse the situation is not an option.
Nintendo will try to fully communicate the value of the
GamePad by offering software titles that are made possible
because of the GamePad.
In addition, the company will try to promote the NFC
(near-field communication) reader/writer function of GamePad
by preparing multiple proposals, including the implementation
of NFC payments with JR East's "Suica".
Also, one of the major benefits of the GamePad is that it can
easily play video games without using the TV. However, after
starting up Wii U, there is a wait of over 20 seconds before a
user can select a video game title. To solve this problem, a
quick start menu for the GamePad will become a reality after a
future system update planned for early summer.
The dual-screen Nintendo DS, one of which is a touch screen,
has a very strong software lineup, and so Nintendo plans to
add the Virtual Console titles from Nintendo DS software to
the future Virtual Console lineup for Wii U.
Iwata also wants to change the company's focus from "device-based relationships" to "account-based relationships" indicating that Nintendo's is possibly about to fall in step with the more socially-minded networks of Google and Facebook, even Xbox, PlayStation and Steam.
"It is our intention to release some application on smart devices this year that is capable of attracting consumer attention and communicating the value of our entertainment offerings," he said.
Iwata was vague about the details of the new health business,
which will start by March 2016. He hinted that the device or
service could be used "beyond the living room" unlike the
sports and fitness games available for its Wii and Wii U
"I'm sure you're thinking of Wii Fit, but this is not like
anything we have made before," Iwata said.
"Looking after your health requires effort and many people
quit quite soon after starting something. But we, as an
entertainment company, can help people get over the difficulty
of continuing their efforts in a fun way."
"As those who are already suffering from illness can seek
medical care, our new business domain would be providing
preventive measures which would require us to enable people to
monitor their health and offer them appropriate propositions."