It may be that you don't need to go far to find a Mario plush, or perhaps you do, but Satoru Iwata has stated that Nintendo will be expanding its efforts to license out its various character IPs with partners around the world. In a market with so many brands competing for affections, the indication is that there'll be a push to ensure that familiarity and loyalty to Nintendo properties is increased.
Below is the relevant section of the Investor Briefing.
Also, we are planning to utilize Nintendo’s abundance of character IP more actively. I think the reason that Nintendo is now considered to have this “abundance of character IP” is perhaps because of our passive approach toward the character IP licensing business, which tends to have a high risk of damaging the value of the character. In other words, we think that spending time to develop our approach of having our characters appear mainly in our carefully selected games has created our current fortunate circumstances. However, we are going to change our policy going forward.
To be more precise, we will actively expand our character licensing business, including proactively finding appropriate partners. In fact, we have been actively selling character merchandise for about a year in the U.S.
Also, we will be flexible about forming licensing relationships in areas we did not license in the past, such as digital fields, provided we are not in direct competition and we can form win-win relationships.
By moving forward with such activities globally, we aim to increase consumer exposure to Nintendo characters by making them appear in places other than on video game platforms.
The reference to "digital fields" is intriguing, as it hints at officially licensed ranges of products on web browsers and smart devices, perhaps along the lines of official wallpapers, ringtones and products of those types. As some toy stores are flooded with merchandise for brands such as Angry Birds, meanwhile, Nintendo can always do more to push its wide range of characters — it doesn't have to be all about Mario.
What kind of licensed products would you like to see from Nintendo? Sound off in the comments below.