Satoru Iwata Announces a "Quality of Life" Platform Business of "Non-Wearable" Technology

To be unveiled this year, target release after 1st April 2015

In what was the finale of Satoru Iwata's Investor Briefing, the Nintendo President has announced that the company is developing a new business platform that will be focused on "Quality of Life" (QOL) in the health sphere, utilising its history as an entertainment business to engage people in living healthier lives. Even more intriguingly, Iwata-san has referred to "non-wearable" technology that Nintendo believes will be innovative in the face of increasing trends of wearable technology.

Details are slim, as only the core concept has been outlined, with Iwata-san highlighting that Nintendo has dramatically increased its audience in the past with creative products, and believes it can do so again.

It has been a long time since people started to say that the console era has now shifted to a new mobile era, with wearable technology in the spotlight at CES this month.

However, as I said at the beginning of the presentation today, Nintendo is a company that sees the true value of entertainment lies in its individuality. Following others into the exceedingly crowded market of mobile applications or the market of wearable technology that is expected to become increasingly competitive and fighting with brute force is not our way of doing business. Yet again, it is our intention to go into a new blue ocean.

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.

The following excerpt (and image above) highlight how this product will be separate from existing consoles, yet ideas from previous software and future development may bring these platforms together.

However, what is generally good for health requires some kind of effort to be made by the individual, and, as I am sure that many of you have experienced this, it is sometimes difficult to stay focused and engaged, and it is not uncommon to give up after a few days. This is where our strength as an entertainment company to keep our consumers engaged and entertained comes into play, assisted by the non-wearable feature, which is the biggest differentiator of this new business field, as well as user experiences that integrate into people’s daily lives, all of which help us overcome this difficulty. If we do indeed succeed in doing so, we will be able to provide feedback to our consumers on a continual basis, and our approach will be to redefine the notion of health-consciousness, and eventually increase the fit population.

I feel that not only can this QOL-improving platform utilize our know-how and experience about video game platforms but also we can expect it to interact with games and create a synergistic effect.

Nintendo has released a series of games entitled “Touch Generations” that seek to expand the definition of games by releasing games in various fields including health-themed titles such as “Brain Age” and “Wii Fit,” or educational titles such as “English Training” and “Art Academy,” or lifestyle software such as “Cooking Navigator” (translation of Japanese title, only available in Japan). The know-how and experience we have acquired about entertainment through these games, or to put it differently, the ability to keep consumers engaged and entertained on a continual basis and the hospitality we can offer is something that we can take advantage of now in order to increase the value of our QOL-improving platform.

On the other hand, while we feel that this is going to take two to three years after its launch, we expect the QOL-improving platform to provide us with new themes which we can then turn into games that operate on our future video game platforms, too. Once we have established such a cycle, we will see continuous positive interactions between the two platforms that enable us to make unique propositions.

The company plans to unveil this product in 2014 and release it after 1st April 2015. It'll be intriguing to see what this concept actually is, yet it's clear that Nintendo is optimistic that it can be an innovative success in the world market.

What do you make of this concept, and what do you think it will be? Let us know in the comments below.


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