Satoru Iwata Speaks Of The Need To "Redefine" Nintendo's Position In The Entertainment Industry
Posted by Damien McFerran
"Nintendo is a company that can do whatever they want"
Nintendo president Satoru Iwata may be under the cosh at the moment thanks to the growing discontent of the company's shareholders, but he has revealed to Japanese site Diamond Online that he feels he is carrying on the will of the late Hiroshi Yamauchi by ensuring that the firm is always focused on providing entertainment — and that doesn't just mean video games.
Surely, a lot of people around the world must think ‘Nintendo is a company that is just for video games,’ about us, and I believe that there are more and more of our own employees who've begun to think like that. Some employees that are in charge of making things, are often kept positions where they have to think of how they can make the game in front of them more fun, so I don't think it can be helped if others outside of our company think like that.
So, even if the fact that our focus being video games won't be changing, I felt the need to take this occasion to say ‘Nintendo is a company that can do whatever they want’. This subject came to light when Yamauchi passed away, but I felt that our surroundings are greatly changing. We need to redefine what Nintendo must do, from this point on. However, I felt that saying ‘Nintendo will do anything,’ was also the wrong idea for the company.
Yamauchi was one to always say ‘Nintendo is a company for entertainment, and it shouldn't be for anything else,’ and he didn't necessarily think that ‘entertainment = video games'. I've been wondering how to express Yamauchi’s feelings, and I've been thinking about it non-stop, even during the New Year’s holiday break.
That brings us to Iwata's much-discussed "QOL" platform, which is still quite mysterious. However, he insists that his aim is quite simple: to enrich the lives of consumers via the medium of entertainment, and that could mean anything from fitness applications to brain-training programs — areas Nintendo has successfully covered before:
Lately, the words ‘QOL’ (quality of life) have come up. Entertainment is there to improve people’s quality of life. After your basic needs, there’s entertainment. However, when it comes to improving people’s quality of life, I didn't know the difference between us and household appliance makers.
At the start of this year, I finally figured that improving people’s quality of life with fun, with emphasis to the ‘fun’ would be perfect for Nintendo. And that’s when I decided to use this as a focus during the financial results meeting in January and wrote the manuscript for the presentation.
What do you think about Iwata's comments? Do Nintendo need to stick with video games to remain relevant and successful? Do you think that Iwata is planning some new venture in the entertainment medium? Or are his comments designed to be as vague as possible, leaving plenty of room for change? Share your feelings by posting them below.