News Article

Nintendo To Keep Focus as an "Entertainment Business", Even With Upcoming Quality of Life Platform

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

Shigeru Miyamoto - "Human beings have an instinctual love of games"

While a number of Nintendo gamers and observers will have reacted to Nintendo's Quality of Life platform announcement earlier this year with curiosity and wondered what it could mean, there was a substantial group that expressed concern. The reasoning was simple — if Nintendo was diverting resources to a new platform focused on health (initially) and related experiences, would that detract from game development for 3DS and, more vitally considering its need to boost sales, Wii U?

They're reasonable concerns, of course, and raise the issue of Nintendo's long term plans and whether, in generations to come, the company will still be focusing much of its effort on the video game market. That very issue was raised by a shareholder at Nintendo's recent AGM, with the questioner asking Shigeru Miyamoto about the big N's "dreams for the future". The crux of the matter was whether Nintendo could remain in the games industry with major changes potentially on the way, or whether the company would shift it priorities into other areas such as the health device market.

Thank you so much for expecting a lot from the future of the game business. My comment relates to the comment made by another shareholder today, and I believe that these kinds of questions on video games from shareholder are not irrelevant to our company management. This is because, for an entertainment company like Nintendo, the most essential question is not to improve our profitability but how to maintain a high level of sales and sustain the company over a timespan of, for example, 10 years. The entertainment business inherently has a lot of ups and downs. When I joined the company over 30 years ago, Nintendo had a great amount of debt loans. Now, it is sometimes said that Nintendo is too cash-rich, but this is essential for us to try new endeavors. I am sorry for the shareholder who just asked this question, but I cannot predict what is going to happen 10 years from now. It is true that I have a sense of fear in that “hand-me-down smartphones,” as pointed out by another shareholder, are becoming hardware systems on which to play games due to their prices being lower than that of our most inexpensive video game system in our history. However, I do not believe that will completely control the future of video games. Of course, it is important to gain profit in effective ways, but Nintendo always has to take seriously, for example, network security for children. Taking into consideration that more and more children have a good command of these kinds of media, which help these media to spread, the most important task for Nintendo is how to provide new styles of entertainment by using these technologies, and how to make these new kinds of entertainment yield significant sales and profits. It goes without saying that Nintendo has been trying to improve its profitability at the same time. For example, at E3 this year, we were able to obtain more page views on our website while considerably reducing our E3-related costs.

About the prospects of “ten years from now” (which were mentioned in the question), I believe it will work itself out because new forms of entertainment are always born. But, we always need to work with a clear consciousness that we have to act now to make that happen. This consciousness is mounting high among people at Nintendo now, so please wait for our next move. I believe the appeal of video games is not transient and human beings have an instinctual love of games. I would like to keep on producing new products that surprise people all over the world.

Genyo Takeda (Senior Managing Director and General Manager of Integrated Research & Development Division) also pitched in to emphasize Nintendo's status, primarily, as an "entertainment business".

Let me add some comments. Nintendo is in the entertainment business; our products are not daily necessities. Therefore, we have experienced many ups and downs so far, but we have also provided a lot of surprises to the world. The hardware-software integrated platform business, as we always mention, specifically means that we integrate software technology, hardware technology, ideas, art, music, graphics and even elements of psychology to produce our entertainment products. Thus, even though we stated that Nintendo is going to attempt to improve people’s health, we do not intend for consumers to just become healthy but aim to improve their health in enjoyable ways, which we believe, is another kind of entertainment. Please understand that we are not aiming to become a health device company (as you worry).

It remains a concern for Nintendo fans that simply want the company to focus on game systems and related software, yet the reality for any corporation is that profits are a priority. Let us know your thoughts on these answers from Miyamoto-san and Takeda-san in the comments below.

[via nintendo.co.jp]

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User Comments (49)

Splatom

#1

Splatom said:

Well can you reveal this QOL?

Wait... A Nintendo... Smartwatch! This is it! :)

Nintenjoe64

#2

Nintenjoe64 said:

I would love a Nintendo fireplace that played games. That's about as non-wearable I can think of.

AVahne

#3

AVahne said:

It's obvious that the non-wearable Quality of Life project will be a chip implanted in our brains.

midnafanboy

#6

midnafanboy said:

Well this is going to be interesting, when they finally give more info about this. Cause i am confused of what this is.

FragRed

#7

FragRed said:

I'm still a little confused as to what they were saying, are they going to still produce proper consoles and video games or are they going to introduce this Quality of Life into all their future titles?

unrandomsam

#8

unrandomsam said:

Could have been why Philips went after them if they thought they were going to be making health devices.

unrandomsam

#9

unrandomsam said:

@FragRed At the moment they say it is a new totally separate thing (But they said the DS was a 3rd pillar and it turned out not to be).

FragRed

#10

FragRed said:

@unrandomsam Yes and that worries me especially if Nintendo don't believe they will be able to get back the market share in home and handheld consoles.

onex

#11

onex said:

Holographic technology used to make you move, thus better quality of life? One can dream..

rjejr

#12

rjejr said:

Wasn't QoL supposed to be a part of E3? I forgot all about it until this post.

Now if you'll excuse me I'm going to go forget about it all over again.

ikki5

#15

ikki5 said:

Non wearable... so back to consoles only... you speak to them? Or wave at them.... I worry this might be a copy of the kinect.... lol

MacMan

#16

MacMan said:

I think they are making a robot friend for children. See the Issac Asimov short story 'Robbie'

HarryK

#18

HarryK said:

Think bigger: Nintendo Home.
Your voice-controlled and talking personal Nintendo buddy inside your walls.

It reminds you of stuff and motivates you with real-life achievements. If you're willing to let them scan you with 3d sensors the whole time. I would.

Joalro

#19

Joalro said:

@onex YOu have absolutely no idea how much money I'd spend (and how much exercise I would get) if I could actually experience web-slinging like spider-man.

torotoid64

#20

torotoid64 said:

@FragRed @unrandomsam I think they called the DS a third pillar because they weren't sure of the direction it was going to take them so instead of having something that's considered a massive failure best call it a third pillar so it would seem as less of a harsh failure but because the DS was so successful it became what it was

MeloMan

#22

MeloMan said:

Been out of the loop on this, but I guessed right about the health aspect. What better way to make sure your co. has residuals other than to tie your business into the things that are "never" going away. Case in point:

Health
Education

Just to name a couple. If this indeed is what Nintendo's after, then they're getting into a nice little side niche that will likely be transparent to most of us but beneficial to those that need it most.

outburst

#24

outburst said:

I imagine non-wearable tech would be like this following you. :D

Untitled

Or like this following you.
Untitled

ChrisT99

#29

ChrisT99 said:

Am I the only one who noticed that Mr. Takeda stole Iwata's "Please understand" line?

ikki5

#30

ikki5 said:

Wait... are they going to give us... Holodecks!???
Untitled
Imagine that, playing pokemon on a holodeck :d (with the safety on of course :P)
lol

Splatom

#32

Splatom said:

A smartphone with a thing like Siri and Cortana, but more....

Lifelike, maybe like a Navi

Kirk

#34

Kirk said:

A non-wearable integrated hardware-software platform that's supposed to leapfrog both mobiles and wearables and improve everyone's Quality of Life...

Either Nintendo's got something kinda revolutionary on it's hands or it's living in fantasy land.

I'm not sure which one of those it's more likely to be at this stage.

Stumpynuts

#36

Stumpynuts said:

Somewhere, just somewhere in the mix there has to be something where players level up their fitness in real life and the data gets transferred into the games to level up game characters.

This to me seems such a simple and extraordinary path towards QOL format.

Increase your benchpressing strength or running speed, increase your strength and speed in RPG game character.

Zizzy

#39

Zizzy said:

I think it's great that Nintendo is interested in keeping people healthy. It would be more effective if the people themselves actually cared about being healthy. But, as far as I'm concerned, those people can get all the illnesses and health problems they deserve. It's natural selection. Main point: No one should be opposed to Nintendo's new venture in pro-health entertainment.

AVahne

#40

AVahne said:

Actually, anyone else watched the latest .hack movie? There was a little thing called Makoto, I think it was something called a server robot. It was something like a digital assistant housed in a little desktop toy with an advanced AI. It was connected to the Internet and would provide assistance to the main character on her phone even when she was out of the house. It was also her assistant in-game when she plays The World.
Perhaps Nintendo is working on something like that except for exclusive use with Nintendo consoles. They could have it programmed to alert you about new games and search the Internet for tips for you while you're gaming. Maybe it could also be programmed to learn gaming behaviours, and act as an intelligent AI player in co-op or competitive instances.

aja14

#42

aja14 said:

@Nik-Davies
hahaha that would be awesome!!

Anyway, This is good news, they are not giving up on entertainment. we will still see nintendo fusion. hahaha

erv

#44

erv said:

Nintendo branded toilet seats. They will improve your quality of life and “lighten the load” for us gamers. You heard it here first people.

Nomad

#45

Nomad said:

Whatever it is they've got planned I'm sure it will improve the... er, quality of peoples... um, life?

cheleuitte

#46

cheleuitte said:

I'm very exited about this concept behind this QOL, It sounds interesting for people that care about their health like me!

TheWPCTraveler

#47

TheWPCTraveler said:

Pshh.

We all know that a certain dog and his love of baseball has proven that this is going to be the 4DS.

The_Mysteron

#48

The_Mysteron said:

My guess: a streetpass enabled pedometer like the one used for Wii fit U. Or a Nintendo mobile phone with analog sticks and a robust but slim clam shell design. A Nintendo 3GS.

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