News Article

Weirdness: The Peculiar Questions of a Typical Nintendo AGM

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

Freebies, frustration and 'interesting' suggestions

This week we brought you some coverage from Nintendo's various comments and assurances given at its 74th Annual General Meeting of Shareholders. It's an important event as it enables Nintendo to address concerns and enquiries, and when handled well can help to stabilise those all-important share prices — that seems to have been successfully achieved this year.

While the majority of the questions are entirely sensible and reasonable, often prompting interesting answers from Nintendo's senior management, some are a little less constructive. It's to the credit of Nintendo's management that it bats these questions away with the utmost politeness, yet we're left wondering just why a shareholder that's travelled to an AGM would waste one of a limited number of questions, when the inevitable answer will be "thank you for your suggestion" and, no doubt, rolled eyes behind the scenes.

So while we may cherry-pick the best questions and answers on an annual basis, it's time to show the slightly absurd side to these AGM gatherings. Below are some of our favourite questions from the last three years that, in all truth, shouldn't have been asked.


2012 - The 72nd AGM of Shareholders Q&A

Someone needs Google Maps, or better walking shoes

I got terribly lost coming here today. Every time I come here, I feel that you should take into consideration where many of the shareholders attending are coming from and that you may want to consider offering us some conveniences like a courtesy bus from JR Kyoto Station. As I feel this is rather an inconvenient place to visit by subway or by bus, I’d like you to consider more about this sort of thing than enriching the contents of the gifts you give to the attending shareholders.

We think this is a game idea, once the serious business of selling systems in China is covered

I would like to know about the current situation of the company’s operations in China and what problems you have in doing business there. Apart from this specific question, I have an idea for you: I would like you to energetically create software filled with dreams that is exciting for both children and adults. On NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation), I watched the news that Mr. Miyamoto, a senior director of the company, recently won a globally acclaimed award. To create such excellent games, I hope Mr. Iwata and Mr. Miyamoto will go through various experiences, including deadly adventures like crossing the Sahara on camelback or exploring the Amazon, full of piranhas, anacondas and crocodiles, together with the company’s other game creators.

Uh-oh, someone says they have the answer to all of Nintendo's problems...

I don't think that the current Nintendo is making full use of its potential. I believe that there is a way to improve your business more and more by taking advantage of what you already have. As I have a specific plan for it, I would like to make a 10-minute presentation to Mr. Miyamoto, Mr. Takeda and Mr. Iwata as soon as tomorrow if it is possible.

2013 - The 73rd AGM of Shareholders Q&A

This one isn't crazy, but is a tad obscure and long

I want to know the details of your global strategy. Japan has a low birthrate and is an aging society, but there are plenty of children in the world. I heard that in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates there are a lot of Japanese schools for children, and the children of royal families and millionaires have entered these schools and play with Nintendo game systems in order to communicate with Japanese children. As for our aging society, I currently volunteer at a paid care facility and nursing home for the elderly. There are many Nintendo games at these facilities and the elderly people say, "Though I don’t play video games, I study idioms and characters for a kanji test.” If you pay more attention to such people and address the needs of a low birth rate and an aging population, I think you will be able to increase the number of business opportunities. In addition, I would like to ask you to improve business performance so that shareholders can smile at the next general meeting of shareholders. Similarly, at next year’s general meeting of shareholders, I would like to see some young people and women sitting in the directors’ seats. Also, as Prime Minister Abe advocated in his growth strategy that action be taken to enhance English education, I would like Nintendo to develop software which enables everyone from elementary school children up to adults to enjoy learning English.

Because food matters

I would like an update on a product called the “Wii Vitality Sensor” which was announced a few years ago. A considerably long time has passed since it was first announced, so I assume that the development might have come to a standstill, and I am concerned that this type of thing will happen again in the future. In addition, I heard that the quality of the company cafeteria is not so good from one of my acquaintances who works for Nintendo. I think you should ensure that everybody is able to enjoy eating at the cafeteria as a part of the employee welfare program and improve internal communication among employees.

2014 - The 74th AGM of Shareholders Q&A

Last-gen free stuff is always nice

Shareholder special benefit plans are very popular in Japan these days. As most of the individual shareholders hold Nintendo’s stock because they are fans of this company, would you please give us something related to Nintendo as a shareholder perk? I do not think hardware systems should be given to shareholders due to their high costs, but games like “Tingle’s Balloon Fight DS” and “GAME & WATCH COLLECTION,” which were presents to Club Nintendo members, could be good options.

Casino games and expanding screens, what could go wrong?

After a PTA meeting the other day, someone told me that they wished the size of the screen of Nintendo’s current handheld device could have been manually extended to become twice the size both horizontally and vertically. It would be more impressive to children playing with it and reduce their parents’ concerns about the impact on their eyes. In addition, the Japanese government is planning to have special zones for casinos for the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020, but it is said that many people are unfamiliar with casino games. I think it a good idea to create an application in which users can learn how to play and practice these games.

Less 'childish' talk of games, more financial figures, please

I do not understand video games and I even feel angry because, at Nintendo’s shareholders’ meetings, the shareholders always discuss things relating to video games or such childish topics as “what the future of video games should be,” while I, for one, was flabbergasted that Mr. Iwata continues to hold his position although he had said that he would resign if the company’s performance were bad.

I hope that Nintendo’s shareholders’ meeting will become an opportunity where the shareholders discuss the company’s business operations from the viewpoints of capital gain and dividends.


So there you have it, some of the more peculiar questions — or in some cases rants — posed by shareholders over the past few years; we will emphasize again, however, that the majority of questions at these meetings are sensible and entirely reasonable.

Do you have any favourites out of these, or some older examples that amuse you? Let us know.

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User Comments (50)

Nimious

#1

Nimious said:

Nice to see that some of the shareholders are as imaginative as Nintendo, while others are quite a bit more insane lol.

Squashy

#4

Squashy said:

Wow that last guy was a misery! In case you haven't noticed, you're a shareholder of a games company, of course everybody's gonna talk about games!! As for what he said about Iwata, if only he had been there to bust out his Super Smash Bros moves from E3 on him!

MrGawain

#6

MrGawain said:

Well that explains why the board has such a large controlling percentage of the company....

Phantom_R

#7

Phantom_R said:

I did not expect such silly questions from a Japanese shareholding meeting. But I, too, would like to see Miyamoto and Iwata trekking through the Sahara and Amazon together.

sinalefa

#8

sinalefa said:

"Uh-oh, someone says they have the answer to all of Nintendo's problems..."

That reminds me of a lot of commenters here ;)

WiiLovePeace

#9

WiiLovePeace said:

Phew! I'm glad I'm not the only one who noticed there were some really weird questions some shareholders asked in this year's meeting.

FragRed

#12

FragRed said:

Oh my God I was in stitches for the second one about Mr Iwata and Mr Miyamoto going on deadly adventures with game creators. True brilliance!

Beta

#13

Beta said:

What's wrong with the last guy's brain? Did he go to the meeting by mistake or something?

NintyMan

#15

NintyMan said:

The last person sounds quite rude and silly, not realizing that Nintendo's shareholders of course are going to be concerned about the future of video games because their money depends on it for owning shares in Nintendo! That sounds like a failure at common sense economics.

I also find the cafeteria person amusing, since we would all agree workers should have a nice lunch to get through the day, but that shouldn't be the main way for Nintendo to get their developers to communicate better. Better facilities in general that would get the teams closer would do better, and that's what Nintendo is doing now. I think the Nintendo developers are getting along just fine without having to resort to pleasing each other with enticing meals.

I like the globe-trotting game idea, though, and it sounds like it would involve Miis. Tomodachi Adventure?

Artwark

#17

Artwark said:

Its nice to know what the shareholders think about the brand as a whole. Maybe this same thing should be applied to the game devs around like the various divisions that Nintendo has such as EAD 1,2 etc.

KingCreezy

#18

KingCreezy said:

Yikes! Lol. Clearly Nintendo's issues are deep rooted in their cafeterias quality. Also it sounds like Iwata and Miyamoto will be cast to star in Jumunji 2.

mysteriouslyca

#20

mysteriouslyca said:

These shareholders are probably in their 60s-70s and owned the stock when all Nintendo manufactured were playing cards. Perhaps they should allow their grandchildren to attend these meetings and they can enjoy being at home. Shareholders are never a reflection of the company's customer. Maybe Nintendo should market a shareholder program through Club Nintendo. I would invest in the place where my games are created.

Gold

#21

Gold said:

Yeah, aren't we all sick and tired of Nintendo talking about games?! Revive the hanafuda cards! /sarcasm

bizcuthammer

#23

bizcuthammer said:

E3 2015 Headline:

Nintendo announces survival horror game for Wii U starring Shigeru Miyamoto. Game will take place in the amazon, and will feature open-world gameplay, and epic boss fights against giant snakes and crocodiles while Miyamoto has nothing but a GameCube controller on hand. Game rated M for Mature due to violence, blood and gore, language, and inappropriate gaming innuendos. Co-developed by Capcom's Resident Evil team. Wii U exclusive, only available in China.

Interneto

#25

Interneto said:

That last guy... Clap clap clap

Finally someone who has the guts to talk about it again.

DerpSandwich

#28

DerpSandwich said:

And the great thing? These people have a serious impact on how Nintendo does business. These are the people that Nintendo is constantly trying to appease. That's good business, right there.

element187

#29

element187 said:

@sinalefa sounds like every article on the Internet regarding Nintendo..... Every gamer thinks they are a qualified arm chair CEO... "if Nintendo would just follow my brilliant ideas they wouldn't be struggling, no sirree bob.... Qualifications? I don't need any, Iwata just needs to listen to me anyways"

sinalefa

#30

sinalefa said:

@element187

Agreed. I feel it is worse when they say "I have been playing for years, so that qualifies me and proves that I know what I am talking about"

Bolt_Strike

#31

Bolt_Strike said:

The expanding screens thing sounds neat, but it sounds like science fiction at this point, could something like that even work?

Also, the guy who says they shouldn't talk about video games is the biggest dumbdonkey on earth, if you don't know anything about video games, you shouldn't be investing in them, end of story.

PlywoodStick

#32

PlywoodStick said:

"To create such excellent games, I hope Mr. Iwata and Mr. Miyamoto will go through various experiences, including deadly adventures like crossing the Sahara on camelback or exploring the Amazon, full of piranhas, anacondas and crocodiles, together with the company’s other game creators."

ROFLMAO
Oh wow... oh....... wow....... Some people, really... One of the points of creating games is to allow people to do dangerous things one might not otherwise have the chance or willingness to do. Not everyone can do those things safely with one life, even with guides.

Imagine if someone asked the Call of Duty makers to go to the Middle East and African warzones, so they could "go through various experiences" there, thus "enhancing" their inspirations.

PlywoodStick

#33

PlywoodStick said:

"Japan has a low birthrate and is an aging society, but there are plenty of children in the world. I heard that in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates there are a lot of Japanese schools for children, and the children of royal families and millionaires have entered these schools and play with Nintendo game systems in order to communicate with Japanese children."

"If you pay more attention to such people and address the needs of a low birth rate and an aging population, I think you will be able to increase the number of business opportunities."

...Where does one even begin with this? So many different topics come to mind all at once, that Peewee's Playhouse and The Adventures of Sonic series are sane compared to this request. It's making my head spin. It's like they're not even from this planet, even if they do volunteer at assisted living homes. I do that too, but I wouldn't suggest that has anything to do with gaming, since they're such unrelated issues.

What is Nintendo supposed to do, tell everyone to ignore Japan's crumbling infrastructure and nuclear meltdown issues, make more babies, and cater to rich people while throwing rocks at homeless camps?

PlywoodStick

#34

PlywoodStick said:

"After a PTA meeting the other day, someone told me that they wished the size of the screen of Nintendo’s current handheld device could have been manually extended to become twice the size both horizontally and vertically. It would be more impressive to children playing with it and reduce their parents’ concerns about the impact on their eyes."

...I don't think anyone has had their eyesight impacted from playing due to screen size, even on the Game Boy, so... The issue isn't the screen size so much as it is the artificial light beaming repeatedly at the viewer many times per second. Maybe they forgot to read those instruction manual cautions recommending the user to take a break every hour...

PlywoodStick

#35

PlywoodStick said:

"I hope that Nintendo’s shareholders’ meeting will become an opportunity where the shareholders discuss the company’s business operations from the viewpoints of capital gain and dividends."

Take note, everyone- THIS is typically the type of person deciding whether your favorite game gets funded or not, and by how much. They don't care about you or their topic of business, just money.

PlywoodStick

#36

PlywoodStick said:

@Bolt_Strike Ironically, Hiroshi Yamauchi, the founder of modern day Nintendo as we know it, was not far away in attitude from the money-centric investor mentioned in this article. Though, Yamauchi was incredibly shrewd; with his knack of finding people such as Gumpei Yokoi and Shigeru Miyamoto to do the necessary content-focused jobs for him, predicting which products would likely stick, and solving manufacturing issues in a timely manner. Yet, he couldn't even figure out how to play NES games...

JtotheY

#37

JtotheY said:

@PlywoodStick Miyamoto does get his ideas from everywhere. Pikmin was a game he thought of when thinking of gardening. Look how great that turned out. With more experiences in his mind, he can create more wonderful games/ideas/new IP. Because I have the feeling he's running out of fresh ideas. I'm not so sure about Project Guard/Giant Robot and Starfox, for example.

Savino

#38

Savino said:

Well, if was a shareholder on a meeting I would too expect more talking about numbers and less talk about future of games... The guy is kinda rude, I agree, but he has a point!

FragRed

#39

FragRed said:

@Savino That maybe true, but I think the Japanese shareholders are very different to the way ours are. Just look at the one guy who says that they are Nintendo fans and would love to be given video games etc during the AGM. You would never see such commitment or understanding of a company over here from our shareholders.

Money money money and how much can I sell the business for as soon as someone offers is what we get.

ajcismo

#42

ajcismo said:

That last guy must've missed the memo that Nintendo does more than playing cards these days.

SahashraLA

#44

SahashraLA said:

To the last gentleman I would say this: Where was this criticism when the Wii was selling 150 million systems? (at 100$ a piece, that would have been 15 billion dollars)
The childishness is your perspective: how Nintendo made the money may seem juvenile to some, but 15 billion dollars is a sum the likes of which one of these business school dropouts couldn't even fathom.

Pod

#46

Pod said:

Great ideas. Let's not talk about games.
And let's put someone even younger than Iwata in charge.
I naturally improving company profit is an original idea and a desire that nobody within Nintendo would dream of exhibiting.

Randomname19

#47

Randomname19 said:

Now I want an animated series of Reggie(both the real one and Reggie Fils-a-mech),Myamoto,Iwata,Sakurai and Bill Trinen going through deadly adventures.

aaronsullivan

#48

aaronsullivan said:

I do find it fitting that the guy calling for Iwata to resign is also the guy that thinks the primary business of the company shouldn't be discussed at shareholder meetings.

FJOJR

#49

FJOJR said:

Gotta love that last one. Mr. Iwata should have countered with "have you considered buying stocks in EA?"

Henmii

#50

Henmii said:

I really don't like shareholders. They give people ratings, and if they want your company to sell out to a other you just have to obeye. This way shareholders have killed many company's in the past. Maybe Nintendo should get rid of them, but I guess they need the money. Like many company's do.

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