Nintendo has finally published its official translations of the recent Investor Q & A that Satoru Iwata hosted, and while it's light on reveals it does have a variety of answers that provide insight into the company's approach. The overall tone is one of certainty, with Iwata-san unruffled and comfortable that the company is making the right moves for its long term future.
He acknowledges major challenges that it's facing, too, and in an answer related to "the digitalization trend" addresses the issues with the increasing focus on download content; particularly its disruption of how we enjoy our entertainment. Examples cited include film - where many subscribe to streaming services rather than buy DVDs - and music, where the greatest profits now come from concerts and events rather than album sales.
Iwata-san defends the perception that Nintendo's been slow to act in this digital era, stating that the company wants to ensure it triumphs in the emerging market as opposed to making critical mistakes.
Observing these transitions, we can say that the digitalization trend presents not only a promising chance but also a huge crisis for us, so it can be said that we are faced with both an opportunity and a dilemma at the same time. Without thoroughly considering our business approach, the value of our content will instantly be damaged. I have strongly realized the importance of this point from around 2010. At GDC (Game Developers Conference) in 2011, I said that we should think about maintaining the value of game content. At that time, I could not make myself understood well enough as I am afraid my choice of words may not have been appropriate, but now I believe the number of people who understand the point I was trying to make at GDC is increasing. Therefore, this is a big challenge for us to maintain the value of our content, while the demand for entertainment is increasing. If consumers commonly expected content to be free or very cheap and as a result, if a price and service competition occurred on the similar-looking products, we would not have a bright outlook. Therefore, the most important points will be how we produce original content, how we create a way for value of our offerings to be well accepted and how we invent payment methods for new consumers.
Therefore, the demand for entertainment is not small. Rather, in our view, people are richer than in the past as they search for the ways to spend their leisure time more fruitfully. In a broader sense, they are having fun in their spare time in various ways in order to improve their QOL, I think. The ways to have fun have expanded. At the same time, since distribution costs are becoming very close to zero due to digitalization, the number of consumers who do not focus on the value of the content is increasing, based on their idea that content can also be free. How we deal with this situation where there is the pressure to decrease the value of any digital content will be the key point for us. If we find the right answer, Nintendo will prosper as a company that creates content. If we make a big mistake, on the other hand, our business structure will collapse. We know there is criticism that our decision-making or transformation is slow in this field or our activities are not sophisticated, but we would like to take forward steps by considering everything thoroughly and with confidence that our future approach will work. Thus, we have spent time on this, and I believe my current mission is to provide the answers to this question this year, next year and the year after.
What do you think of these comments from Satoru Iwata? Do you want Nintendo to take its time, or is talk of "considering everything thoroughly" a cover for indecision? Let us know in the comments.