The Q&A portion of Nintendo's latest investors briefing has just gone live, and while the official English translation hasn't arrived yet, Japan resident Cheesemeister3k has posted a summary which covers the key points.
Nintendo President Tatsumi Kimishima addressed a lot of different points, including the renewed focus on 3DS and general profitability, but the most interesting portion relates to NX, and its new release window of March 2017:
Q: You indicated that building up software is the reason why NX will be released in March 2017, and I know development takes time, but I don't think there's any reason in missing the year-end sales season. When the GameCube was launched in September, I recall that President Yamauchi said that, "It is absolutely imperative that we do not miss the year-end sales season," and after the 3DS launched in February and NX will miss the year-end, making an impression that Nintendo's conventional thinking has changed. Why is NX launching in March?
A: There is no change to our thinking about launch timing. When launching hardware, "How much software can customers play?" is important. Launch timing must be based on that. Customers having more money to spend during the holiday season is one big factor in starting then. But our integrated hardware/software business doesn't end that year, but is something that can continue to be played for several years so we think that "releasing something proper" is the most important thing. By that, we don't think "holiday season timing is a must" but rather that we should launch when we can provide something proper. That point has not changed.
Regarding the focus on 3DS, Kimishima had this to say:
Q: It seems the great reduction in the Wii U hardware sales forecast is influenced by the timing of the NX release, but how about 3DS?
A: This fiscal year, the 3DS has big titles as previously presented, and in sufficient quantity. Both hardware and software will make large contributions to sales. Also, while Wii U sales are forecast to drop to 800,000 units, the upside is that we can focus on the 3DS.
He also addressed NX's software lineup, and the company's aim to ensure that the console will be "profitable" from day one:
Q: While NX details are not being announced today, I want to know about its effect on results for this fiscal year. Previous launches have not had enough titles and were therefore slow to start. Can you promise to have a proper lineup at launch? The Wii U was a net negative, so also in consideration to cost, please tell me how the first year of the NX will contribute to results.
A: As the concept and other details of NX will be announced another time, I will just answer the points of your question. As you said the software lineup will be built-up. Having a full software lineup when the hardware launches is one reason for the NX launch timing. Also, we must be in a state to release titles not just at launch, but continually afterwards. We are planning for it to be a platform that will be played for a long time. Next, about cost, we aren't thinking of the hardware being unprofitable. When the Wii U launched the exchange rate was that of a very strong yen, and so that we don't have that kind of a situation again, launching as a loss-leader won't be what makes up our business, so that's how we're progressing with NX development.
He also claims that NX, smarphone games and download content will more than make up for the poor performance of the Wii U:
Q: While the forecasted sales for the Wii U this fiscal year are extremely weak, NX contributions to profitability seem to be included appearing to be numbers showing that, "We have some confidence in the NX, which will start with a sprint." Do you believe that the new NX will be able to cover for the decline of the Wii U?
A: We have forecast Wii U sales of 800,000 units for this fiscal year, a decline from 2.4m units last fiscal year. In terms of what will cover for it, essentially, the NX and smart device businesses will be central, and also, the download content business is included.