2017 is undoubtedly a hugely important year for Nintendo, with the launch of the Switch and the continuation of its moves into mobile games and apps. Maintaining the company's ethos and spirit throughout those new challenges is naturally important, and it seems to have been on the minds of Nintendo's senior executives.
Just recently Shigeru Miyamoto referenced the 'DNA' of Nintendo as a creative entertainment company when talking to investors, and company President Tatsumi Kimishima has addressed a similar point in an interview with TIME.
Asked about the words of former President Hiroshi Yamauchi regarding the importance of the company going its own way, Kimishima-san said the following.
I heard this directly from Mr. Yamauchi. He said "This is up to you guys, but you have to create unique experiences, you have to do things that other companies cannot imitate, that is your mission." And that is what we are planning to do.
The word he used was cleverness or craftsmanship, this ability to create something new that we haven't seen before. We have this DNA running throughout the building, running through our company, not only with the hardware or the software, but in whatever we do. And part of what we bring to it is, of course, the IP that we have.
We have to be very diligent and very careful about how we use that IP, because it is a finite resource in my opinion. So we're going to have to expand and change how we look at our IP, how we use it, how we come up with new IP. We have to think about the process by which we are cultivating that creative spirit, using our DNA to create unique things that others can't imitate. And then we have to look at other people, not just the ones we're raising up within the company, but those outside with great skill and ability and creativity.
He was also asked an interesting question around the role of the Switch in bringing players together to play, and whether that's an important feature to deliver in the current day - if 'social responsibility' in products is taken as a factor.
This is just my personal opinion, but of course, Nintendo, as you say, is an entertainment company, so we ask ourself, "What is entertainment? What is it to begin with?" It's not just enough for us when we bring content to consumers, but we want to bring something that is comforting or comfortable. I think comfort is a word that comes up when I think about what it is that we have to provide for our consumers.
Now comfort might be too limiting of a word in English for me, but it's enjoyable, it's pleasurable, so all of these things together. Of course, there are different ways that people experience that, and there are different ways to bring that out. One of those ways would be, of course, a single player sitting in front of their TV playing a game. That's an option. That can be enjoyable for them. But when I think of what it is that makes people happier, when I think of what is a pleasurable experience, I think of people working together to solve a problem or to overcome a challenge.
For example, if you have friends who are playing together to solve something, or I see parents and their children working together to accomplish a specific goal, it's something I would put into my definition, that slot of what is comfortable, what is happy, what is pleasurable. Also, seeing other people happy. Being in a room where people are happy is a source of happiness, is a source of pleasure.
With Switch, it's not just something that you'll be looking at a screen to play. In certain cases you don't even have to look at a screen. Again, we're seeing people face-to-face as you said. We're seeing that gap between people become smaller.
The Switch, certainly, is a system that strives to get players together, locally and in some cases online. The portability of the system, the various configurations using Joy-Con, these are big factors in closing that gap between gamers.
Let us know what you think of Kimishima-san's comments below.