In recent days Satoru Iwata has been conducting a series of interviews in Japan, tackling tricky questions ahead of the next President's Briefing and Investor Q & A on 17th February. A pattern has started to emerge in these interviews, which certainly lays the ground for Nintendo's planned comments - and potentially reveals - to investors.
The Nintendo President has already highlighted that plans continue to progress for the Quality of Life platform, but in an interview with The Nikkei the focus was on the gaming market. After emphasizing that the company expects to hits its lowered sales and financial targets, Iwata-san said the following - "I believe the Wii U business still has considerable room for growth", before emphasizing the range of games on the way in 2015. He also made the point that while the Japanese market is dominated by smartphones and portable systems like the 3DS, home consoles remain vital due to their prominence in the West.
Iwata-san then reiterated a previous comment that the company would aim to turnaround a number of inexpensive smartphone projects from third parties for the 3DS, with consumer reaction determining which are then developed further.
It is also possible to turn smartphone games from other software makers into 3DS-compatible games and offer them for relatively low prices. We intend to pursue a variety of options. Only those products and services that receive strong support from customers will survive.
This interview also brings the most notable update on the planned Mii-centric smartphone app in some time, with Iwata-san stating that it will be announced around the time of the financial year results - though the financial year ends on 31st March, the results are typically announced in early May.
In the past, I have opposed making smartphone and tablet versions of Nintendo titles. Prices for content aimed at smartphones and tablets are falling quickly. I am still wary of the category. We intend to develop products that will allow customers to identify with Nintendo products and make people pay attention to Nintendo games.
For example, some Nintendo game consoles incorporate Mii, which creates a digital avatar to represent players. It would be fun for players to use their Mii characters as icons on social media. We are currently developing an application that will allow users to do that. The app will be announced around the time our full-year results are released.
Do you see plenty of growth on the horizon for Wii U, and do you consider these smartphone-style games and app plans as positives? Let us know what you think in the comments below.