Update #2: Nintendo has now released the official translation of the Q&A portion of its financial results briefing, and we can now see Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa's comments in full:
The metaverse has captured the attention of many companies around the world, and it has great potential. When the concept of the metaverse is introduced in the media, games like Animal Crossing: New Horizons are sometimes brought up as examples. In that sense, the metaverse is of interest to us.
But at this point in time, there is no easy way to define specifically what kinds of surprises and enjoyment the metaverse can deliver to our consumers. As a company that provides entertainment, our main emphasis is on ways to deliver fresh surprises and fun to our consumers. We might consider something if we can find a way to convey a ‘Nintendo approach’ to the metaverse that many people can readily understand, but we do not think that is the situation at the present time.
Update #1 [Thu 3rd Feb, 2022 11:00 GMT]: Nintendo has now released the Japanese version of the Q&A session during which it was reported that the company "has interested" in concepts such as NFTs and the Metaverse.
Twitter user Nibellion has used machine translation to get a more accurate picture of what was said:
We've updated the title of this piece to better reflect Nintendo's response, and apologise for any confusion caused.
During a Q&A session that followed Nintendo’s latest financial results, one of the questions related to the topic of NFTs and the 'metaverse'.
It's not a particularly surprising reply – after all, Nintendo is in the business of making money and will legitimately be interested in any new technology which enables this – but it's clear that the company is taking a cautious approach to both concepts.
The 'metaverse' is best described as a network of 3D virtual worlds that are focused on social connection, and the term – which was coined by Neal Stephenson in his 1992 novel Snow Crash – has become something of a buzzword in recent times thanks to companies such as Facebook. While the notion of the 'metaverse' is something that's seen as a social tool, many firms are clearly looking at ways they can generate revenue using the concept, and it would seem that Nintendo is no different.
With regards to NFTs, the public response has been quite vitriolic. Alongside Team17, which has arguably done harm to its brand with its aborted NFT plans, voice actor Troy Baker withdrew from a deal that would have seen voice samples minted as NFTs, following an overwhelmingly negative reaction online.
Companies such as Konami, Square Enix, Sega and EA have all expressed interest in NFTs recently, although Sega has stated that it won't pursue the idea if its fans are against them. However, Ubisoft has said that fans currently don't understand the benefits of NFTs.
If you're still confused about NFTs, feel free to check out our feature which attempts to explain them.
An official transcript and translation of the Q&A call will likely be released in the coming days. Elsewhere on the call, Furukawa reiterated that Switch was "in the middle of its lifecycle" as the console overtook both the Wii and the PlayStation to become the fifth best-selling video game console ever.
This story has been updated to reflect David Gibson's clarification.