Nintendo has translated the questions and answers from last week’s corporate management policy briefing. Investors had many questions in relation to Nintendo’s mobile plans. When asked about Nintendo entering a market saturated with a lack of new ideas and its new upcoming app, Miitomo, focusing on communication instead of making videogames, Mr. Miyamoto (creator of Mario, Donkey Kong, Zelda, and more) replied:
Just as you mentioned, the situation of the smart device application market is that an enormous amount of titles exist and there are several established styles that are popular with users.
If we can expand to smart devices what we have been challenging ourselves with on Nintendo’s dedicated game systems by taking advantage of the unique characteristics of smart devices, we believe that Nintendo will be able to create a new style of games and spread them all around the world.
By asking DeNA to support us in as many of the operational aspects as possible, Nintendo would like to focus on “creating new things.”
While it is important for us to earn profits from our smart device business alone, our primary objective is to encourage smart device users to be interested in and to play with our dedicated video game systems, and we are focused on this goal.
It seems that Nintendo is leveraging the mobile apps to continue to funnel customers to its dedicated gaming platforms. In other words, the mobile games and apps will hopefully wet users’ appetites, but they will need a Nintendo device to reap the full benefit.
Interestingly, Mr. Miyamoto sees mobile gaming as the next big thing for Nintendo:
Nintendo is not a company that deals in daily necessities. Because we are engaged in the entertainment business where no one can forecast what will be the next big thing and where we have to create the demand ourselves, our job is to always evaluate the situation from time to time and increase the possibility of creating the next big thing. Just when Nintendo started to earn stable revenue with the hit of GAME & WATCH, our sales doubled with the Donkey Kong arcade game. And when we were able to earn rather stable profits from the arcade game business, because our Famicom (known as Nintendo Entertainment System overseas) business started to get on track, we ceased our arcade business and started focusing on the home entertainment business. I believe Nintendo has shown results with its core dedicated game business by flexibly deciding how to allocate its limited human and other resources, but we are also always challenging ourselves with projects that have the potential to become the next big thing. And now, we see that our smart device business has the potential to become this next big thing. We are simultaneously working on the multiple projects with different possibilities. Due to their unprecedented nature, each one of these challenges has to be exposed to and actually experienced by consumers in order to tell if it has been nurtured well, but we are making efforts so that some of them will eventually become the next big things.
Genyo Takeda (Senior Managing Director, Technology Fellow) who has worked in Nintendo’s hardware division hinted that perhaps the NX will have a “unique user interface”:
I understand that, thanks to the evolution of computer technology, aiming to realize a virtualized software development environment that does not depend on specific hardware is becoming the technological norm today. Simultaneously, regarding input and output technologies, I believe that it is also in line with the current technological trend that Nintendo should challenge itself with the creation of a unique user interface.
When asked if NX will be the main business focus at Nintendo over mobile and other initiative, Mr. Kimishima (President of Nintendo Japan) responded:
We have been making various preparations for NX so that it can grow into our core business after its launch. However, as we have been repeatedly saying, we will talk about NX next year, so I would like to refrain from making any further comments today.
No surprise there, but at least NX was brought up. Overall, not a ton of new information was divulged, but we expected as much. It wouldn’t be in Nintendo’s best interest to reveal information that could adversely impact their busiest sales season. Nothing can deflate sales faster than an announcement of a new system around the corner. I expect Nintendo to deliver more information about NX by April of 2016, with a full blowout at June’s E3, assuming the NX is on track for a 2016 launch.