This year’s investment briefing from Nintendo was a sombre one, illuminated with the company’s always positive outlook on Big N’s future. Today roughly, 24 hours after the briefing I will go over what happened and what is planned for the future of the house that Mario built. The numbers within the financial reports were previously explained by Tatsumi Kimishima before Satoru Iwata took the stage. We won’t talk about any of that portion of the briefing by this point in time we the consumers know what came of this disastrous year the Wii U had. What we don’t know is the outlook of the President of Nintendo Satoru Iwata are, let’s begin
Iwata San started his segment with an apology to Nintendo’s shareholders for announcing a drastic revision to the company’s financial forecast, here is a direct quote from Nintendo’s translated briefing on their website…
“Before getting to the main point, I would like to apologize to our shareholders for having announced a steep downward revision to our financial forecast for the full fiscal year due to unexpectedly weak sales particularly in the overseas markets in the last year-end sales season.”
Satoru Iwata also touched on the subject of the general attitude of the commentators and media heads outside of Nintendo’s walls. The President stood firm on his company’s stance toward providing unique software that is only brought about by Nintendo’s custom designed hardware.
“I am here to tell you about our future, and to begin with, I would like to mention what Nintendo will not change.”
“Since the revision to our full-year financial forecast, there have been various reports and comments about us. However, we do not hold a pessimistic view of the future of dedicated video game platforms…”
“…We therefore believe that dedicated video game platforms which integrate hardware and software will remain our core business. Naturally, we are moving ahead with research and development efforts for future hardware as we have done before and we are not planning to give up our own hardware systems and shift our axis toward other platforms.”
Iwata San, went on to remind the audience that the woes of the present are temporary and uses the past successes of Nintendo like the Wii Remote, Wii Balance Board, the innovations of the Nintendo DS more particularly the dual-screen one touch screen. These are devices and platforms designed by Nintendo that helped keep the company in the black as long as it did regardless of strifes that occurred during those times. I can say that what the President had to say was spot on though, that doesn’t change the fact that the company financial goals are facing struggles that wasn’t seen in recent history. There are those out in the interwebz that say that “the 3DS has faced similar troubles” yet, I can rebuttal those remarks by saying that lightning doesn’t strike twice in the same spot and what was tried for the now successful 3DS was done for the Wii U and it did not share the same outcome. Hindsight is the best way to plan for the future by reflecting on the trip-ups of the past and so, Satoru went on to say that the company must now refocus onto the present leading into the future and find ways to trail blaze new ways to impress the consumers like they’ve done in the past.
“Given this background, in expanding our dedicated video game platforms in the future, we hope to firmly decide what aspects from the past should be kept and what should be dramatically changed in order to leverage our core competency.”
“One more thing, we will continue to value the motto which we inherited from the company’s former president, Mr. Yamauchi: The True Value of Entertainment lies in Individuality.”
So, with all that said Iwata San revealed the not so obvious about the company well, at least to us that the company “…is not a resource-rich company, with only a little more than 5,000 employees on a consolidated basis” and that Mr. Yamauchi’s motto should be held in highest regard considering that fact. This means that Nintendo cannot simply imitate others in the market attempting to catch a fairy in the bottle like Bowser in Super Mario 3D World. Mr. Iwata went on to elaborate on the current losses and what the short term goals will be and the 1st on the list is the infamous Wii U Gamepad, he realises that Nintendo needs to “Thoroughly enriching the value of the most significant feature of the Wii U” he goes on to state that the company failed to provide definitive software & a solid way to communicate the value of the Gamepad let alone, confusion on the fact that the Gamepad is not an add-on to the Wii which, further wedged the consumers into a position that doesn’t make them select the next generation nintendo hardware over its predecessor the Nintendo Wii. Nintendo found it challenging to show off the appeal of the Gamepad to the consumers who isn’t actively engaged within the realm of video games also, he acknowledged that this year (I’m assuming fiscal year) the company’s top priority is to offer titles that are only available due to the Gamepad. Satoru went on to explain that though Nintendo provided several of titles gathering gamers in one place to play that they dropped the ball on offering solid software titles that enriched the gamers gamepad experience. Mr. Miyamoto and his software department will place that objective at the top of their list this year.
Satoru Iwata discussed the feature only used once with “Pokémon Rumble U” the NFC (Near-Field Communication) reader/writer function wasn’t utilized to its full potential and this year they will make full use of its functionality by suggesting new unique ways to expand upon the reader such as the already announced last year NFC payments with JR East’s “Suica”. There also was a mention of the upcoming update for the Wii U that uses the Gamepad off TV play function & allows the player to use the NEW “Quick Start Menu” which I wrote an article up previously showing a mock-up how it would work.
“…the GamePad is the only video game platform with an NFC reader… “Pokémon Rumble U” has already taken advantage of this function, but aside from this title, Wii U has failed to make use of the full potential of this…This year, we will make full use of this function…implementation of NFC payments with JR East’s “Suica,” which we announced…We will showcase our detailed propositions for utilizing the NFC functionality at E3”
“…one of the major benefits of the GamePad is that we easily play video games without using the TV, and this has been well received…however, after starting up Wii U, there is a wait of over 20 seconds before we can select a video game title…To solve this problem, a quick start menu for the GamePad will become a reality after a future system update planned for early summer. This new function is currently under development…”
There were a series of slides shown during the Investment Briefing talking about the connection between their platforms (Home Console & Handheld Machines) in the past, Satoru expands upon how Nintendo would introduce the Mobile platform via the NNID (Nintendo Network Identification) system to connect all platforms and consumers with a unified account system in the future, which is starting to take shape presently. Iwata San, explained that the connection between the two different platforms in the past and presently have been by connecting the consumers and hardware by providing “Backwards Compatibility” using its software as its bridge. The NNIDs were created to “…Transform customer relationship management from device-based to account-based…” he explained how the Wii U was created to be account-based but, the 3DS was initially created to be device-based which was hard to to bring all of its features over perfectly. Besides, the frustrations they have managed to step in the right direction, they have “uniformly managed system in which we are connected with our consumers on all devices” in the future the hardware instead of building up a new install base Nintendo hopes to build upon the existing connections with their consumers via the NNIDs while continuing to maintain them.
“…Another very important point that we need to consider is how we will incorporate smart devices into Nintendo platforms, which were composed solely of Nintendo hardware in the past.The traditional…video game platform imposed a restriction in which we were unable to connect…unless they purchased a Nintendo system…competition for consumers’ time and attention has become fierce…take advantage of smart devices is an extremely important question to answer…to be absolutely clear…this does not mean simply supplying Nintendo games on smart devices.”
It seems to me that while Nintendo’s President seems like a hopeful optimist who is out of touch the guys behind the Shy Guy masks over there at Nintendo have plenty of things on their agendas. I am happy & relieved that they are still on top of their game though, I am not sure how they can salvage the losses amassed within the Wii U’s 1st two years, only time will tell I’m excited the winds of change are in Nintendo’s sails.
The President, mentioned how hes heard how Nintendo should release it’s IP’s to smart devices is an illogical not to expand their business on these devices because of the install base on that corner of the market. He elaborates that “we believe that we cannot show our strength as an integrated hardware-software business in this field, and therefore it would difficult to continue the same scale of business in the medium- to long term.” Further more they shall use the mobile platform to focus on achieving a closer bond with their customers on on smart devices, IP’s on these platforms would essentially loosen that bound even more. Behind these efforts Nintendo will dedicate a small team of developers to head up this project.
“Having said that, however, in the current environment surrounding smart devices, we feel that we will not be able to gain the support of many consumers unless we are able to provide something truly valuable that is unique to Nintendo. Accordingly, I have not given any restrictions to the development team, even not ruling out the possibility of making games or using our game characters. However, if you report that we will release Mario on smart devices, it would be a completely misleading statement.”
Satoru Iwata goes on to explain that their intentions are to release application on these smart devices this year attempting to attract consumers attention and display the value of their products.
I sit back and think on how they are finding new ways to extend their install base through mobile platforms while, I sit around watching the boob tube watching prime time television and don’t see any Advertisements on channels that are not children networks. Now that we now know that though Nintendo has a boat-load of cash in the bank it wisely spends it because of it’s lack of resource abundance. This whole small team on the mobile platform thing just might bring more interest into the Wii U platform more specifically with minimal resources. My jaw would’ve dropped to the floor if this wasn’t Nintendo making this upcoming statement
“If we succeed in the redefinition of video game platforms…our account-based connections with consumers will become very clear. For example, until now it has been taken for granted that software is offered to users at the same price regardless of how many titles they purchase in a year, be it one, five or even ten titles…our account system, if we can offer flexible price points to consumers who meet certain conditions, we can create a situation where these consumers can enjoy our software at cheaper price points when they purchase more.”
I sure hope that Nintendo gets their wish and I’m sure the staff & readers here at Real Otaku Gamer sure would too! Iwata San goes on to explain that “we do not need to limit the condition to the number of software titles they purchase. Inviting friends to start playing a particular software title is also an example of a possible condition.” I wish this briefing was revealed to us all in some sort of live feed because hearing this tidbit of info literally made me flip my wig. Iwata talks about how this mechanism that could increase the player numbers per title in return more friends playing with friend.
So, far I haven’t heard anything about online play amongst this whole spiel on friends playing together and connecting consumers via account-based systems on various platforms, my question is where will this very integral part of the video gaming culture fit into all of this? I believe that there are big positives throughout the briefing but, at the end throughout all the gains planned in Nintendo’s future somethings still need some explaining and I’m sure given time they too shall come to pass.