Nintendo To Expand Into Health And Quality Of Life Business

By Ishaan . January 29, 2014 . 9:28pm

Nintendo announced a lot of stuff today. They announced they’re going to promote their games via smartphones. They announced smartphone developers want to put their games on 3DS. They said they’ll reward their most loyal customers. That they intend to make more use of their characters for licensing purposes.


(They also hinted that Tecmo Koei will publish Hyrule Warriors in Japan themselves, but none of you seemed to appreciate this hard-hitting fact.)


Beyond these plans, though, Nintendo have other plans as well. Plans to expand their business into a new market—health and improving quality of life. This business will be independent of Nintendo’s videogame platform business, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata said at a financial results meeting.


Iwata presented the above slide to investors and analysts during his presentation. In order to combat consumer apathy, it is necessary to extend the definition of videogames, and Iwata feels that Nintendo managed to achieve this goal with the Nintendo DS and Wii. The next step, Iwata said, is to “extend the definition of entertainment” and in this regard, Nintendo will focus on quality of life.


“This time, we decided to redefine our notion of entertainment as something that improves people’s quality of life in enjoyable ways, and take a step forward in expanding our business areas,” Iwata shared. “Being an entertainment company, making ‘enjoyable improvements’ is something that Nintendo excels at, and this definition provides us with a clear distinction from simply ‘improving QOL.’”


Iwata went on to explain that Nintendo hope to improve people’s quality of life over the next ten years using an approach that involves “non-wearable devices”.


“It has been a long time since people started to say that the console era has now shifted to a new mobile era, with wearable technology in the spotlight at CES this month,” Iwata stated. He went on to state that Nintendo have no interest in competing with other companies already involved in this market, and so, their approach will be to develop non-wearable technology that promotes health and carve out a new market for themselves.


When one speaks of “health” in relation to videogames, the first thing that comes to mind is Wii Fit. However, Iwata says, “we are considering themes that we have not incorporated to games for our existing platforms.” He added that, aside from Wii Fit, Nintendo have acquired a great deal of experience working on educational games such as Brain Age, Art Academy, Cooking Navigator and so on, and as a result have amassed knowledge that they can hopefully apply toward encouraging people to improve their quality of life while keeping them entertained.


The above slide illustrates Nintendo’s basic strategy in this regard. The intent is to create a platform that integrates itself into people’s daily lives, keeps them engaged and entertained, and helps redefine health consciousness at the same time.


More details about this new business segment will be shared at a later point in 2014, and Nintendo hope to launch this initiative starting 2015.


“Through our new endeavors with the QOL-improving platform, we strive to promote our existing strategy of expanding our user base even further,” Iwata stated.

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  • Minos

    Market’s apathy created the Wii, lets see if it can create another hit.

    • Cazar

      The Wii U was supposed to be just that. Another hit like the Wii isn’t going happen anytime soon. It was a gamble to begin with and the casual market that bought into the Wii isn’t the type of consumer to go out and buy a second console.

      • The thing is, both Wii and DS weren’t just game consoles, they were also “lifestyle devices”. That isn’t the case with Wii U and 3DS, and given that Iwata discussed this new strategy with regard to an entirely new platform independent of their game business, I think he understands that Wii U and 3DS will have a different appeal.

        So, this other device, whatever it is they’re planning… keep in mind, there are no rules whatsoever that they need to adhere to. Nothing restricting them. No graphics requirement, particular architecture requirements, nothing that typically traditionally applies to a videogame platform. For all we know, it could look like a Microwave. Big ugly thing with no appeal to gamers in the slightest.

        • Cazar

          I think it’s definitely important to place emphasis the word “appeal” when comparing the Wii and DS to the Wii U and 3DS as lifestyle devices. I think part of why those two devices were able to succeed so well in that market is because that was before it had become so congested with other, more widely desirable devices like smartphones and tablets. But now it’s as if they’re playing tug of war with core gamer appeal and casual consumer appeal, and their failing to reach either with the Wii U. I blame that largely on them reusing the Wii brand as an attempt ride on its predecessor’s success; a type of success that could not be repeated.

          As for this new device or devices, I haven’t the slightest clue as to what it will be but I suspect that it won’t be the type of device that becomes a “hit” with consumers, but instead generates most of its profits through organizational purchases or contracts. That’s just a wild guess, but from what they’re saying it doesn’t sound to me like it will be any kind of “hot product” but perhaps just a secondary source of income for Nintendo.

          • I think part of why those two devices were able to succeed so well in that market is because that was before it had become so congested with other, more widely desirable devices like smartphones and tablets.

            Agreed. And I do think the goal for Wii U initially was to be a lifestyle device as well. Do you remember those early presentations when they showed it off at E3? They demonstrated browsing, TV watching, looking up information etc. I think it was meant to be a “family hub device” of sorts. Sort of like an easy-to-use PC that sits in the living room and everyone has access to.

            Of course, that didn’t pan out for a number of reasons, which is why I suppose they’re abandoning the idea of trying to compete for the living room entirely. They know it’s a war they can’t win because everyone else competing in that war (Microsoft, Apple, Google, Sony) has more money to spend than they do.

      • ronin4life

        Nintendo never intended WiiU to be a massive hit like wii, and have said this multiple times before and after launch.

  • Laer_HeiSeiRyuu

    Im gonna put a little Jason Schreir here

    • Altin

      Even a broken clock is right twice a day.

      • Laer_HeiSeiRyuu

        Except the NintenDoomed clock.

        • Altin

          I feel you. Despite not owning many Nintendo products, I can see why they are so successful, besides all the Nostradami pandering on the interwebs, proclaiming any kind of apocalypse.

          • Laer_HeiSeiRyuu

            Those are just pissed of Starfox Fans who yet again, didnt buy Starfox on the 3DS.

        • Minos

          That is a digital clock.

  • Eder García

    RIP Obamacare

    • Ric Vazquez

      Epic comment,so full of win, made my day.

    • fairysun

      Lol, and Welcome Nintendo Care.
      Of course it will be region locked :D

    • SupaPhly

      *suzu head*

    • revenent hell

      I wish.

  • James Enk

    ok… i guess

  • Suicunesol

    *cue Dr. Mario joke*

  • Fox

    I like how Nintendo has posed all these solutions to their financial situation, but NONE of them have ANYTHING to do with games. Clearly, this proves once and for all that the WiiU’s severe lack of games has nothing at all to do with the fact that gamers (people who play games) want nothing at all to do with the WiiU.

    • KoRLumen

      Here is where the point of their new strategy ( . ) lies: .

      Here is where you ( Y ) are in relation to the point:

      • Laer_HeiSeiRyuu

        Nintendo’s about inclusion, not exclusion, getting everyone in teh same melting pot, they realized they need 3 devices to do this

    • Suicunesol

      Games don’t just magically appear out of thin air. You know and I know that Nintendo knows that they need games, and you can bet Nintendo is doing what they can. But sometimes even when you’re aware of the problem, a decent solution is hard to come by when it takes so long to create it. It’s one to thing to admit “You need games!” and it’s another thing to actually deliver those games.

      And here’s another thing–the 3DS has a great software library with more to come, and yet hardware sales are still falling! Who’s to say that simply having more software will sell Wii U’s? Maybe there’s more to the equation? I don’t know–marketing maybe? Or maybe it’s the fact that it’s a device FOR gamers that makes it unpopular among the old Wii audience.

      I don’t know never mind forget it.

    • hazelnut1112

      Because this whole meeting they had recently is only for their plans to make their investors happy, that’s it. This was just for the investors and not people that play video games.
      That is what Nintendo Directs are for. Just wait for one in February.

  • malek86

    Something like this doesn’t sound like it will go on particularly well in different regions.

    • ronin4life

      I couldn’t help but feel it was a Japan only thing the whole time myself…

  • Kango234

    Well, you can’t say they don’t have ambition.

  • Let’s wait and see.

  • hazelnut1112

    Can’t wait for that Iwatacare.

  • neocatzon

    I just read the whole thing. Page 3 is full with benefits for their current and potential consumers. More utilization of IPs and rewards thingy. Those already covered separately in Siliconera but I’m curious with this new market they were talking about. The key point were “those without Nintendo devices”, “unacceptable price”, and “nations”. Third worlds in South America and Asia comes to mind.

    Also about NNID, it’s not written explicitly, but I’m assuming ” connecting with our consumers through NNIDs” plus smart devices means some account management app like what Sony and MS already do. I hope this also involving Miiverse and Mii Plaza.

    Fourth page has a whole vision there. Quality of life with first step in health. Still scratching my head with consumer apathy (no further explanation) and extension of definition as their background.

    Since their motto is individualization (through innovation) I can’t wait for their ground shaking announcement. Let’s hope it’s not like microwave like someone else said.

    • Laer_HeiSeiRyuu

      WiiU’s a vaccuum, Xbone is a water cooler, PS4 is a grill.(or an airplane turbine, cant decide which one exemplifies its launch woes better lol)

      Occulus Rift is the microwave

  • Honestly, I’m interested in this. I think Nintendo does have something in terms of quality of life– Wii Fit and Brain Age took off like a storm when they came out, and I think it would heavily appeal to the market that they’ve lost in the transition to the Wii U, if they can focus on things like that again.

    If they can make things like that into a separate business entirely, while still focusing on their core business? Then by all means, Nintendo. Do it.

  • kardonius

    Hm, ‘non-wearable’ devices comes after ‘wearable’ devices in progression there. So is Nintendo going into cybernetics here?

    Either that or a device that integrates and interacts with wearable devices as a source of augmented reality data.
    Well I doubt it’s cybernetics, but ‘non-wearable’ devices is an odd term to use when they’re talking about leapfrogging the technology curve.

    • Laer_HeiSeiRyuu

      Occults rift terminal chambers for the kitchen

      by adam jensen of course

    • ronin4life

      Talking Robots.

  • Göran Isacson

    While I’m not too clear on what they mean with the “non-wearable” devices, they do say they’re going to clarify it in a later adress soo yeah. I can wait. I do wonder though. They talk a lot about their games like Brain Age and Wii Fit and so on, and the data they’ve gathered from those kinda games. It would honestly be pretty interesting to see Nintendo try to get into the fitness and health business and like, release low-cost machines that makes motion and light exercise a fun part of daily life for families… all I wonder now is if they’ll be succesful with this, or if the fitness/health industry will give a company making video games the stink-eye so bad they won’t want to do business with them or support them entering their industry, etc.

  • Guest

    “Non-wearable”, haha, as opposed to something wearable…

    So it’s a device, so it must float around you or it’s projected to your mind or it’s intangible, something like a Phantom Watch. Maybe Ninty plan is to get into the untapped market of Mystical Arts :P

    • neocatzon

      Can’t help but laugh too when read non-wearable. It’s hard to imagine what the device (if there’s any) would be. No need for skeptical person to raise one brow on page 4. I can’t place any faith but since they said to announce something within 2014, wait and see is a good stance.

  • LDM

    Sign me up for Nintendocare!

  • ElAbuelo69

    Is Iwata deliberately trying to sink Nintendo? Or is he really that out of sync with how the world currently works? A good ol’ man once said “ADAPT OR DIE”. I guess he’s going for the latter.

    Fire him please, for the sake of our favorite franchises ;_;

    • ronin4life

      FUN FACT: Sony works in the Insurance business in Japan.

      Branching out to multiple, disparate things is actually quite normal of Japanese companies. But at least with This, Nintendo has a plan to merge all their business together.

  • ronin4life

    I personally think they need to stop going after the “Blue ocean” the way they are and just focus on delivering value.

    There isn’t anything wrong with growing business, and at least SOMEONE in the industry is trying to prevent its collapse, but I feel there is a difference between solid strategy and huge jump massive projects with only one objective and little to no merit should it fail.

  • samjosiah

    Taking this less seriously than most McDonald’s ads.

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