“We Need To Redefine What Nintendo Must Do,” Says Satoru Iwata



While Nintendo’s president and CEO Satoru Iwata will be facing a crucial challenge later this year, he took time to speak with Diamond.jp about how he will be carrying on the will of the late former Nintendo president Hiroshi Yamauchi on how Nintendo should always be a company for entertainment, but not necessarily just for videogames.


“Surely, a lot of people around the world must think ‘Nintendo is a company that is just for video games,’ about us, and I believe that there are more and more of our own employees who’ve begun to think like that,” said Iwata. “Some employees that are in charge of making things, are often kept in positions where they have to think of how they can make the game in front of them more fun, so I don’t think it can be helped if others outside of our company think like that.”


“So, even if the fact that our focus is videogames won’t be changing, I felt the need to take this occasion to ask  ourselves ‘what is it that Nintendo should be doing as a company’.”


Iwata continued, “This subject came to light when Yamauchi passed away, but I felt ‘our surroundings are greatly changing. We need to redefine what Nintendo must do, from this point on.’ However, I felt that saying ‘Nintendo will do anything,’ was also the wrong  idea for the company.”



“Yamauchi was one to always say ‘Nintendo is a company for entertainment, and it shouldn’t be for anything else,’ and he didn’t necessarily think that ‘entertainment = video games’. I’ve been wondering how to express Yamauchi’s feelings, and I’ve been thinking about it non-stop, even during the New Year’s holiday break.”


“Lately, the words ‘QOL’ (quality of life) have come up,” says Iwata. “Entertainment is there to improve people’s quality of life. After your basic needs, there’s entertainment. However, when it comes to ‘improving people’s quality of life,’ I didn’t know the difference between us and household appliance makers.”


“At the start of this year, I finally figured that ‘improving people’s quality of life with fun,’ with emphasis to the ‘fun’ would be perfect for Nintendo. And that’s when I decided to use this as a focus during the financial results meeting in January and wrote the manuscript for the presentation.”


[Update: It has been pointed out that there’s been a slight mis-translation on Iwata’s quote asking what Nintendo should be doing. The original text read “任天堂はどんなことをやっていい会社なのか” to which we missed the last part of “なのか,” and resulted in the translation of “Nintendo can do whatever they want”. This has been corrected, and we truly apologize for the error.]


[Photograph courtesy Diamond.jp]

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