With a new president expected to take the helm this June, we can expect to see some changes from Nintendo, including expansion in the smartphone game operations. Company president Tatsumi Kimishima and upcoming president Shuntaro Furukawa shared more in an interview with Nikkei Asia.
Nintendo saw a whopping 1 trillion yen in consolidated sales for the fiscal year ended March 31, with a six-fold increase operating profits. Most of it comes from the success of the massively popular Nintendo Switch, but one department the company hopes to improve on is the smartphone games business which posted sales of 39.3 billion yen in the fiscal year of 2017, which made for merely 4% of the total.
“From what I can see, smartphone games are the ones I want to expand the most,” said the incoming president Shuntaro Furukawa. “The idea that something will emerge that transforms into something big, in the same manner as game consoles, is the defining motive of the Nintendo business.”
Current president Tatsumi Kimishima shared, “Pokémon GO,’ which transformed the story and gameplay for the smartphone, became a huge realization.”
Nintendo hopes to achieve success similar to the mobile hit Pokémon GO, but Furukawa was realistic about what they currently have in the works. “I can’t say that there are any that are like that” said Furukawa about Nintendo’s mobile games in development.
Nintendo and Cygames recently announced their partnership for Dragalia Lost. “First of all, getting on the same page at development sites is key,” said Furukawa in what sounded like a hint at future cooperative expansions.
Lastly, Furukawa talked about wanting to expand Switch sales on a more global scale, especially in regions such as the Middle East and Southeast Asia. “For over 30 years, we have been selling in comparatively the same regions that include Japan, the U.S. and Europe,” said Furukawa.
Kimishima also shared a bit on the reason behind Furukawa as his successor: “He knows how to draw out the potential from development teams, and over the past two years he has created the business foundation for the next generation.”
Furukawa also said that he’ll set up a decision-making panel of five directors, which will also include himself. “Other people are gifted at evaluating products. Making the final call on whether or not something makes sense is my responsibility,” said the future president Furukawa.