Nintendo To Expand Into Health And Quality Of Life Business

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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.

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(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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Image of Ishaan Sahdev
Ishaan Sahdev
Ishaan specializes in game design/sales analysis. He's the former managing editor of Siliconera and wrote the book "The Legend of Zelda - A Complete Development History". He also used to moonlight as a professional manga editor. These days, his day job has nothing to do with games, but the two inform each other nonetheless.