Nintendo has released a very vague proposal to its investors in which the company states they are looking to “redefine entertainment,” though maintain that they are not going abandon their commitments to video games.
Nintendo president Satoru Iwata held a Q&A meeting with the company’s investors recently, with an English translation being published today. In the meeting, Iwata was asked about how he aimed to expand the “gaming population,” addressing the issues the company have had with bringing the Wii U to the same sizable audience that the Wii enjoyed, and how he hoped to encourage Nintendo to broaden its horizons when it came to the medium.
“For the last few years I have been wondering whether people inside the company have a clear image as to exactly how we could expand the gaming population,” Iwata said. “We could not show a significant difference to our consumers as long as we were repeating similar things that we had done with Nintendo DS and Wii.”
He continued: “I realized that we would have to redefine our definition of video games in order to cope with this situation. When we were aiming to expand the gaming population, we were, in fact, also announcing that we would expand the definition of video games, and we actually made video games out of nurturing dogs, training your brain, playing sports by moving a remote control, and weighing yourself and exercising every day.
“I know I do not need to explain to you the games to which I am referring. So, even though we had been expanding the definition of video games, I recognized that we would need to expand this definition further.”
Nintendo’s mysterious Quality of Life program is the subject of much discussion within the company.
In the most intriguing snippet from the interview, Iwata referred to he company’s “Quality of Life” program, a mysterious new voyage for the company in which they actively want to improve their consumers’ lifestyles, something which they have previously displayed with the Wii Fit series.
“The real issue seemed to be that people inside the company appeared to be obsessed with the belief that Nintendo is a company that makes video games and should make nothing else,” he added. “This is one of the reasons we revised our definition of entertainment and why I announced that Nintendo’s goal for the next 10 years is to “improve people’s QOL in enjoyable ways.””
Addressing the rumors that Nintendo would drop console development following the disappointing of the sales of the Wii U, Iwata said: “Speculation spread that Nintendo might announce it would give up on its dedicated video game business and release its game software on smartphones. Perhaps, since I made the announcement to redefine entertainment at such timing, my message did not leave a strong impression on people outside the company.
“However, in the past year, I have been repeatedly saying this message internally at Nintendo. As a result, such a misbelief that Nintendo is solely a video game company that can make games and nothing else has waned a bit inside the company.”
So it seems that Nintendo is looking to go in a bold new direction that no longer solely focuses upon video games, perhaps including a little of Sony and Microsoft’s multimedia ethos into their business strategy. I’m interested in finding out what exactly this Quality of Life program may be, though as someone who let the Wii Fit bandwagon pass me by completely, I’m not sure this kind of announcement is targeted towards me. Perhaps this spells brighter things for Nintendo’s future, though, and that’s always a good thing.