Nintendo Investing in New Hardware & Health; Won’t Develop For Other Platforms

Published 1 year ago by

Nintendo Stock

Late last night Nintendo President Iwata addressed a room full of executives and investors to tell them, as well as gamers watching at home, about his company’s future. He outlined several new initiatives for Nintendo, including a new dynamic pricing scheme for loyal customers, and even announced a release month for Mario Kart 8.

However, in addition to some rather concrete ideas, Iwata also teased some more nebulous ones. Specifically, the Nintendo President revealed that the publisher plans to leverage the mobile space for increased exposure and that they will focus on the health market for future hardware.

For mobile, Iwata wanted to make it explicitly clear that Nintendo has no plans to port Mario games or Zelda games to iOS. Rather, it sounds like Nintendo’s plans for mobile revolve around second screen experiences, or apps that add back into the console experience.

Although Nintendo’s Wii U has a gamepad controller that can be used as a second screen, said device can only operate within a specific, and limited, range. A mobile app, on the other hand, can be additive but not restrictive.

“We feel that simply releasing our games just as they are on smart devices would not provide the best entertainment for smart devices, so we are not going to take any approach of this nature. Having said that, however, in the current environment surrounding smart devices, we feel that we will not be able to gain the support of many consumers unless we are able to provide something truly valuable that is unique to Nintendo. Accordingly, I have not given any restrictions to the development team, even not ruling out the possibility of making games or using our game characters.”

Aside from being obtuse, Iwata’s quote opens a wide variety of possibilities for the mobile space. If the Nintendo President is to be believed, it sounds like developers will seemingly have free reign when it comes to envisioning mobile experiences. But again, don’t assume this means mobile Mario.

“However, if you report that we will release Mario on smart devices, it would be a completely misleading statement. It is our intention to release some application on smart devices this year that is capable of attracting consumer attention and communicating the value of our entertainment offerings, so I would encourage you to see how our approach yields results.”

Up until this point, Nintendo seemed rather apprehensive to the idea of going mobile, but clearly their poor sales numbers have forced them to re-evaluate some of their policies. One such policy that won’t change, however, is Nintendo’s vow to keep their software on their own platforms. Nintendo is still very much committed to their hardware, and letting their first party titles matriculate to other platforms could hurt any potential appeal that the Wii U might have.

Wii U 25 Million Lifetime Sales

Switching gears almost completely, Iwata also discussed the health market, and how Nintendo plans to strategize around said market. Again, he wouldn’t talk specifics, but Iwata claimed that Nintendo is investigating “non-wearables” for monitoring health.

“We wish to achieve an integrated hardware-software platform business that, instead of providing mobile or wearable features, will be characterized by a new area of what we like to call ‘non-wearable’ technology. When we use ‘health’ as the keyword, some may inevitably think about ‘Wii Fit.’ However, we are considering themes that we have not incorporated to games for our existing platforms. Including the hardware that will enable such an idea, we will aim to establish a blue ocean.”

As far as a timeline for this new health-focused initiative, Iwata says that it will take about two to three years for developers to provide new themes for gamers.

“While we feel that this is going to take two to three years after its launch, we expect the QOL-improving platform to provide us with new themes which we can then turn into games that operate on our future video game platforms, too,” he said. “Once we have established such a cycle, we will see continuous positive interactions between the two platforms that enable us to make unique propositions.”

Ultimately, most of what Iwata revealed sounds like it has potential, but without any concrete examples it’s hard for gamers to get truly excited. Luckily, the presentation was bolstered by other reveals — like the aforementioned Mario Kart 8 release window and the promise of DS games for Wii U’s virtual console. Nintendo is acutely aware of the position they are in, as indicated by the recent pay cuts for company executives, and this recent news proves that they are willing to change their policies to improve. The only question is whether or not that will be enough.

How would you like to see Nintendo tackle the mobile market? What do you think they mean by non-wearables?

Source: Nintendo (via Polygon)

TAGS: iOS, Mobile, Nintendo, Wii U

  • Alter

    Nope ! /…. GAME ….. OVER

  • Andrés

    Nintendo, please, how hard is it for you to understand that you need to make your games available on other platforms?!?! You risk obsolescence otherwise.

    • Joe

      Like Iwata stated. it would not help their current system;s sales to make games multi plat. It would be a stupid move at the moment.

      • Andrés

        Nothing will boost Wii U sales at this point. If Iwata’s trying to fight the “system dominance” battle, then he will lose because that’s the wrong battle to fight. Nintendo simply can’t compete on that front with the likes of Microsoft and Sony (certainly not now); the Wii U proved that. What Nintendo needs to do is stay on the radar and increase revenue. The best, and arguably easiest, way to do that would be to port their games or release new ones on other platforms. Currently, the only way to play Nintendo games is to buy their system which, incidentally, lacks all kind of third-party support. If the average consumer has to choose between a platform that is tied to a single developer/publisher and one that has a huge library of games, odds are they’ll go for the latter.

  • Joe

    for the mobile market, it would be better to make entirely new games featuring familiar characters. add incentive like linking it to your Nintendo ID to get exclusive extras. That would increase the WiiU and 3ds userbase because you would need one of those systems to have a nintendo ID. Perhaps playing those mobile games could unlock more content in games on the systems by way of the user ID. Porting the current games over would be pretentious and stupid as the mobile controls are bad all the time. Make games that are new and that utilize the controls better.Even an app thjat turns your entire screen into an NES controller or SNES.

  • Coop

    I find it funny how everyone wants/has the desire for nintendo games on other platforms but are not willing to invest in nintendo products that they’re used on. You want mario kart, you want super smash bros, you want Zelda, then buy a wii u or a 3DS. This is how it feels being a wii u owner and you see the likes of EA and other developers bail out on your system, and it’s not because they can’t run the games and the wii u, it’s because they cannot be bothered to.

    • Andrés

      Speaking for myself, I’m not interested in every Nintendo game ever made. At most, I might buy the Zelda games. In that case, buying an entire system in order to play one or two games at most (again, no third-party support) feels a bit pointless.

      • Vigil

        Why did you buy a Ps4/XboxOne?

        • Andrés

          Who says I did?

  • Cariannis

    “Investing in New Hardware & Health”…I’m looking at that with a pork chop sandwich in my hand.

  • Daniel Carlson

    back to the health focus…. ugh

  • Daniel Carlson

    so apparently nintendo partnered with campbells soup to help promote it and the wii u. just saw an ad for it this morning. maybe this is part of their strategy

  • THG

    If any company should buy the rights to any of Nintendo’s games it should be Sony. If Microsoft buys them then every game bought will be ruined because thats how bad Microsoft is.

  • Jonimelavo

    I think if Nintendo were a software developer/publisher only, you’d see them go multiplat with their games (kind of how Sega has). However, with them pushing and supporting their own hardware, it’s very unlikely you’ll see a Mario game on X1 or PS4 (or 360 and PS3 for that matter).

    I understand this POV, unfortunately it means I’ll lose out on playing Nintendo games, as I currently cannot justify forking out £250 on a system that only has a couple of games that interest me and that has virtually no third party support.

  • Joshua Belcher


    It would be PERFECT for smart devices, and it wouldn’t feel cheap either, well, no cheaper than playing Super Mario All-Stars, or games on the Virtual console, actually, a game like NES Remix, or especially a game developed specifically for smart devices would not diminish Nintendo’s brand, it would even pull in the casual market of gamers and help sell Nintendo hardware IF they harness advertising well enough to inform casual gamers about Nintendo hardware and the benefits of owning a 3ds or wii u, mobile games thrive on ads, which when touched redirect you to certain links, all they’d have to do is set on the ads, it won’t be earing revenue from it, but it would drive sales.

    Also, people pirate apps/apks/games, so the game should probably be free for everyone, short but enjoyable, and used mainly to direct people to their website.