After ending 2013 on a high note with some stellar 3DS titles (Pokemon X & Y, Zelda: A Link Between Worlds) and a mini Wii U revival (thanks to Super Mario Bros. 3D World), there was a growing sentiment that Nintendo had the potential for a pretty big 2014. Moreover, with impending hits on the way for the Wii U like Mario Kart 8, we came up with a list of announcements we were hoping to hear from the Mario-makers this year. Apparently, Nintendo had some plans of its own that we would not have predicted…
Each time Nintendo is about to release a major statement, fans everywhere around the world start to cross their fingers for news on a new Metroid or Zelda game for the Wii U. After today’s announcement, those hopeful fans unfortunately have to keep wishing.
In a new Nintendo Message from the President, Satoru Iwata decided to focus on health and fitness, rather than gaming.
“…As the business environment around us has shifted with the times, we have decided to redefine entertainment as something that improves people’s quality of life (“QOL”) in enjoyable ways and expand our business areas. What Nintendo will try to achieve in the next 10 years is a platform business that improves people’s QOL in enjoyable ways.”
Before anyone panics, the Nintendo president made it very clear that the company will not be abandoning the video game sector in any sense. Iwata also stressed that dedicated video game platforms will remain Nintendo’s core focus. This QOL improvement project, however, will be the main focus of a new business area apart from the company’s dedicated video game business.
Iwata was tight-lipped about the specific details of the QOL project, so we have no idea at this point whether a new platform will be developed or if the platform will be an extension of the Wii Fit line that managed to draw in so many casual gamers during the original Wii era. All we know for sure at this point is that Nintendo plans to focus on health and wellness during the next 10 years.
There’s no denying that when the Wii Fit craze was at its peak, it was a phenomenon. It seemed like nearly every Wii owner was weighing-in daily not just because it was health-conscious, but because it was fun and addicting. Research has shown that gamification has some serious value in the gym and the weight room (there’s a reason those Nike FuelBand’s sell so well), so Nintendo may be onto something here.
We can absolutely agree with the sentiment of the QOL mission, but we hope the company also plans to give its core audience what they have been demanding. Super Mario 3D World showed that the Wii U is capable of producing a hit and now fans are hungry for me. With Mario Kart 8 on the way, if Nintendo starts teasing some exciting new Wii U exclusives for the 2014 holiday season, the company could turn things around for the console.
What are your predictions for Nintendo’s upcoming health-centric products and services? Leave your best guesses in the comments.
Follow Denny on Twitter @The_DFC.