Nintendo recently held their quarterly investor’s meeting, and as they prepare to launch a new console codenamed “NX” in the coming year, it naturally bore an unusually high volume of news—26 stories, to be exact. It’s been just over twelve hours since the meeting began, so catching up to all that information can be extremely daunting. Luckily, this article right here is your one-stop shop to catch up on everything that we learned from the long night of news.
This article is a broader overview of the news for those of you who’ve missed the news to catch up on the whole night, and for those who need a refresher to digest an easy rundown. So if there’s something in particular that you’d like to learn more about, you can read the individual stories by clicking on the orange hyperlinks that look like this. They’ll take you right to the original post, where you can read about the details in-depth and find the story’s source.
Without further ado, let’s get into the breakdown.
This Year’s Sales Figures
Nintendo’s hardware business kept staggering along this year, as both Wii U and Nintendo 3DS undersold their expectations for 2015’s fiscal year (which spans from April 1st, 2015 through March 31st, 2016). Nintendo expected to sell 3.4 million Wii U consoles in this time, but fell short by about 140,000 units. The Nintendo 3DS took a bigger hit, as Nintendo sold about 800,000 units fewer than their expectation of 7.6 million. Their projections are much lower for this fiscal year, which ends March 31st, 2017, as they expect to sell five-million systems for Nintendo 3DS and only 800,000 systems for Wii U.
BBC News reports that Nintendo will stop producing Wii U by March 2018, but with sales expectations so low and a new console less than a year away, it’s possible Nintendo will stop production sooner. Nintendo’s President, Tatsumi Kimishima, has reiterated once again that the NX “won’t simply replace” Wii U and 3DS, according to Takashi Mochizuki of the Wall Street Journal, which may indicate that this year’s low expectations are just a slouch. This is a message Nintendo has emphasized alongside several devices in the past, however, so whether it will hold true is impossible to tell just yet.
Nintendo’s software sales had a rocky twelve months as well. While Nintendo sold nearly 75 million games between their two platforms, their software revenue did take a hit. Nintendo touted strong sales for Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer and Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon, as well as an impressive 1.87 million units for Fire Emblem Fates, and noted that Animal Crossing: New Leaf and New Super Mario Bros. 2 have both sold over ten-million copies. But Nintendo notes that there were few titles with the caliber of Super Smash Bros. or a main-line Pokémon game to lead the pack on Nintendo 3DS. Meanwhile, Splatoon and Super Mario Maker helped the Wii U stay afloat with around 4.3 and 3.5 million software sales, respectively.
Nintendo’s first mobile app, Miitomo, was a noteworthy high point, as it has attracted over ten-million unique users. Exactly how many of those accounts are currently active is unknown, but Nintendo is celebrating the milestone in-game starting on April 29th.
Financial and Corporate Status
Nintendo is staying relatively healthy financially, as they generated an operating income of nearly $300 million in the last fiscal year, nearly 33% higher than last year’s, and they project to have an operating income of $405 million for this fiscal year. Despite the increase in operating income, their net profits sank 61% lower than last year’s. This nevertheless marks the second year in a row that they’ve been profitable after three years of consecutive losses. Nintendo still has over five-billion dollars saved up and over nine-billion in current assets. But for a more comprehensive look at their decrease in revenues since 2010, you can check out these handy charts.
Analysts believe Miitomo has been making Nintendo about $280,000 every week, which Kimishima says is “not too far from reality.” In fact, Nintendo made over $51 million only between Miitomo and their efforts to license their IP.
Moving forward, Nintendo has appointed several Executive Officers, including Reggie Fils-Aime and Satoru Shibata, to focus on Nintendo’s operations; this new corporate structure will allow the Board of Advisors to focus on management decision-making and supervisory functions. Nintendo hopes that it will be “a more flexible management structure,“ specifically indicating that they hope to “appropriately and swiftly respond to the rapidly changing business environment.” These changes go into effect on June 29th, 2016.
Upcoming Games, Consoles, and More
Nintendo’s next console, currently codenamed “NX,” launches worldwide in March 2017. Tatsumi Kimishima told Nikkei that Nintendo wanted to hold off on releasing NX in 2016 to ensure that the system has a strong software lineup when it debuts. Nintendo also confirmed that the next installment in The Legend of Zelda franchise will launch for both NX and Wii U, and announced that it’s been delayed once more to 2017. Nintendo’s official Twitter account revealed new artwork of Link alongside the announcement.
Given Kimishima’s comments, it’s safe to assume that Zelda will launch alongside NX. Nintendo UK states that the game is being developed “in tandem” for the two systems, which may suggest that Nintendo initially planned to launch NX alongside Zelda‘s previous release window of 2016, delayed it for the aforementioned reasons, and decided to move Zelda back with it. None of this, however, has been confirmed.
Nintendo is making this year’s E3 all about Zelda—in fact, it’s the only game they’ll have playable at the show. Though many fans would expect them to focus on their upcoming console during E3, NX will not make an appearance. Instead, Nintendo plans to reveal the console later this year alongside details on its price, its features, and its games. We don’t know yet whether this will happen during a Nintendo Direct or a special event like other companies have held in the past, but surely we’ll hear more by the end of the year.
This Fall, Nintendo plans to release two new mobile games, based on Animal Crossing and Fire Emblem, franchises which they chose so they could “appeal to as many Nintendo fans as possible.” Both titles will be “pure games” with “more prominent game elements” than Miitomo. Both games will be “tie closely” into the dedicated games on Nintendo’s own platforms. The Animal Crossing game in particular will be designed to connect to “the world of Animal Crossing for dedicated gaming systems,” although the particular games this statement refers to is currently unknown. Kimishima also declined to comment on these games’ pricing models, so we’ll have to wait to learn more.
Otherwise Nintendo’s software lineup for 2016 is quite thin. Nintendo 3DS owners will get Kirby: Planet Robobot and Metroid Prime: Federation Force later this year, followed by Pokémon Sun and Moon this Holiday season. Meanwhile, Wii U has only Paper Mario: Color Splash (although North America and Europe are still getting Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE in June). Both consoles have a small handful of third-party games, some of which Nintendo is publishing, but any other games have yet to be announced. Last but not least, it seems that Project Giant Robot is still on track to launch in some way, but its release window has yet to be determined.
Nintendo also announced that they plan to keep making “appealing” DLC to “enhance the characteristics of each game,” as well as new Amiibo to “expand the product lineup” over the course of the year, but unfortunately they’ve said nothing about the games or characters these plans include.
That’s everything we learned from Nintendo’s investor meeting, but their partner in mobile gaming, DeNA, will release their own financial statements and hold an investor Q&A on May 11th. We here at Gamnesia will keep you up-to-date with any news that comes of it.