Nintendo’s got an all-star holiday lineup this year with Super Mario Party in October, Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Eevee! in November, and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate in December. Even so, there are some unhappy with the content releasing between now and then, and investors have been questioning whether or not Nintendo can really hit its target of 20 million Switch units sold this year. As it turns out, Nintendo has more in the pipeline than we know about.
As you may recall, Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime recently told Game Informer that Nintendo will announce more new games before the end of 2018. Speaking with investors, former company President Tatsumi Kimishima went even further. According to Kimishima, Nintendo still has more unannounced games releasing this year.
Kimishima, much like Fils-Aime, indicated that E3 was not the right time to reveal the full lineup. Nintendo can unveil more games going forward at other public events, or they could hold more Nintendo Direct presentations. It’s unlikely we’ll see a big name like Metroid or Animal Crossing this year, but Nintendo still has something more coming out before the holiday season. What are you hoping to see?
Former Nintendo President Satoru Iwata tragically passed away in 2015, leaving a massive hole in Nintendo’s hierarchy. Longtime Nintendo executive Tatsumi Kimishima stepped in to fill the role, and did a fantastic job overall, but his tenure was always meant as a stop gap. Kimishima announced back in April that he would soon be stepping down and turning the Presidency over to someone else, and that day has finally come.
During the 78th Annual General Meeting of Shareholders, Tatsumi Kimishima officially turned the top job at Nintendo over to the much younger Shuntaro Furukawa. Furukawa has been with the company since 1994, and he was previously both a Managing Executive Officer and Supervisor of Corporate Analysis & Administration Division at Nintendo.
In his first official message to shareholders as President, Furukawa promised to continue to expand the Nintendo brand through the dedicated gaming device business and the mobile business, as well as non-gaming ventures like theme parks and video content. He also promised that the company will continue to adapt and evolve to the changing times while sticking to their core philosophies.
To Shareholders and Investors:
Since the launch of Family Computer System (called Nintendo Entertainment System outside Japan) in 1983, Nintendo has been offering the world unique and original entertainment products under the development concept of hardware and software integration. In the field of home entertainment, the video game industry is one of the few industries established in Japan that spread around the world, and Nintendo has established itself as a well-known brand truly representing video game culture throughout the world.
We want to continue being a company that creates entertainment to bring smiles to people’s faces. We also want to expand the number of people who have access to Nintendo IP; in other words, we want more people to have access to the characters and worlds from games created by Nintendo, and thereby raise the corporate value of our business.
Based on this fundamental strategy, we will continue striving to offer products and services that anyone can enjoy, regardless of age, gender, or gaming experience by keeping our dedicated video game platform business with its integrated hardware and software at the core of our operations, as we have always done.
Within our dedicated video game platform business, we will continue our efforts to introduce an even wider range of consumers to the unique appeal of Nintendo Switch, which can be played anytime, anywhere, with anyone. We will likewise work to continue providing software that can be enjoyed by a variety of consumers. In addition, we will work toward strengthening our digital business and building longer-term relationships with consumers through services such as Nintendo Switch Online.
We continue to expand the number of people who have access to Nintendo IP in the world beyond game platforms developed by Nintendo. One method for achieving this is by expanding our game business to smart devices, which have built an extensive installed base worldwide. The experience of playing games on smart devices is different from that of playing games on the dedicated video game platforms that we develop with integrated hardware and software, which has yielded new opportunities to develop and operate games that more people around the world can enjoy on their smart devices.
We are also bringing Nintendo characters to several different sectors, including theme parks, video content and character-based merchandise, to increase the opportunities for consumers to encounter Nintendo IP in their everyday lives. With support from our external partners, we are actively working on these aspects of the business, which differ from the dedicated video game platform business that has been a part of Nintendo for so many years. We intend to expand the number of people who have access to Nintendo IP by raising awareness across an even broader consumer demographic through these opportunities to make contact with consumers outside of games.
Nintendo will continue to flexibly transform itself by adapting to changing times while constantly valuing the spirit of originality based on the belief that “the true value of entertainment lies in its uniqueness” – and we will continue to provide products and services that surprise and delight consumers.
We ask you, our shareholders and investors, for your continued support and encouragement.
We also previously reported that Nintendo of Europe President Satoru Shibata would be stepping down from his current role and taking on a new position as Outside Director of The Pokémon Company and Director of Nintendo. Stephan Bole has since been announced as his replacement and will take over the role immediately.
Bole has previously served as the managing director of Nintendo of France, the senior managing director of corporate strategy, and senior managing director of European subsidiaries and affiliates. Bole will be joined by Koji Miyake, who will serve as Nintendo of Europe’s CEO. He was previously the general manager of the human resources department at Nintendo’s Japanese headquarters.
Nintendo 3DS has enjoyed a lengthy stay in the spotlight as Nintendo’s primary handheld since its debut in 2011. You might think the launch and incredible sales success of Nintendo Switch (which can also function as a handheld) would spell the end for 3DS, but that doesn’t appear to be the case. Nintendo envisions the two co-existing for some time, and they recently announced plans to make new 3DS games until at least 2020. Is Nintendo crazy to continue to support seven-year-old hardware when they’ve got that beautiful, HD Switch screen available? Maybe a little, but there’s a method to their madness.
The most obvious reason for Nintendo to hold off on totally abandoning the 3DS line is the install base. Nintendo Switch has sold around 18 million units, which is an incredible feat at this early stage in its life, but the 3DS family of systems has sold a combined 72 million units. That’s a ratio of four to one. There aren’t really 72 million active 3DS players (how many people bought and never opened special limited edition 3DS consoles?), but there’s still probably more people playing 3DS than Switch today.
At $300, Switch isn’t exactly a cheap handheld. Its ability to function as a home console as well more than makes up for this, but millions of potential customers (especially parents with young children) need a cheaper option. As current Nintendo President Tatsumi Kimishima explained to investors, there’s a world of difference between whether a console is viewed as “one-per-household” or “one-per-person.” Switch is still in the former category, while 3DS (partially thanks to its lower price tag) is thriving in the latter.
“Consumers purchased Nintendo 3DS systems in numbers we expected last fiscal year. It has an ample software lineup at a price point that makes the system affordable especially for parents looking to buy for their kids. We expect that demand to continue during this fiscal year as well, so we will continue to sell the product.
“Given that Nintendo Switch is a home gaming system that can be taken on the go, this situation may change if it grows from being a one-per-household system to a one-per-person system. But the price of Nintendo Switch is not something with which most parents would buy a system for every one of their children in a short period of time. Moving forward, we will work to ascertain what kinds of play people want at which price points, and as long as there is such demand, we will continue to sell the Nintendo 3DS system. I see the product coexisting with Nintendo Switch at this point in time.” — Tatsumi Kimishima
Still, no matter how cheap it is, there will come a time when 3DS is put to bed. Whether or not it gets down into that “one-per-person” price range, the active install base of Switch users will eventually pass 3DS. With Nintendo projecting another 20 million units sold this year, it might not take long. Compare the games coming to 3DS against some of the upcoming Switch releases, and there’s a world of difference.
Nintendo’s upcoming 3DS schedule is largely comprised of ports or remakes, including Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, Luigi’s Mansion, and Bowser’s Inside Story. The only other Nintendo-published 3DS games on the docket are Dillon’s Dead-Heat Breakers, Sushi Striker, WarioWare Gold, which are all low impact franchises with small budgets. In other words, Nintendo isn’t really investing any serious resources into 3DS anymore.
These are all games that can be made quickly and cheaply to cash in on the existing 3DS base, but none of them are system sellers. Nintendo is past the point of attempting to drive 3DS hardware sales. This becomes clear when you shift your focus from the 3DS lineup to some key upcoming Switch games, including the next Pokémon.
Pokémon Sun and Moon were so successful when they launched in November of 2016 that Nintendo was caught off guard by a sudden surge in 3DS interest. 3DS sales had been on the decline for a couple of years, but the handheld became almost impossible to find in late 2016 and early 2017 due to Pokémon fever. This led Game Freak to continue supporting the system with Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, but we know the next main series Pokémon game is coming to Switch instead.
Fire Emblem is another example of a strong, system-selling franchise on 3DS (especially in Japan) that Nintendo has pulled from the aged handheld for Switch. Nintendo tested the waters with Fire Emblem Warriors in Switch’s first year, and now an all-new Fire Emblem game is scheduled to launch sometime later this year on Switch. Given that the new Pokémon game is also aiming to launch this year, it seems clear that this is a deliberate move to convert 3DS as owners as soon as possible.
There’s no doubt that Nintendo Switch is the superior console and Nintendo’s preferred platform for the future, but it’s not quite time to write 3DS off completely. Nintendo will spend 2018 (and beyond) releasing the kind of software that will compel 3DS owners to make the upgrade, but they’ll also continue releasing low-investment titles on 3DS to make some easy cash as 3DS slowly coasts into the history books.
On September 16th, 2015, Tatsumi Kimishima was faced with an impossible task: filling the shoes of Satoru Iwata. Nintendo’s former President was a gaming icon and a beloved figure, and his sudden passing was a tragedy that shook the industry. In taking the torch from Iwata, Kimishima inherited a company that was not only brokenhearted, but also struggling financially. Kimishima was not Iwata’s first choice for the job, but he stepped up to the plate when no one else was prepared to do so. Three years later, Kimishima is preparing to step down and turn the Presidency over to someone new. Looking back on his brief, but important stint as President, I believe Satoru Iwata would be proud of what he accomplished.
From the beginning, Kimishima understood that his tenure at the helm of Nintendo was to be a transition period. At the age of 65, he began his term as President when most executives would be thinking about retiring or taking on reduced roles. He stepped into the role knowing that his job was to bring Iwata’s projects to fruition, maintaining his vision for the company while searching for a more suitable long term leader.
In one of his first interviews after being named President, Kimishima pledged to stay the course and finish what Iwata started. That’s no small task when you consider how many irons Iwata had in the fire, but over the past three years Kimishima has lived up to his word in many ways.
Nintendo Switch is unquestionably the most important of the projects started by Iwata and finished under Kimishima. Iwata first teased the mysterious “NX” console just months before his passing, and two years later it launched to an incredible reception. Switch sales were driven by The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild but also by strong marketing. Under Kimishima, Nintendo made the decision to invest millions into the company’s first ever Super Bowl commercial just before Switch launched, and they’ve continued to give it a strong advertising presence ever since.
During Iwata’s final months as President, he had a change of heart regarding mobile games. Iwata had previously pledged that Nintendo would stay out of the mobile market, but in 2015 he announced a partnership with DeNA and plans for five mobile games. Under Kimishima Nintendo has already released Miitomo, Super Mario Run, Fire Emblem Heroes, and Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp. Dragalia Lost and Mario Kart Tour are both on the way, and there have even been rumors of a Zelda game for mobile. There’s still plenty of room for improvement and growth, but Nintendo’s mobile division pulled in ¥39.3 billion last year, or around $358 million. That’s not too shabby for a division that didn’t exist just two years ago.
Iwata’s vision of a broader Nintendo entertainment company is unfolding right before our eyes, and Nintendo’s brand recognition is the strongest it’s been in years. Combine these new ventures with a top-selling new home console and a growing mobile market, and you’ve got a Nintendo that Iwata would be proud to see.
In addition to facing the daunting task of replacing Iwata and completing his projects, Kimishima had to restore Nintendo to financial stability. When Iwata passed in 2015, Nintendo was just starting to recover from three straight years of operating losses. Iwata took the fact that Nintendo lost money under his watch very seriously, even going so far as to slash his own pay in half voluntarily.
Fast forward three years to today and it’s a night and day difference. Nintendo’s latest financial report to investors shows that the company had an incredible operating profit of $1.6 billion for the past fiscal year—the most for the company since the height of the Wii and DS craze in 2010. Nintendo was never truly at risk of going bankrupt any time soon, but their bank account has a lot more padding these days. Nintendo reported cash and deposits of $4.465 billion back in 2015, but that number is up to nearly $7 billion today.
The company’s place in the hardware market was not strong in 2015. Wii U was a commercial catastrophe, selling far less than any major Nintendo home console before it. 3DS was certainly no failure, but its slow start (which led to a massive price cut just months after launch) cost Nintendo deeply, and it couldn’t compare to the selling power of the original DS.
Once again, the difference three years makes is almost unbelievable. Nintendo Switch has sold nearly 18 million units in approximately 13 months, which is about 4 million more than Wii U sold in its entire life cycle. You might think that would spell the death of 3DS, but Nintendo’s dedicated handheld is still selling well enough that Nintendo plans to support it until at least 2020.
The continued sales of 3DS, record-breaking first year for Nintendo Switch, and growing mobile division have all put Nintendo back on the map in a big way. This is never more apparent than when looking at their stock, as Nintendo shares have risen from ¥21,055 to ¥46,180. In other words, the company’s value has more than doubled under Kimishima. If Iwata felt responsible for the company’s financial struggles from 2012 to 2014, he’d be relieved and thrilled to see how profitable they’ve become since then.
Preparing for the Future
As a transitional President, Kimishima’s job was twofold: finish Iwata’s work and prepare Nintendo for the future. Kimishima began work on the latter almost immediately. Iwata’s death left Nintendo with a massive gap in leadership, so Kimishima set out to create a future-proof system of creativity and decision-making at Nintendo.
As soon as he was promoted, Kimishima announced a massive restructure for the company. This shake-up included the decision to combine Nintendo’s two most important development branches into a single group led by Shinya Takahashi. It was also at this time that Shigeru Miyamoto and Genyo Takeda stepped back from their roles as General Managers. Both men still serve as advisers, but Kimishima believes it’s time for younger talents to have more decision-making power.
Since this initial restructure, Kimishima has stayed true to his word on the subject of promoting talent. Kimishima promoted Shinya Takahashi to be the head of Nintendo’s Entertainment Planning & Development Division, and under his guidance they just delivered two of the top-rated Nintendo games of all time: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey. This excellence did not go unnoticed, and Takahashi has already been promoted again, this time to Senior Managing Executive Officer. At 39, Takahashi is much younger than many of Nintendo’s key decision makers in the past.
Yoshiaki Koizumi, who serves as Takahashi’s Deputy General Manager, has also been promoted for his hand in Nintendo’s recent success. When Koizumi wasn’t helping Takahashi oversee the development of Nintendo’s biggest games, he was serving as the lead developer of Nintendo Switch hardware. Due to the console’s immense success, Koizumi has been promoted to Executive Officer. Kimishima clearly prioritizes giving more influence to those who have proven themselves.
Lastly, Kimishima’s preparing for the future by choosing his own replacement. Kimishima promoted Shuntaro Furukawa to Nintendo’s board of Directors in 2016, and since then the two have quietly been planning Nintendo’s future behind the scenes. As Kimishima has worked to make Nintendo’s internal leadership structure more in touch, efficient, and effective, Furukawa has been by his side, advising him on how to put more power in the hands of Nintendo’s younger creatives.
Furukawa, much like Iwata, will be more than just the President of a company that makes games. Iwata famously once said “On my business card, I am a corporate president. In my mind, I am a game developer. But in my heart, I am a gamer.” I believe he’d be happy to know that his long term successor is an avid gamer who has been obsessed with Nintendo since the days of the Famicom. If Kimishima is to believed, Furukawa also has a firm grasp of Nintendo’s core philosophy that won’t allow him to stray from what makes Nintendo special.
No one could ever truly be expected to replace Satoru Iwata in the hearts of Nintendo fans, but Kimishima has accomplished more in his brief stint as President than anyone ever could have imagined. Under Kimishima’s leadership, Nintendo has launched a record-setting console, made a splash in the mobile market, branched out into theme parks and movies, and launched some of its highest-rated games of all time.
Nintendo has progressed from bleeding money to drowning in it, and there’s still more to come. In just three years Kimishima successfully capitalized on nearly all of Iwata’s ideas, elevated Nintendo from financial turmoil to tremendous profitability, and promoted some of the company’s brightest young talents to leadership roles to ensure Nintendo’s continued success in the future. Looking back over Kimishima’s Presidency, I’m sure Iwata would be proud.
Tatsumi Kimishima will soon be stepping down from his position as President of Nintendo, passing the torch on to Shuntaro Furukawa. The incoming President intends to continue many of the plans and business practices set by his predecessors, but he’s also looking to expand. In particular, Furukawa believes there’s room for Nintendo to more than double their mobile profits.
If you’re worried that this means Nintendo will be shifting most of their focus to the mobile market, you can breathe easy. Nintendo’s plan (according to Kimishima’s statements to investors) is still to release two to three mobile games per year as it always has been, but Furukawa is envisioning a blockbuster Nintendo mobile game on the scale of Pokémon GO. Niantic’s hit game (which Nintendo partially financed) has inspired Furukawa to replicate that success with a Nintendo-developed mobile game.
Nintendo’s mobile division currently only accounts for around 4% of the company’s revenue (and some of that is from character licensing) at ¥39.3 billion. Furukawa hopes to apply what Nintendo has learned from Pokémon GO to their own mobile division in order to boost revenue to ¥100 billion, or about $910 million, per year. Furukawa also told investors that improving mobile revenue is one of his biggest priorities after accelerating the sales momentum of Nintendo Switch.
Nintendo currently has several mobile games in the works, including Dragalia Lost and Mario Kart Tour. There have also been reports of a Zelda game for mobile devices, but this remains unconfirmed at this time. Although Furukawa is aiming for a mega hit like Pokémon GO, he says no such game is currently in development.
Nintendo Switch sold over 15 million units in the previous fiscal year, but that’s just the beginning. For fiscal 2018 (April 1, 2018 through March 31, 2019) Nintendo is projecting even more impressive numbers, as they expect to sell another 20 million Switch consoles. Nintendo has several strategies for reaching this ambitious goal, and one of them is reaching out to players who have been left behind.
Speaking with investors, Nintendo President Tatsumi discussed the difficulty of trying to sell 20 million Switch consoles in fiscal 2018. Accomplishing this task requires a strong software lineup, including games meant to attract “those who have not been playing video games recently.”
“We set a sales target for the Nintendo Switch hardware of 20 million units during this fiscal year because it is essential that we exceed the 15.05 million units sold last fiscal year, and in order to sell more units than we did last fiscal year, the software lineup we have planned is meant to attract people including those who have not been playing video games recently. We have reached a consensus across the entire organization, including our overseas subsidiaries, to work towards reaching this level. That number of 20 million units is not one we will reach easily, but I believe we are primed to do it.” — Tatsumi Kimishima
In its first year, Nintendo Switch did a great job at attracting gamers who have been left behind. Games like Super Mario Odyssey and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild had the right blend of back-to-basics nostalgia and innovation, and they both ended up as critically-acclaimed masterpieces and top sellers. It sounds like Nintendo has more games in this mold in the works for 2018. What do you hope to see?
Last week we learned that Nintendo President Tatsumi Kimishima is stepping down from his position in June. Kimishima took on the responsibility of leading Nintendo when Satoru Iwata tragically passed away in 2015, but after three years it’s time to pass the mantle on to someone else.
That someone else turns out to be longtime Nintendo employee Shuntaro Furukawa. What makes him the right person for the job? Kimishima tackled that question recently when speaking with investors. As it turns out, he’s been working closely with Furukawa to make Nintendo more effective and efficient for some time now.
“My second role was to change our directorial structure to speed up decision-making and execution on a variety of projects that members of the management team were considering at the time. It takes people to support that, and it was essential that we build a structure that allowed the new generation to play an active role.
“As we progressed with delegating authority, including the authority for corporate governance, we created a system where our younger senior managers would be able to act. In the past two-plus years, they have shown what they are capable of accomplishing. Our latest financial results are far better than I originally forecasted, which speaks to the fruits of our efforts to date. My successor, Mr. Furukawa, worked with me as General Manager of the Corporate Planning Department to advance our operations. He has fully fleshed out what this non-traditional collective leadership system we created will be, so I believe this is the perfect time (for a change of president).
“With the breadth of projects we are working on, now is the time to transfer power further to new people and to promote a generational shift to bring stronger momentum to Nintendo through these changes.” — Tatsumi Kimishima
Later in the Q and A session, an investor brought up the fact that former Nintendo President Hiroshi Yamauchi once said Nintendo’s presidents must always be “unusual.” Kimishima interprets this to mean someone who understands Nintendo’s core philosophy and stubbornly sticks to it, even when others disagree. In this regard, Kimishima believes Furukawa is thoroughly qualified.
“As to whether Mr. Furukawa is in any way unusual, I can just say he has extremely strong inner fortitude. He has clear and articulated opinions, he understands the Nintendo point of view, and he can express that to everyone in his own words. The Corporate Planning Department (headed by Mr. Furukawa) has the important mission of conveying the Nintendo point of view to all employees, including people involved in development and sales as well as people in other countries. It is important that the department remain on point no matter where the conversation leads, and he has been extremely competent at that.” — Tatsumi Kimishima
Kimishima also praised Furukawa’s experience working outside of Japan. Over half of Nintendo’s 5,500 employees are located outside of Japan, so Kimishima believes Furukawa’s global experience will be vital in decision-making. All in all, Kimishima expects Furukawa “to bring the best out of the excellent people responsible for software development, hardware development, sales, and marketing.” Kimishima and the rest of the executive board believe Furukawa can steer Nintendo in the right direction without losing sight of what’s important.
Satoru Iwata wasn’t like other CEOs. The beloved former leader of Nintendo was a long-time programmer who had management thrust upon him, but he was always a maker and player of games at heart. After his death, Tatsumi Kimishima was appointed as his replacement, and in his first interview he declared he would not run the company by numbers alone. In the eyes of one former Nintendo employee, Kimishima hasn’t lived up to those words.
Remember how much fun you had stretching Mario’s face out on the title screen of Super Mario 64? Giles Goddard is the man you have to thank for that feature. The London native got his start working for Nintendo after helping with the original Star Fox at Argonaut Software. Goddard’s work on Star Fox eventually led to him becoming the first ever Western employee at Nintendo EAD, where he was employed from 1996 to 2002.
Goddard recently met with Eurogamer for an interview and discussed his time working on Star Fox and eventually joining Nintendo. Goddard had high praise for the people he worked with and under, but criticized the rigid culture of the company, which he believes is restrictive to creativity.
You have an image of Nintendo – or certainly I did – that it’s like Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, this magical world where all the games come from.
No, it’s a factory.
Was there any sense of occasion, that you were doing something big?
Never. We had this game, we had a schedule and we had to do it otherwise… Well, who knows what would happen.
So there was no sense of magic?
Not at all. I don’t think there is now either. It’s such a clinical, rigid way of working. It amazes me they get so much creativity out of that place, with Zelda and Mario. You go there and it’s white, it’s clinical cubicles and bells ringing for lunch and for going home and that’s it. How they get any creativity out of that place is beyond me. But they do do it.
This problem, Goddard believes, has always existed in the past for Nintendo and continues today. However, he sees Nintendo suffering a new problem in the post-Iwata era.
“It did change a bit after Iwata-san passed away. Now it’s very focussed [sic] on money. Iwata was adamant that their core philosophy should be on the game, not on the money. Now it’s almost entirely the money, which does worry me a bit.” — Giles Goddard
Earlier in the interview, Goddard noted that Iwata reduced the amount of overtime employees often worked under his predecessor, Hiroshi Yamauchi. If Goddard believes that Kimishima is to blame for Nintendo’s (perceived) shift away from a love of games to a love of money, he should be happy to know that Kimishima is stepping down. His successor, Shuntaro Furukawa, has been an avid gamer for decades, just like Iwata was.
Do you think Nintendo has changed for the worse since Iwata’s passing, or are you pleased with the direction Kimishima took the company during his brief stint at the top? Sound off in the comments!
At their latest shareholders meeting, Nintendo revealed that we will learn more about the Switch’s paid online service in the next few weeks. President Tatsumi Kimishima announced that more information about the service will be announced on their website in “early May.” We already know that the service will launch at $19.99 annually in September and will have perks like free classic games; we’ll learn more about the service in the coming weeks.
What do you guys think? What details are you hoping to get for the Switch’s new online service? Sound off in the comments!
It seems like just yesterday that former Nintendo President Satoru Iwata tragically passed away, but it’s been nearly three years. Tatsumi Kimishima has been serving as Nintendo’s President since just a few months after Iwata’s passing, but that too must now come to an end. Nintendo announced today that Kimishima will be retiring as President, effective June 28th.
Despite Nintendo’s use of the word “retirement,” Japanese publication Nikkei reports that he will continue to advise Nintendo going forward. To fill the shoes of Kimishima, Nintendo is planning to appoint 46 year old Shuntaro Furukawa to President and Representative Director. Furukawa has been with the company since 1994, and he’s currently both a Managing Executive Officer and Supervisor of Corporate Analysis & Administration Division at Nintendo.
Kimishima’s replacement by Furukawa is just one of several big administrative changes made by Nintendo. Nintendo of Europe President Satoru Shibata will also be stepping down, but instead of retiring he’s taking a job as a company Director. Meanwhile, Shinya Takahashi will be promoted to Senior Managing Executive Officer, and Yoshiaki Koizumi will be promoted to Executive Officer, putting some of Nintendo’s younger talent in key decision-making roles.
Takahashi’s current role is overseeing Nintendo Entertainment Planning & Development, while Yoshiaki Koizumi serves as Takahashi’s Deputy General Manager. Notably, Koizumi also took the lead role in developing Nintendo Switch. Given the success of both the console and the games produced for it by Nintendo EPD, these two have quite the recent track record.
Analysts may be predicting that the Nintendo Switch will be a return to form for the company, perhaps even replicating the glory days of the Wii console, a system that eventually sold more than 100 million units worldwide. However, at least for now, it seems that Nintendo President and CEO Tatsumi Kimishima is remaining cautious about the current goal for the fiscal year: shipping more than 10 million units of the Nintendo Switch.
Kimishima made that caution very clear at the recent investors’ meeting, saying, “I don’t think we can readily achieve the target [of selling 10 million consoles].”
On one hand, those familiar with Kimishima will know that he often undersells his company’s prospects in order to reach Nintendo’s goals in the end. Before the launch of the Switch, he expressed ambitions to ship 2 million units in the month of March, and Nintendo eventually exceeded those expectations, selling 2.74 million units in that month alone.
Even so, following the Wii U, Nintendo is no doubt quite aware that selling hardware can be a difficult task. The gimmick of a handheld-console hybrid will surely have an impact, but according to an executive from an unnamed software company, the Big N is also actively encouraging third party developers to introduce major releases “as early as possible.” That’s music to the ears of many Nintendo fans, and hopefully that effort will push the console to the great heights that Nintendo and analysts hope it can reach.
Do you think Nintendo can succeed in selling 10 million more Switch units in the next year? Should Kimishima be concerned about this goal, or is his caution unnecessary? Leave a comment and speculate down below!
During Nintendo’s quarterly investors’ meeting tonight, President Tatsumi Kimishima formally announced that Nintendo will not have a traditional press conference at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) this year. This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, though, as they have not held an E3 press conference for the past few years, instead focusing on Nintendo Direct presentations and the Nintendo Treehouse livestreams to showcase their software.
Kimishima did not elaborate further as to what exactly fans can expect from the Big N at E3, which will run from Tuesday, June 13th, to Thursday, June 15th. If previous years are any indication, one should expect a Nintendo Direct covering Nintendo Switch and Nintendo 3DS titles due for release in 2017 and 2018, followed up by three full days of Treehouse livestreams to give fans a constant look at the gameplay of these titles.
There are no specific promises from the company just yet, but seeing as how E3 is already less than two months away, announcements regarding E3 plans are sure to come soon. Kimishima said to look out for more details from Nintendo of America in the near future.
What’s your hype level for Nintendo at E3? Are you excited since this is the first E3 that will feature Nintendo Switch games, or are you lukewarm about Nintendo not going for a bigger press conference? Let us know down below!
With Nintendo Switch on the way, Nintendo execs and reps are making the rounds to promote the console. In a recent interview with Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima, the head honcho discussed a number of topics including whether or not Nintendo Switch can emulate Wii U games or if they would have to be ported. According to Kimishima, Switch is not backwards compatible and is not currently designed to work with controllers on previous consoles. Kimishima does hint, however, that support for those older controllers could be a possibility in the future.
“We can take games and bring them and make them playable on Switch. So they can be remade for Switch, yes.
“That said, Switch is not backward compatible with games designed for other systems, and is not currently compatible with controllers designed for other systems. Support for certain controllers may be considered for a future update. In some cases, games from past systems may be re-released for the Nintendo Switch system as either enhanced or original versions.” — Tatsumi Kimishima
Would you like to have backwards compatibility with your Nintendo Switch and more ports? Discuss in the comments below!
Since the Nintendo Switch acts as both a portable system and a home console, many fans are wondering if it will replace the 3DS and become Nintendo’s single focus for the future. Nintendo has previously stated they would support the system alongside Switch, but they’ve been known to give out statements like this before and not follow through with them. However, Nintendo President Tatsumi Kimishima further explained what role the 3DS will play in the future, and he confirmed that unannounced games are still being made for the handheld:
“We believe it can coexist with Nintendo Switch for the time being. Nintendo 3DS is a different system from Nintendo Switch in terms of its shape, weight, price and the types and number of available software titles. From this perspective, I believe parents will opt to choose Nintendo 3DS as their childrenʼs first video game system. So we recognize that Nintendo 3DS as a portable game device meets different needs and fits different markets than Nintendo Switch, and we will keep this recognition in mind as we consider the future of our dedicated portable video game business.” — Tatsumi Kimishima
It seems that Nintendo plans to push the Nintendo 3DS as a child’s first gaming system in the hopes of getting them interested in a console like Switch. To add to the discussion of the 3DS, Nintendo executive Shinya Takahashi talked about a successor to the system, saying that the company is always considering options for upcoming hardware:
“Because Nintendo never stops thinking about and researching potential future video game systems, it is not a question of whether it may make sense to release some specific product in the future. We are always engaged in researching and considering our next video game system.” — Shinya Takahashi
So while it seems the 3DS is sticking around for the time being, we may see the next evolution of the system in the next few years. It will be interesting to see how the Nintendo Switch shares the market space with other handhelds from the company. Maybe the two systems will be able to coexist for different types of gamers.
What do you guys think of this? Can Nintendo Switch thrive next to other portable systems? Is it better for Nintendo to only focus on the Switch? Discuss in the comments below!
According to a translated announcement from Nintendo, the upcoming sequel to Splatoon will feature voice chat to “invigorate the competitive gaming scene” by allowing players to talk to each other directly in-game. This will be done through an app for smart devices that will link with the game, allowing you to set up play appointments with friends and teammates through social media.
“We’ve received a report that Splatoon 2 will be compatible with an upcoming app for smart devices that enhances online play. This app will link with the game and allow you to set a play appointment with your friends and teammates invited through your social media accounts. It also lets you match up with them directly in the game and voice chat with them too.
“For example, during a Private Battle, you can voice chat with all of the connected friends when you divide into teams, but once teams are set, voice chat is switched to communication only between teammates in the same team. Also, you cannot communicate with random Inklings you don’t know.” —
Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima explained this decision, saying that “Splatoon 2 in particular will offer voice chat, a much-requested feature from our overseas fans, using smart-devices and the ability to bring eight Nintendo Switch systems together for eight-person local multiplayer. In this way, we are working to create titles and environments to invigorate the competitive gaming scene so that a wider demographic of customers can enjoy, talk about, and continue playing the Nintendo Switch.”
While the original Splatoon seems to have fared well despite lacking voice chat, I’m sure its addition will help teams be that much more strategic in their play. The way Nintendo is going about it, though, certainly is an odd one; I imagine creating a smart phone app is much cheaper than adding that functionality to a console, but we’ll have to see how players take to this approach.
Do you think that voice chat will get players more invested in competitive gaming on the Switch? What do you think of the proposed plans and restrictions for this setup? Is it weird that it will be using a smart device app, rather than something built into the Switch, or do you think that’s a good idea? Let us know in the comments below!
In just over one month, Nintendo will release their next console into the wild. After Wii U struggled to gain momentum and sold just 13.56 million units worldwide (the lowest ever for a major Nintendo console), Nintendo is hoping to rebound and capture a much larger portion of the market with Nintendo Switch. Analysts have predicted that Switch could sell 40 million units by the end of 2020 (which would be a pretty impressive turnaround for the company), but Nintendo is setting their sights even higher.
Nintendo President Tatsumi Kimishima recently sat down with the Japanese publication Nikkei to discuss Nintendo Switch, and he was brimming with optimism. After expressing that preorders are going well (well enough that Nintendo is ramping up production of the console and manufacturing more than originally planned), Kimishima stated that he believes Nintendo Switch has the potential to sell as well as Wii did.
Wii was Nintendo’s most successful home console of all time (in terms of hardware sales), with 101.36 million units sold to date. As Kimishima explained, Switch offers gamers “a new type of play style,” but it also has a controller that can sense players’ motion, which he hopes will seem familiar for Wii fans.
Of course, Nintendo executives also used to say that they expected Wii U to sell just as well as Wii, and that didn’t pan out so well. That said, Ubisoft has expressed faith in the console multiple times, even going so far as to predict that it will attract lapsed Wii owners who skipped Wii U.
If Nintendo’s Super Bowl commercial does the same thing for Nintendo Switch and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, that’s money well spent. Over 100 million people watch the Super Bowl every year, and some of them are lapsed Zelda fans who haven’t played in years, or newcomers to the series who might find themselves interested in it for the first time. It’s a long, challenging road to get to 100 million units sold, but Nintendo is taking a great first step.
During Nintendo’s financial results briefing yesterday, the company’s president, Tatsumi Kimishima, gave an update on Nintendo Switch preorders. Wall Street Journal reporter Takashi Mochizuki revealed Kimishima’s comments on Twitter, explaining that preorders are doing well and Nintendo is going to increase production on the Switch. Kimishima also said that Nintendo is hoping to provide as many consoles as possible to those who want it in March. However, in some regions players may not be able to get their hands on the device until April or maybe even later.
Have you preordered the Switch? Let us know in the comments!
No ChannelImages Our Verdict
Nintendo chief Kimishima said the firm plans to increase production of Switch, pre-oder status so far good.
Back in December, we learned that Nintendo had filed several patents in relation to Nintendo Switch. The most interesting of these was the potential to attach the Switch to a HMD (head-mounted display), suggesting it could be compatible with a VR device. It seems that we may indeed see VR on the Switch sometime in the future following a recent comment made by Nintendo President Tatsumi Kimishima. Kimishima told the Nikkei 225 (Japan’s stock market index) that the company currently “studies” VR and will add it to the console once they find a way for players to use it for hours without any issues. Industry consultant Dr. Serkan Toto reported the news on Twitter, which you can view above.
Do you want to be able to play VR titles on the Switch? Let us know in the comments!
No ChannelImages Our Verdict
3) He says Nintendo currently "studies" VR + will add VR to Switch once they figure out how users can play for hours without problems. /end
Nintendo took its first steps into the mobile market with the launch of Miitomo earlier this year, and they recently followed it up with Super Mario Run earlier in the month. Nintendo also plans (barring another delay) to release mobile Animal Crossing and Fire Emblem titles before March 31st, 2017. As for what the future holds, Nintendo President Tatsumi Kimishima recently stated that the company intends to release 2-3 mobile titles per year, but since then, he has already offered a more aggressive mobile strategy.
Speaking with Sankei, Kimishima upped his previous estimate, stating that Nintendo is aiming to release “more than 3 smartphone games” per year. He went on to state that monetization schemes and target markets will vary based on the nature of each game.
Given the discrepancy in estimates just days apart, it’s likely that Nintendo’s plans are far from set in stone. After all, they originally planned to release five games by the end of this fiscal year before knocking that down to four, and the Animal Crossing and Fire Emblem games were already supposed to be out by now based on their original plans. Nintendo is still new to the mobile business, so they’re learning as they go.
Pokémon GO has been an incredible success since its launch in July, topping the download charts for weeks on end in dozens of countries around the world and smashing mobile revenue records, while also re-igniting interest in the brand as a whole and boosting 3DS hardware and software sales. Just a few months after Pokémon made its splash in the mobile market, another big name is poised to do the same when Super Mario Run launches in December.
Speaking with Bloomberg, Nintendo President Tatsumi Kimishima revealed that his company has high expectations for the auto-running Mario mobile game. Having seen the success of Pokémon GO, Nintendo is working hard to make Super Mario Run just as popular just as quickly.
“In terms of expectations, we all saw what happened when we delivered Pokemon Go. And honestly I was quite surprised by it myself. There’s no doubt that more people are using smartphones to play games. And as this time we’re using Mario, that’s a very important intellectual property for us. And that’s what Miyamoto’s team is working on now: making sure it spreads out just as quickly as Pokemon Go.” — Tatsumi Kimishima
Kimishima continued by pointing to the 20 million people signed up to be notified when Super Mario Run launches as a positive sign.
So our expectations are big. And as Tim Cook mentioned, more than 20 million people have already registered to receive notifications when the game is available. In terms of the game itself, you can download it and play a certain part of it, and then pay a fixed price and then play it over and over as many times as you want without having to pay anything extra. And that should give peace of mind that kids can play it. And we’re hoping that will help it become more popular.” — Tatsumi Kimishima
Because Super Mario Run can be downloaded for free (giving users a trial version that can be upgraded to the full game with a one time payment), analysts believe it can easily reach 1 billion downloads. If a high percentage of those players enjoy the demo enough to pay for the full game, Nintendo stands to earn quite a bit of cash.