Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata has been talking a lot about expanding the company’s focus in recent months, branching out as an “entertainment” company rather than just a video game company. In the coming years, Nintendo will launch Quality of Life devices to expand to new customers, and they’re also planning to make “aggressive” use of their characters in licensing agreements, with rumors suggesting a live-action Legend of Zelda series is in the works. With all of this expansion talk, how much focus will Nintendo keep on video games?
During the recent investor Q and A, Iwata was asked what the balance would be in the future between Nintendo’s core video game business and other ventures, such as QOL devices. After reiterating previous sentiments that there is still plenty of potential for Wii U sales to improve and strengthen the video game business, Iwata explained that Quality of Life devices won’t have a major impact for several years and that video games will always be Nintendo’s first priority.
“It is natural that we would like to earn an incremental profit from each new business we start. As for the QOL business, we expect it to contribute to the company’s profits in some way in the fiscal year ending March 2017. However, you cannot expect a company that has been making all of its revenue from the video game business to suddenly turn out half of its revenue through the QOL business in just one year. This kind of change requires several years. Our goal of the fiscal year ending March 2017 will be to make the video game business robust. If our software were not receiving high evaluations from both professional reviewers and consumers, our ability to create marketable products and services itself must be questioned. However, since this is not the case, and our products are receiving high scores but are still not selling as expected, there is much to be done in the way we incorporate aspects into our products that sell themselves, and in the way we communicate with consumers to promote and sell our products. And that is the area we are going to focus on. From this perspective, I give first priority to the improvement of our core business. In addition, I envision added profits from our new businesses and then eventually we will be able to achieve Nintendo-like profits. That is all I can tell you today.”
— Satoru Iwata
It will be interesting to see how Nintendo fares in their non-gaming ventures going forward, but it’s nice to see that they still intend to keep the focus on their core business.