Ever wonder what Nintendo’s outlook for the future is? I do! The Kyoto-based game maker just held an investors’ meeting, which included some longterm plans. While not specific, these plans do provide an interesting look at what to, perhaps, expect.
Unlike in previous years, the briefing was virtual due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. At the start, Nintendo President Shuntaro Furukawa said he wasn’t making any new game or hardware announcements, but did explain the company’s outlook for the future, including how it will expand its intellectual property.
As first reported in 2017, Nintendo has teamed up with Illumination of Minions fame for a Super Mario CG-animated movie. It’s slated for worldwide release in 2022. “We have already embarked on multiple other visual content expansion projects, and are pursuing further opportunities,” said Furukawa.
“Going forward, visual content expansion initiatives may not be limited to film.”
Nintendo also wants to ensure that any IP expansion does not result in overexposure, poor quality, or anything that can restrict future games.
While digital sales have spiked due to covid-19, Nintendo has not given up on physical media. “The percentage of digital sales has stabilised to pre-pandemic levels now that physical retailers have started to reopen overseas,” he explained. “Therefore, we do not expect the increased digital sales seen in the first quarter of this fiscal year to continue.” Nintendo sees half of its consumers continuing to purchase physical games, even with many people staying at home.
“So, while digital versions offer several benefits to consumers, as a company that emphasises unique combinations of software and accessories such as the Nintendo Labo series and Ring Fit Adventure, converting our business to be 100 per cent digital is not our ultimate goal,” he said. “We understand that digital initiatives contribute greatly to our business in terms of improving margins, but our aim is to maximise the total number of units sold.” Meaning? If consumers are still buying physical games, it seems Nintendo will keep selling them.
“We will continue to offer our entertainment experiences both digitally and physically, in a way that naturally aligns with consumer preferences.”
Nintendo will also invest in new technology. While Furukawa didn’t give examples of which specific technologies, he added, “From an investment standpoint, it is critically important that we carefully select the technologies that are best suited to delivering fun.”
“For example,” he continued, “we pay close attention to any potential negatives, such as when adding more features to hardware or services results in a more complicated configuration, gets in the way of a positive user experience, or puts it at an undesirable price point.”
Nintendo wants to expand its Nintendo Account-connected integrated hardware-software business. “In the future, Nintendo still plans to expand its business around the creation of unique integrated hardware-software products,” said Furukawa. “We are also advancing the development of services based on our Nintendo Account program that complements our business.”
“By creating a positive cycle with services and content founded on our integrated hardware-software model and our Nintendo Account program, we hope to create positive long-term relationships and increase our points of contact with even more consumers.”
All this is somewhat vague, but Furukawa started the briefing saying that he wasn’t going to make new announcements, so the lack of specifics that followed shouldn’t be unexpected.
But according to Furukawa, Nintendo will continue to create experiences that will appeal to people that span generations — just as the company has in the past.