Nintendo embarks on a new era of reinvention: Quality of life and health set as new objectives

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As outlined in a previous article, Nintendo has managed to keep itself relevant as an entertainment company for over 100 years, starting out as a manufacturer of playing cards before reinventing itself as a toy maker and electronic toy creator, before reinventing itself again as a videogame developer and hardware manufacturer.

Despite the fact that Nintendo’s handheld business has kept it in good stead with the success of the Game Boy and DS carrying the company during the Nintendo 64 and GameCube days, the launch of the Wii could be seen as another era in which Nintendo was able to reinvent itself and provide a product different enough from its competitors to help it enjoy incredible success.

Nintendo Quality of Life

In the wake of poorer than expected financial quarter earnings earlier this year, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata and the leadership team at the company has had to endure a barrage of uncertainty and questions not only from the gaming public, but from the company’s own shareholders as those with a vested interest in Nintendo became worried about its future, ultimately calling on it to reinvent itself again by considering developing games for smart phones, and even home consoles other than the Wii U.

During the quarterly earnings call, Iwata outlined a few ideas that Nintendo might pursue in the future including experimenting with mobile applications and a focus on health-related games and software. In a company and investor address more recently, Iwata has once again touched on the idea of software that promotes health while improving the quality of life of the company’s audience – an address that may just mark the beginning of a new era of reinvention for Nintendo.

A Ten Year Plan – Part One

Iwata began the address by making sure investors know that Nintendo is and remains an influential powerhouse in the videogame world, before outlining Nintendo’s reason to exist is “to put smiles on people’s faces around the world through products and services,” while pursuing the strategy of “offering products which can be enjoyed by everyone regardless of age, gender or gaming experience.”

As the business environment has changed, Nintendo has decided to “redefine entertainment as something that improves people’s quality of life [QOL] in enjoyable ways and expand our business areas.” That’s an important statement, and one that may inform Nintendo’s focus and future for the next ten years as Iwata confirmed the company’s commitment to developing its own hardware platforms in order to best “continue to provide products and services which pleasantly surprise people.” Iwata continued:

“With a platform business that improves people’s QOL in enjoyable ways, we will attempt to establish a new business area apart from our dedicated video game business. We have set “health” as the theme for our first step and we will try to use our strength as an entertainment company to create unique approaches that expand this business.

“Through our new endeavors with the QOL-improving platform, we strive to further promote our existing strategy of expanding our user base, create an environment in which more people are conscious about their health and in turn expand Nintendo’s overall user base.”

If there was any doubt surrounding Nintendo’s intention to win back confidence and draw on its past successes in reinventing itself to survive and grow, Iwata concluded: “We will continue to value self-innovation in line with the times and aim for growth.”

What do you make of Satoru Iwata’s comments?

Is this a clear indication of Nintendo’s plans for the future and a glimpse at how it will reinvent itself to stay relevant as an entertainment company? Or is this a desperate, ambiguous declaration on Nintendo’s part to buy itself more time and confidence on the part of its shareholders?