Iwata: “We need to redefine what Nintendo must do”

By Dave Cook, Monday, 28 April 2014 11:49 GMT

Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has given an in-depth interview regarding the company’s future and challenges facing the executive in what is arguably his most trying period as its leader.

It follows news that Pokemon will be the next brand of McDonald’s Happy Meal toys in North America, tying nicely into Nintendo’s strategy to push its merchandising as a way of recouping costs.

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Speaking with Diamond.jp – as translated by Siliconera – Iwata stressed that he will continue the wishes of late former president Hiroshi Yamauchi by moulding Nintendo into an entertainment company, rather than a pure games business.

“Surely, a lot of people around the world must think ‘Nintendo is a company that is just for video games,’ about us, and I believe that there are more and more of our own employees who’ve begun to think like that. Some employees that are in charge of making things, are often kept positions where they have to think of how they can make the game in front of them more fun, so I don’t think it can be helped if others outside of our company think like that.”

“So, even if the fact that our focus being video games won’t be changing, I felt the need to take this occasion to say ‘Nintendo is a company that can do whatever they want’.”

On Yamauchi’s vision, Iwata went on, “This subject came to light when Yamauchi passed away, but I felt that ‘our surroundings are greatly changing. We need to redefine what Nintendo must do, from this point on’. However, I felt that saying ‘Nintendo will do anything,’ was also the wrong idea for the company.”

“Yamauchi was one to always say ‘Nintendo is a company for entertainment, and it shouldn’t be for anything else,’ and he didn’t necessarily think that ‘entertainment = video games’. I’ve been wondering how to express Yamauchi’s feelings, and I’ve been thinking about it non-stop, even during the New Year’s holiday break.”

Much of this ties into Nintendo’s Quality of Life strategy, which has yet to take a solid shape. Iwata said of the plan, “Lately, the words ‘QOL’ have come up. Entertainment is there to improve people’s quality of life. After your basic needs, there’s entertainment. However, when it comes to ‘improving people’s quality of life,’ I didn’t know the difference between us and household appliance makers.”

“At the start of this year, I finally figured that ‘improving people’s quality of life with fun,’ with emphasis to the ‘fun’ would be perfect for Nintendo. And that’s when I decided to use this as a focus during the financial results meeting in January and wrote the manuscript for the presentation.”

You can’t fault the fact that having fun helps to improve your quality of life, but it remains to be seen just how Iwata and his team hopes to push this further on Nintendo platforms. We’ll have more on the QOL platform as it transpires.

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