Nintendo President and CEO Satoru Iwata wants it known that his organization is not just a video game company. In an interview with the Japanese website Diamond.jp (which was then translated by CVG), Iwata insisted Nintendo is a company that can do anything it wants.
The claims came after the CEO was asked to further define Nintendo’s recent pronouncement that it would begin to expand into new fields. Back in January, Iwata laid out a new strategy for Nintendo after it was forced to slash its financial forecasts following the Wii U’s poor sales. During that meeting, he outlined three new primary strategies: Bolster hardware sales with more purpose-built software; Add and strengthen channels for customer outreach; Expand in new hardware directions.
In the new interview, Iwata explained that one of his current goals is to change the perception of Nintendo by moving it away from being seen solely as a video game company. He said it’s a problem that begins at home.
“A lot of people around the world think Nintendo is solely a company that makes video games, and I believe more and more of our own employees have started thinking in this way,” Iwata said.
“Some employees in charge of development find themselves in positions where all they are thinking about is 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 see us the same way.”
In 2013, Nintendo was forced to cut its sales forecasts for the Wii U console from 9 million units down to 2.8 million. That prompted several major changes, including the company’s executives taking self-imposed paycuts; Iwata himself took a 50-percent salary reduction. Despite the significant financial losses, Nintendo isn’t planning on abandoning gaming. Iwata just doesn’t want to be limited by it.
“So even though we won’t change the fact that our focus is on video games, I felt the need to take that occasion to state that Nintendo is a company that can do whatever it wants,” Iwata explained.
One direction Nintendo is planning to expand into is the realm of “non-wearable” health monitoring, although the company has yet to go into detail on exactly what that means. A recent certification from Korea also hints that Nintendo has a new “small video player” on the way, but what exactly that is remains a mystery.
Iwata went on in the interview to discuss how he expects Nintendo to work on consumers’ “quality of life,” and what that means when it comes to entertainment.
“Recently the words ‘quality of life’ have been coming up regularly,” he stated. “Entertainment is there to improve people’s quality of life. After your basic needs, there’s entertainment. However, when it came 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 the concept of ‘improving people’s quality of life with fun,’ with emphasis on the ‘fun’, would be perfect for Nintendo. And that’s why I decided to focus on this during the financial results meeting in January.”