Nintendo plans new game product

“We are preparing a new product which will give a fresh surprise to consumers,” President Satoru Iwata told a news conference on the video game maker’s business strategy.

Iwata said the announcement would be aimed at helping investors understand where the industry veteran is heading and what it is focused on.

Poor explanation, poor results

Iwata said a poor explanation about Nintendo’s mid-term business strategy was partly to blame for a plunge in its share price after archrival Sony Corp unveiled plans to launch its own handheld game device in 2004 which will play music and movies.

“Basically I believe Sony’s multi-function handheld device will not have big impact on our business, but we are, whether Sony releases a new product or not, preparing for our future…and we’ll be able to tell you specifics next spring,” he said.

Asked if it would be a next-generation game console or software, Iwata declined to specify. It was also unclear when the product would go on sale.

Nintendo’s once dominant position in the home console business has been hacked away by rival Sony, whose PS2 can be found in more than five times as many homes as its GameCube.

Keeping up with competitors

The industry veteran also faces a formidable challenge on handheld devices, its key earnings driver, as Sony plans to launch the handheld device, PSP, by the end of 2004.

In January, Iwata said that Nintendo was developing a next-generation home video game console and aimed to launch it in 2005 or 2006, in a bid to restore its clout in the lucrative video game market.

Iwata told the news conference Nintendo plans to strengthen its marketing by introducing a points system similar to frequent flier schemes for air travellers, in which consumers would accumulate points by buying its software.

“We plan to begin the new programme in Japan and the United States by the end of this year. We aim to have 300,000-500,000 users to sign up for the programme in the first year after release,” he told reporters.

Customers who buy new games can register in the programme, called “Club Nintendo,” and accumulate points which can be used for items related to Nintendo’s games.

Source: Reuters, CNN

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