As is usually the case, there was a period of questions and answers at Nintendo’s latest financial meeting. We’ve posted the entire contents below:
I am sure that the hit smart-device application Pokémon GO greatly contributed to the phenomenal sales of (the Nintendo 3DS exclusive software) Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon. How will you link Nintendoʼs smart-device applications and software for dedicated video game systems to further expand the business going forward? Also, how frequently will Nintendo release smart-device applications in the next fiscal year and after?
Tatsumi Kimishima (President):
Shinya Takahashi (Director, Managing Executive Officer):
Shigeru Miyamoto (Director, Creative Fellow):
Pokémon is a game that is loved by people in a wide range of age groups, including those who played the original games when they were young, but this time we were able to grab the attention of many adults who had never played a Pokémon game before, even if they already knew about it. The degree to which it spread far exceeded our expectations. Also with Nintendo Entertainment System: NES Classic Edition that Nintendo released last year, we are realizing anew how important it is for Nintendo to catch the attention of both new consumers and consumers who stopped playing video games, and provide ways to overcome generational gaps so parents and children can play together (Nintendo Entertainment System: NES Classic Edition is sold in Europe and Australia as Nintendo Classic Mini: Nintendo Entertainment System).
We will continue to make use of smart devices in order to increase the amount of people who experience Nintendoʼs IP, and, though the Nintendo 3DS and, soon, Nintendo Switch will remain our most important business, we will continue to expand the smart-device business since it has gradually begun to contribute to Nintendoʼs business as a whole.
What was the top priority for Nintendo Switch development? Now that development has been completed, what is your impression?
Genyo Takeda (Director, Technology Fellow):
I believe that inadequate third-party support for the platform (and the lack of compatible software as a result) was the big issue for Wii U. Mr. Takeda just mentioned that Nintendo Switch is a high-performance system. From that viewpoint, I would like to know how third-party publishers are viewing Nintendo Switch. Also, how are Nintendoʼs internal developers appreciating Nintendo Switch and what kind of development direction are they taking in creating software for it? Also, what has technically been done for the system in order to realize the high performance of GeForce while managing the power consumption?
However, since the start of Nintendo Switch development we have been aiming to realize an environment in which a variety of different third-party developers are able to easily develop compatible software, such as by making it compatible with Unreal and Unity as well as our own development tools. As a result, even companies with only a few developers have already started making games for Nintendo Switch. The development of Snipperclips ‐ Cut it out, together! started with one such small team.
Since last year, we have introduced Nintendo Switch to a variety of different development companies by demonstrating software such as 1-2-Switch. At each demonstration, everyone was interested in the new play styles. During our recent (January 13) Nintendo Switch presentation, we played a video message from the creator of Skyrim, Mr. Todd Howard of Bethesda Game Studios, in which he shared the genuine impression he had already given us when we first showed him Nintendo Switch. Nintendo will keep on creating unique software. By doing so, I believe we will encourage third-party developers to create a number of quality software titles for Nintendo Switch.
How do you plan to make it so that Nintendo 3DS and Nintendo Switch will coexist in the marketplace? And, if the users start recognizing Nintendo Switch as a portable gaming device and using it as such, will it make sense for the company to release a next-generation portable game device?
Is Nintendo considering working with companies other than DeNA to develop games for smart devices in the future? Also, are you considering using the Mario brand to raise profits for the smart-device business in the next financial year?
We always work flexibly like this, so since we are able to develop smart-device applications in a relatively short amount of time, we may get an interesting idea about how to use Mario and end up making a Mario application and releasing it with a quick turnaround. In that sense, we will decide whether or not to release a new Mario title in the next fiscal year as we continue to monitor the status of the market.
You have announced that Nintendo Switch will be introducing a subscription-based service. Do you believe this will contribute to stable and ongoing revenue and profit for Nintendo? Please also describe the direction you plan to take in the future in regards to competitive online play.
I would like to hear more about the current and future direction of your development structure, which is widely considered to be your greatest competitive strength. Do you plan to maintain the current scale for the mid- to long-term, or will you expand it? How will you expand the smart-device team within the larger development structure? My assumption is that there are currently fewer than 100 people on this team, do you think that is sufficient? Also, what sort of employees are needed to help Nintendo grow and evolve in the future, and how do you plan to develop these employees?
In the future, while we will plan the course of development, we may not necessarily allocate exclusively internal development resources. We would like to continue cooperating with external partners who understand Nintendo well when the situation calls for it.
Mr. Kimishima, what do you feel is your goal as a manager in considering your successor? What sort of person do you think would be appropriate to lead the company in the future?
We have to bring in the next generation to ensure the continuity of the company into the future, so it is important to create an organizational structure where young people can take on more responsibility and flourish. This is true not only in considering my own successor, but in regards to all of the organizations and structures within the company, and one of my main roles is to create that type of system.
I believe Nintendo constantly needs to undertake new endeavors. The integrated hardware and software business is at the heart of Nintendoʼs business and I believe it is important that we continue our strong commitment to that business, but it is also my mission to expand the smart-device and Nintendo IP businesses, and to find and nurture the seeds of new entertainment experiences as new technologies emerge.
Nintendo has plenty of talented employees and leaders in each department who oversee these employees. I think it is my responsibility to find a person who will be able to oversee those leaders and who will be skilled at running the overall organization.