Nintendo Investor Briefing Brings DS Virtual Console, NFC, Licensing, Mario Kart, and Non-Wearable Tech News
Over the past week, analysts have been going a bit overboard with speculation about Nintendo. Many have said they are doomed unless they get their software onto the mobile market. A few others have strongly disagreed, saying a move like that would not benefit the company. All of this was speculation in preparation for today’s investor briefing. What was discussed? While it was not streamed online, the notes are available on Nintendo’s Japanese website. So, let’s jump right in to what we know.
There was a great deal of information provided, but here are a few things that stood out. To start with, it looks like Nintendo has finally noticed that people have little to no clue the Wii U is a new console, and even if they do, they don’t quite know why upgrading is worth it. So, they are going to make a conscious effort to inform people what it is and why they should upgrade. Part of it comes down to providing the games and experiences that show off the Wii U’s potential.
Also, Mario Kart 8 is coming this May! Yes, the long-awaited return of Mario Kart to the home console is almost here. Soon, you will be racing locally and online in glorious high definition. More details about the game are coming later, but at least we have a more definite release timeframe now.
Speaking further of Wii U, it looks like Nintendo is bringing Nintendo DS games to the Wii U via Virtual Console. Some games, like Brain Age, will utilize the GamePad to put both DS screens in one. Nintendo also plans on implementing the near-field communication (NFC) feature on Wii U more in future projects. This is something that has been present in all GamePads since launch, but it has barely been utilized. Speaking of the Wii U GamePad, a firmware update will add a quick-start mode, which allows a player to bypass the main menu and go straight into a game after startup. The list of games available for quick-start will come from your recently played games.
Nintendo has recognized the disconnect between the 3DS and Wii U, and they want to fix that. It all started with the combined Nintendo Network ID and eShop accounts, but they want to do more. Nintendo is also putting together a development team for their smart device strategy. It does not seem like they will be putting their games on phones, but they do recognize the need to tap into that market. Specifically, they have realized the need to use smart devices to connect with existing fans and gain new ones. They also want to connect their efforts on the home console, handheld console, and smart device. Further, they are working hard on a plan to leap-frog over the current trends of wearable tech and begin developing non-wearable tech. This is a part of their “new blue ocean” strategy.
In addition to focusing on mobile, they are also planning to put more effort into the “quality of life” apps and games. Much of this includes what they want to do in connection to physical and mental health. This is the area it seems they will focus on with their non-wearable tech. In fact, this is a part of a large endeavor that will truly begin in April 2015 and be ready for launch in March 2016.
They also plan on licensing out their characters more often. What this means exactly is still a bit unknown, but plan on seeing more Mario, Zelda, Donkey Kong, and Kirby “things” than you have before. The United States was specifically mentioned as an area to expect growth. Truly, the most important question to ask is if Nintendo Entertainment Cereal with Mario and Zelda will return to the market.
EDIT: English translations of the presentation and Q & A session are now available.