During the annual shareholders meeting for Nintendo this past week, some interesting conversation has finally been made available to the public. One of the questions posed by a shareholder was that some people are worried that Nintendo will stray away from the business of making and selling video games and focus more on health devices, like the QoL platform discussed by Satoru Iwata at the beginning of this year.
This particular investor stated that he would like to be an investor for the long term, but he’s worried that the new direction of the company could be something that’s not compatible with his vision. Here’s a snippet of the question as posed:
Question: It seems to me that the hardware-software integrated platform business will not last forever. Is Nintendo not going to change this business model? If not, I am concerned that failure of the next hardware system could be critical. In order to wipe away my anxiety, I would like to hear about Nintendo’s dreams for the future, especially from Mr. Miyamoto.
Miyamoto’s answer spoke not only of hand-me-down smartphones, which are how many new gamers are exposed to the world of gaming, but also on the fact that he doesn’t believe that sort of gaming is sustainable.
The entertainment business inherently has a lot of ups and downs. When I joined the company over 30 years ago, Nintendo had a great amount of debt loans. Now, it is sometimes said that Nintendo is too cash-rich, but this is essential for us to try new endeavors. I am sorry for the shareholder who just asked this question, but I cannot predict what is going to happen 10 years from now. It is true that I have a sense of fear in that “hand-me-down smartphones,” as pointed out by another shareholder, are becoming hardware systems on which to play games due to their prices being lower than that of our most inexpensive video game system in our history. However, I do not believe that will completely control the future of video games.
To help assuage some of the fears outlined by shareholders, Miyamoto continued by saying that he doesn’t believe the entertainment industry is going anywhere and that “new forms of entertainment are always born.” He states that Nintendo needs to work with a “clear consciousness” and that the appeal of video games is not transient, but something that’s instinctual.