Iwata-san revealed three important points concerning Nintendo’s future in a recent interview with Nikkei.
First, loyal customers will be eligible to receive steep discounts.
Second, gamers in emerging markets will be able to purchase their Nintendo games at a lower price point.
Third, Nintendo will consider possible mergers and acquisitions, and is ramping up share buybacks as a result of that.
“We should abandon old assumptions about our businesses,” Iwata said in the interview. He also mentioned some sage advice given by the late Hiroshi Yamauchi: “shitsui-taizen, tokui-reizen,” meaning to act regally when things are bad, and to act calmly when they are good.
And Nintendo has been acting regal for a long while now. According to the interview, its ability to withstand the Wii U’s financial losses has been bolstered by cash reserves saved up from when the company was performing well. However, these reserves will not last forever, especially not with the most recent forecast for the Wii U’s sales.
Been a while since he felt this way…
The first two strategies outlined by Iwata-san definitely work, though Nintendo will have to change the way its eShop works before it can start offering discounts to gamers. An English-speaking, Asia-friendly eShop will be much more welcome, along with the ability to link game purchases with accounts instead of machines.
The lower price point for gamers in developing countries will be warmly received as well, although that will only prove to be a good decision if Nintendo drops the price of its game consoles too, because the 3DS are far out of reach for many in developing Asian countries.
The third point is a little shocking. It must have taken a big slice of humble pie for Nintendo to have said that. The Japanese gaming giant has been fiercely independent from the start, never mind that it may have had to branch into other industries along the way. It is, however, not entirely surprising, because opening up to mergers and acquisitions is simply common sense by now. Nintendo’s strength as a first-party developer has been hit-and-miss over the years.
However given the strength of the Nintendo brand, I don’t foresee them giving up their brand name, IP ownership or independence any time soon. If anything, it’s about time they started farming out a lot of their shelved, yet much-loved IP to studios who can actually do something great with it, because people who have been Nintendo fans from childhood are pretty sick of seeing IP simply treated as a cash cow.
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