Nintendo CEO Iwata Says Amiibo Potential Has Yet To Be Fully Realised By Consumers

Nintendo CEO and president Satoru Iwata believes that many consumers have yet to realise the full potential of the company’s toys-to-life range Amiibo. During the investors Q&A session following the financial results briefing last week, Iwata outlined the amiibo models’ current profitability, the differences between region sales and consumer attach rate. Though he didn’t address stock shortage concerns for the NFC character models, as has been an ongoing problem in both North America and Europe, Iwata did address consumer confusion with amiibo.

Unlike the Skylanders and Disney Infinity franchises, amiibo are usable with a variety of software and, until this is emphasised to consumers, the attach rate for amiibo consumption will remain low between regions. However, the president understands it will take time to do this, and has looked at rethinking the company’s marketing strategy.

We will continually propose different play styles that take advantage of amiibo. But first and foremost, we understand that we have to change the current situation where many people are still wondering what they can do with amiibo. We will persist until consumers understand that they just need to tap the amiibo figure and something will happen, and will excitedly try it with a variety of software. If we can achieve this, amiibo will become a precious possession for our consumers, so we definitely want to bring it to fruition, but in doing so we also understand that it will take some time.

Satoru Iwata Hopes QOL Will Contribute To Nintendo-Like Profits In Future

Nintendo has published its investors question and answer session in English following the company’s financial briefing last week. President and CEO Satoru Iwata has addressed a number of concerns from investors, including the status of its upcoming health-related business platform: Quality of Life. Though not much is currently known about the QOL model, Iwata has mentioned that it will initially focus on sleep and fatigue sensory functions, breaking away from the core video game format.

In the Q&A session with investors, the Nintendo president outlined the current divisions and departments within the company. As such, Iwata explained that the QOL Business Development Department was set up in the hopes to retain a linear structure for the future platform. Additionally, he shares details on QOL’s profits and that, ideally, it should begin to contribute to the company’s wider profits by the end of fiscal year March 2017, though will continually try to reach “Nintendo-like” profits in the future.

The QOL (Quality of Life) project, however, is slightly different. As we had to create a new project and new business model, we formed an independent team called the QOL Business Development Department. In other words, we created a permanent project team in the form of a new department. People assembled from four divisions to create this department and it reports directly to me. I think that is all I can share with you about the development structure at this moment.

It is natural that we would like to earn an incremental profit from each new business we start. As for the QOL business, we expect it to contribute to the company’s profits in some way in the fiscal year ending March 2017. However, you cannot expect a company that has been making all of its revenue from the video game business to suddenly turn out half of its revenue through the QOL business in just one year. This kind of change requires several years.

Our goal of the fiscal year ending March 2017 will be to make the video game business robust. […] From this perspective, I give first priority to the improvement of our core business. In addition, I envision added profits from our new businesses and then eventually we will be able to achieve Nintendo-like profits. That is all I can tell you today.

As the investors’ attention is duly turned to the prospect of Nintendo’s Quality of Life project, Satoru Iwata reiterates why the company chose health as its first idea. He explains at length that when people try to stick to a specific goal, they can be veered off course without feedback or rewards. As such, Nintendo intend to address these issues during the first project. We’ve still yet to hear a formal announcement of what Quality of Life is or will be, but for now here’s what Iwata said:

For your information, the primary reason why we chose “health” as our first QOL project is due to the fact that a large number of people are interested in their health. Also, while people in general understand what we should do to improve our health, it is hard for many of us to continue these good practices. As the Japanese expression goes, “Most people tend to quit after three days.” Many of us are concerned with not being able to continue something even though we recognize its importance for our health. There are several reasons for this such as something cannot be continued when it is hard to do in the first place.

Another is that good things cannot be continued if you do not receive any feedback or rewards. Yet other things cannot be continued because we cannot find the motivation or the connection that will encourage us to continue it to the next level. There are many different reasons, but for most of them, video games can provide a solution. Inside Nintendo, people have the know-how that could contribute to society. This know-how and mastery would, however, mean nothing as long as they have the mindset that it is not part of their job. On the other hand, if they recognize that it is something they could do, Nintendo’s output could dramatically change. At the same time, if an external company has new and interesting ideas but do not know how to use them, Nintendo could be the company for them to approach.

Nintendo Confirms Amiibo Cards Will Be Launched Later This Year

Nintendo has confirmed amiibo will be available in card format later this year. During the company’s financial results briefing, CEO Satoru Iwata has highlighted recent 3DS sales data, including five double-million selling 3DS games in Japan, as well as strong sales for the New Nintendo 3DS in US and Europe. But in among the focus on 3DS sales, Iwata briefly touched upon the Wii U and the hot commodity figure-shaped amiibo.

Since the NFC figures’ launch, Nintendo has sold 5.7 million units worldwide. The most popular, according to Nintendo’s data, is Link for Japan, Europe and the US. But as has been the case since the very beginning, some amiibo such as Rosalina are notoriously difficult to find. In order to handle the demand, Satoru Iwata confirmed today that amiibo cards will launch at some point this year.

In contrast to the current figure-shaped amiibo available, we will make amiibo in the form of cards this year as one of our future plans as Mr. Miyamoto mentioned at the Corporate Management Policy Briefing in October.

Earlier today, we reported that amiibo will be able to unlock Virtual Console trials for various NES and SNES games. Below you’ll find a brief explanation from Satoru Iwata on how the trials will unlock with your amiibo collection.

We are also planning a free-download app for Wii U in which you can enjoy NES and Super NES games with your amiibo in the first half of this year.
With this app, once you tap your amiibo on the NFC area of the GamePad, you will be able to play highlighted scenes of one certain title for NES or Super NES. You cannot play the entire game due to a time limit, but another tap of the amiibo will enable you to try another highlighted scene in the game. We hope that when you tap your amiibo, the quickly changing game scenes will pleasantly surprise you and make you feel as though you have just exchanged a game cartridge.

New Nintendo 3DS Sold Approximately 335k In US And Europe During First Two Days

nintendo_new_3ds_sales_graphThe New Nintendo 3DS and New Nintendo 3DS XL have kicked off with some healthy numbers during its first two days on sale. The new handheld consoles have sold approximately 335,000 units across the U.S and Europe, according to Nintendo’s financial results briefing published today. Roughly 175k of the New Nintendo 3DS XL were sold in the U.S, while Europe tallied around 160k in sales from both models.

Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata explained during the financial results briefing that sales of the standard 3DS XL dropped during the launch week, with fans eagerly purchasing the newer models, as can be seen in the graph embedded above. Of course, the graph also includes the exclusive Majora’s Mask 3D and Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate hardware editions, both of which sold out prior to the launch date. Iwata said the following:

Here are our preliminary sales figures for New Nintendo 3DS launched last Friday in each region, and we are comparing the sales for the first two days to those of Nintendo 3DS XL. At the end of last year, some video game enthusiasts, who actively gather information on video games, held off on buying Nintendo 3DS hardware in anticipation of the New Nintendo 3DS launch. Thanks to these consumers and some highly anticipated titles being released simultaneously, we had a good launch despite it not being the usual sales season. Our next challenge is to keep this sales momentum.

As you can see here, we also launched special-edition hardware on that day. I have received reports that pre-orders for this limited-edition hardware went so well that many retailers closed them before the launch date and the hardware almost sold out on the launch date.

Nintendo Direct Announced For Wednesday, January 14th

Nintendo has announced that a new Nintendo Direct will air on Wednesday, January 14th, at 6 a.m. PT. The upcoming online presentation will feature company president Satoru Iwata and crew. It will focus on spring 2015 Wii U and Nintendo 3DS releases. The last Nintendo Direct took place in November and included the announcement of The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D, which is scheduled to launch this spring. The event will be broadcast in Europe 15:00 CET (14:00 UK time).

Satoru Iwata Wanted Game Boy Advance SP To Feature Sleep Mode

Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has revealed that he wanted the Game Boy Advanced SP to include sleep mode functionality. Because the device sports a clamshell design, Iwata insisted that the feature was a necessity. The GBA SP’s successor, Nintendo DS, was the very first portable game system to have a sleep function, according to Iwata. The Nintendo 3DS and Wii U GamePad also feature sleep mode functionality.

“The GBA SP was also a clam-shell design, so I pretty adamantly demanded of the hardware team that it went into sleep mode when it was closed. ‘This feature is absolutely essential!’ I said,” explained Iwata.

“However, at that time, they told me that as it would take re-working the chip so it could be turned on and off it would take a year to do it, so I had to reluctantly withdraw my request. Nevertheless, I did tell them that they had to make sure the next system they designed would be able to go into sleep mode.”

Happy Birthday, Satoru Iwata

Nintendo president Satoru Iwata is celebrating his 55th Birthday today so I’d like to take some time out to wish him a very Happy Birthday. There’s been a few that have been disappointed at some of Satoru Iwata’s decisions, but there’s no doubt that he’s done a great job at delivering high quality AAA titles. Both Mario Kart 8 and Super Smash Bros are two of the highest rated games this year so he’s clearly doing something right. Happy Birthday, Satoru Iwata!