Nintendo sticks to its console guns despite Wii U flop

Nintendo believes the future is bright for video game consoles

By Tim Hornyak
Thu, January 30, 2014

IDG News Service (Tokyo Bureau) — Nintendo won't be abandoning hardware or licensing its game titles for use on smartphones, its President Satoru Iwata told analysts in Tokyo.

Although he bowed in apology for the company's lackluster performance and has reportedly accepted a 50 percent pay cut, Iwata said Nintendo will not abandon the hardware business, but will try to reach out to gamers through marketing on smart devices, make the most out of the struggling Wii U console, and license game characters to new partners.

Popular games like the Mario franchise will not be released on smart devices, Iwata said, adding that releasing games as they are wouldn't be the best entertainment experience for smart devices.

He qualified that remark, however, by saying he had not put any restrictions on the company's mobile content development team, and has not ruled out making games or using Nintendo's game characters.

The company's dedication to hardware and software synergies remains firm as its core business, he said.

"Since the revision to our full-year financial forecast, there have been various reports and comments about us," Iwata said in a statement, referring to the company's drab results and ensuing calls for the game giant to release titles to outside platforms. "However, we do not hold a pessimistic view of the future of dedicated video game platforms."

"Given that the competition for consumers' time and attention has become fierce, I feel that how we will take advantage of smart devices is an extremely important question to answer. However, in order to be absolutely clear, let me emphasize that this does not mean simply supplying Nintendo games on smart devices," Iwata said.

The company will take advantage of smart devices by connecting to consumers, including those who do not own Nintendo's video game systems, through smart devices to communicate the value of its entertainment offerings, and encouraging more people to participate in Nintendo platforms, he added.

Investors had few immediate cheers for his speech. Nintendo stock was down 3.5 percent in morning trading on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

Iwata also hinted that Nintendo will pursue "non-wearable" health-monitoring technology. He offered no details other than saying the tech isn't something people would necessarily use in their living room, and that more information will be released later this year.

The company will release Mario Kart 8 globally in May for the Wii U, Iwata said, adding that worldwide sales of the NIntendo 3DS have reached 42.74 million units.

"I didn't hear anything that is going to turn Wii U around near-term," said Lewis Ward, research manager for gaming at IDC. "I think another US$50 price cut for the Wii U bundle is needed but that wasn't announced today and it may not happen at all this year."

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