Investor Meeting Q&A: Iwata on the definition of entertainement, QoL and more

Gaming Population Expansion is something Satoru Iwata has talked about a lot in the past few years (even within Nintendo), so much, in fact, that he was often worried the audience was going to be fed up with that notion. His goal was obviously to have people aware of that very notion even without having to tell them about it, especially within the company.

That being said, Iwata is still wondering whether people within Nintendo know what is needed in order to expand the gaming population. Indeed, doing the same thing as during the Wii and the DS era certainly didn’t work on the Wii U: Wii Sports Club, Wii Fit U or other “sequels” to Wii games didn’t perform nearly as well as their Wii counterparts, mainly because they are way too similar to them. Therefore, Iwata firmly believes that Nintendo needs to redefine its definition of video games: it’s something they did with Nintendogs (where you nurture a god), Brain Training (where you train your brain), Wii Sports (where you play sports with a motion controller). But they now need to go even further.

One thing Satoru Iwata is displeased with is the amount of people within the company who still firmly believe Nintendo can and should only make video games. That’s why he announced QoL during the investor meeting in January 2014: it’s part of a revised definition of entertainement for the company. Unfortunately, this announcement almost backfired when people outside the company started to believe that Nintendo was about to abandon the video game business altogether.

It is a fact that Nintendo is mainly known for its video games and consoles, even though during its 125 years of existence, it has made a significant number of products that arent video games related at all… in fact, those didn’t even exist when the company was created. Of course, Nintendo is proud of the fact that nowadays, Mario is still one of the icon of video games, recognised by millions of people all around the world, but the history of the company clearly shows that Nintendo isn’t, hasn’t, and shouldn’t be simply a video game company.

The reason why Iwata believes people within the company should not believe Nintendo can only make video games, or that the way video games are made should not be changed, is that it creates a high mental wall that is hard to overcome when trying to come up with brand new gaming experiences. Being bound to traditional ideas isn’t ideal, as thinking outside the box is pretty much a requirement in order to be successful.

Satoru Iwata then explains than when making video games, developpers have to make sure players keep on playing voluntarily, instead of simply giving up: the know-how acquired in doing so is one of the reason Health was chosen as the first aspect of Nintendo’s Quality of Life platform. The fact is, health is a very important thing for many people, who want to preserve it as much as possible.

But more often than not, people give up rather quickly (let it be about a diet or doing some sport regularly), which is why Nintendo is going to use its know-how, acquired by developping games, in order to find some solutions and make sure people interested in their health do not give up trying to improve it. There must be feedback and rewards in order to keep people interested and engaged, so that they continue taking care of their health willingly. This is why Iwata thinks people from within the company should not believe Nintendo can and should only make video games: all that know-how would mean absolutely nothing if they did not believe it was part of their job.

In other words, in order to keep on expanding the gaming population, Nintendo should not have a narrow view of what it must do in order to achieve that goal.

Source : Nintendo


Founder and main writer for Perfectly Nintendo. Tried really hard to find something funny and witty to put here, but had to admit defeat.

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