Last week, on Thursday, Nintendo held its 77th Annual General Meeting of Shareholders. As usual, right after the votes, there was a Q&A session with investors. A transcript of that Q&A is now available with an official (and reliable) English translation.
If you’re interested in the results of the votes, click here!
For the Q&A, you can find the official English translation of the transcript on this page. Nothing really new was revealed during this Q&A, but it still makes for a pretty interesting read (provided you have time for it, and can stomach the very corporate-style answers from the Nintendo executives!).
Here’s the questions answered (and dodged, in some cases!) during the Nintendo 77th Annual General Meeting of Shareholders Q&A:
Question 1: Prime Minister Abe dressed up as Mario for his entrance to the closing ceremony of the Rio de Janeiro Olympics. Did Nintendo consent to this performance, and, if it did, what were the reasons that led up to that decision?
Question 2: The current video game market is divided into three segments: smart devices, home console and PC. Most recently, the PC gaming market has shown incredible growth and professional PC gamers are starting to appear in the United States. Are you planning any hardware or software initiatives in the PC market?
Question 3: This is about the number of software titles for each hardware system. More than 1,000 titles were released for Family Computer System (known as Nintendo Entertainment System outside Japan) during its ten-year lifespan and more than 1,300 titles were released for Super Famicom (known as Super Nintendo Entertainment System outside Japan) during its ten-year lifespan. Compared to that, there were only between 100 and 200 titles released for Wii U during its five-year lifespan. It was extremely concerning to see this hardware system’s lifespan shorten rapidly and the number of titles decrease. Fortunately, Nintendo Switch is off to a favorable start, and we want to see it nurtured so that it can grow into a long-lived product with more than 1,000 titles released in ten years, like Family Computer System. What do you think about this? Further, I read in an article that Nintendo devotes approximately 300 people for debugging in the final stages of software development to raise game quality and ensure that the intentions of the developers were conveyed smoothly. I think that this would be an extremely effective method for the future as well. Please continue to maintain this software development system.
Question 4: The “Issues to be Addressed” section of the Business Report (in the Convocation Notice) mentions presenting opportunities for a wide range of consumers to experience Nintendo IP and different worlds featured in Nintendo games. Do you not also need to increase the number of shareholders who are Nintendo fans? Currently it costs about 4 million yen to buy 100 shares in Nintendo, so what do you think about splitting shares so that they can be purchased for about 1 million yen, which is within the limits of NISA (Nippon Individual Savings Account)?
Question 5: You have been ambitiously releasing new titles for your handheld system, Nintendo 3DS, while emphasizing that Nintendo Switch is a home console from the very beginning, so I get the impression that you are balancing the two platforms well. However, at E3 you announced that a main title in the Pokémon series, which are considered to be handheld titles, is in development for Nintendo Switch. It feels as if the positioning for Nintendo Switch has changed, but what are your current thoughts on separating your home console, Nintendo Switch, from handheld systems like Nintendo 3DS and its successors, and about balancing the two.
Question 6: The “Issues to be Addressed” section of the Business Report mentioned “consumers who had never played Nintendo games before” getting to experience the worlds featured in Nintendo games. Although I’m glad to see the increasing number of games available to play on Nintendo Switch, I’m curious if you’re pursuing any titles like Wii Sports or Wii Fit that would introduce new categories of play that haven’t existed before in games. I’m sure there are still quite a few underserved demographics, so I’d like to know if you have any plans to develop software targeted more directly at women, or people who enjoy sports or music.
Question 7: I’d like to hear your thoughts on taking advantage of content you have created in the past, especially any non-game content. Kirby, for example, is extremely popular, and I would think that paid releases of the animated Kirby series or similar existing video content on Nintendo Switch or smartphone devices would be a worthwhile investment. Could you explain some of your strategies related to video content?
Question 8: I personally am very excited about Super Nintendo World, which is currently under construction at Universal Studios Japan. Could you discuss expanding to theme parks outside of Japan to reach Nintendo fans all around the world, and about any future theme park-related developments?
Question 9: Several Game Boy Advance titles have been released on Virtual Console for Nintendo 3DS already, but have you thought about making them available through retail?
Question 10: You are running the Nintendo World Store in New York, and my understanding is that this one store in the U.S. is the only one you have. Doyou plan on expanding the number of shops in the future?
Question 11: You have nearly 1 trillion yen in cash and deposits, and marketable securities on your balance sheet. I would like to know how you plan to use these funds effectively in the future, whether these levels of capital are required going forward and what your policies are regarding shareholder returns.
Question 12: When Super Nintendo World opens at Universal Studios Japan, will you be able to provide any special benefits for shareholders, such as a preview day or distribution of Express Passes?
Question 13: Currently, you have used two main types of payment model in your smartphone applications. One model is to offer the application itself for a set price, as with Super Mario Run, or to offer items for a set price, as in Pokémon GO. The other model, used by Fire Emblem Heroes, is to pay for a chance at random acquisition and enjoy getting strong heroes. Are there any other payment models you might adopt? What is your thinking regarding payment models going forward?
Question 14: I think it’s great that we can purchase Nintendo 3DS downloadable software whenever we want. However, when I tried to download some third-party software titles, there was a message stating that sales for this product had ended, and I was disappointed. Have sales ended for any downloadable software from Nintendo? I can understand that rights may expire eventually, but please try to continue selling these downloads so that we can enjoy these titles as long as possible, even for third-party software.
Question 15: Why did you decide to have the General Meeting of Shareholders on June 29, when many companies have their shareholder meetings? I read an article in the newspaper that said the government was considering revising the law to allow companies to have their meetings on different days. For next year and beyond, can you consider having it on a different day so that more shareholders will be able to attend?