Ealier this month, the usual Nintendo Investor Briefing was held (though as a Conference Call this time, and not an actual briefing on-site), following the presentation of the latest financial results of the company. The briefing is made of two parts: the presentation by the president, and a Q&A session with investors.
For details about the presentation from the Investor Briefing, you can check out the full thing in this post! For the Q&A itself, you can find the official English translation of the transcript on this page. Again, nothing really new was revealed during this Q&A (which had lots of questions about Covid-19, unsurprisingly), 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 question that were asked (so you can see if there’s anything interesting for you to read):
Question 1: I’d like to hear more about the assumptions underlying the financial forecast for the current fiscal year ending in March 2021. Earlier, you discussed some of the risks if the impact of COVID-19 is prolonged or worsens further, but what improvements to the manufacturing situation do you anticipate as an underlying assumption of your hardware sales forecast? And with regard to the software sales forecast, to what extent are you taking into account the risk of major titles slated for this fiscal year being delayed? Finally, digital sales grew significantly in the fourth quarter of the previous fiscal year (ended March 2020). To what extent is that growth reflected in the forecast for this fiscal year?
Question 2: I want to ask about the financial forecast for this fiscal year, specifically about differences in the outlook before and after the impact of COVID-19 expanded. How did you think the sales units of Nintendo Switch hardware would trend right after the report of third-quarter results in the last fiscal year (which was before the impact of COVID-19 expanded)? Also, the software sales volume forecast seems conservative. Does this have anything to do with a delay in development due to the impact of COVID-19?
Question 3: Considering the potential for lifestyles to change significantly even after the end of the situation with COVID-19, do you think that the entertainment industry will also change? What are your strategies and positions regarding this?
Question 4: Regarding the information about risks related to COVID-19, you explained earlier that it is affecting parts procurement. What parts are lacking in the Nintendo Switch production process? Given that demand for smartphones has not dropped, I suspect there will be concerns about insufficient semiconductor memory in the medium term. Can Nintendo revise its Nintendo Switch hardware production plan upwards in terms of its production volume? In addition, regarding software development, we have heard from other companies that creating assets such as textures (the patterns and images applied to the surface of 3D objects) is very difficult while working remotely. Have you had such issues?
Question 5: On the topic of software, I understand that the release timing (of new software titles) needs to be adjusted flexibly to reflect changes in the surrounding environment from now. On the other hand, even in the case that the company will not be able to release new titles as planned, I feel that the number of titles that have already been released, together with the release of Animal Crossing: New Horizons encouraging growth in the number of new users, as explained in the financial results briefing, has resulted in good momentum. I expect that many of these new users also don’t yet own the evergreen titles. Perhaps it may also become necessary to further consider how well you can sell the titles that have already been released, and to what extent these titles can drive hardware sales. Could you discuss how sales strategies of this kind and others are changing under the current circumstances?
Question 6: The digital business grew significantly in the fourth quarter, but could you provide a quantitative discussion of, for example, Nintendo Switch Online paid membership numbers and ongoing initiatives for Nintendo Accounts?
Question 7: Regarding the development of the Nintendo Switch business in China, can you tell us about actual sales results last fiscal year and what your sales plans are for this fiscal year?
Question 8: Your forecasts for sales units of Nintendo Switch hardware and software this fiscal year are both lower than the actual results for the previous fiscal year, so why are you planning to increase advertising expenses by around 9 billion yen?
Question 9: I’d like to hear your thoughts about the lineup and revenue for mobile applications for this fiscal year.