Nintendo turns to health to revive its flagging fortunes

The games giant is planning to focus on health, which it will tie into its games in future. Though exactly how isn't really clear.

What do you do when your latest console is selling so badly that your president has taken a 50 per cent pay cut? If you're Nintendo, you start focussing on your customers' health.

Nintendo president Satoru Iwata was pretty vague about specifics in a briefing with investors. He said he was on a mission to "redefine the meaning of entertainment" as "something that improves people's quality of life in enjoyable ways". Nintendo will try to achieve this in the next 10 years with a "platform business", he added.

So what could he mean? Health-focussed games? Wearable tech?

Iwata ruled out wearables. He said competing in that overcrowded market is "not our way of doing business". Instead, the company will focus on an area it calls "non-wearable" technology, which would "be able to provide feedback to our consumers on a continual basis".

But surely games will play a part? Well yes, but don't expect endless variations on Wii Fit. "We are considering themes that we have not incorporated to games for our existing platforms," Iwata said. This QOL-improving platform will "interact with games and create a synergistic effect."

In other words, Nintendo will use its experience in games, and in keeping people engaged with such a product, to keep them on top of things health-wise. Iwata added Nintendo expects the new platform will "provide us with new themes which we can then turn into games that operate on our future video game platforms, too. Once we have established such a cycle, we will see continuous positive interactions between the two platforms that enable us to make unique propositions."

Sounds intriguing. Nintendo has previously hinted it's considering a move into smart devices to breathe new life into its struggling business. Do you think it should embrace smart phones? Or is this health platform the way to go? Let me know in the comments, or on our Facebook page.

About the author

    Joe has been writing about consumer tech for nearly seven years now, but his liking for all things shiny goes back to the Gameboy he received aged eight (and that he still plays on at family gatherings, much to the annoyance of his parents). His pride and joy is an Infocus projector, whose 80-inch picture elevates movie nights to a whole new level.


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