Nintendo explains why it wants to improve your quality of life

President Satoru Iwata outlines his plan for new health-focused business unit at Mario maker.

Late in January, Nintendo surprised some gamers when it announced plans to establish a new health-focused QOL (quality of life) platform that would leverage a new "non-wearable" device. Now, president Satoru Iwata has outlined his vision for the new business unit in a letter to shareholders and investors posted to the Nintendo website.

In his note, Iwata said the the "raison d'etre" of entertainment is to put smiles on people's faces through products and services, noting Nintendo has attempted over the past decade to focus on expanding the gaming population by offering products that can be enjoyed by anyone, regardless of their age, gender, of experience. Looking to the next decade, Iwata said, "What Nintendo will try to achieve in the next 10 years is a platform business that improves people's [quality of life] in enjoyable ways."

Iwata did not share specific details about what Nintendo's new quality of life initiatives might look like, but he said the company will "continue to value the spirit of originality described in our motto 'The True Value of Entertainment Lies in Individuality,' and will continue to provide products and services which pleasantly surprise people."

Importantly, Iwata stressed that Nintendo's quality of life platform will be separate from the company's dedicated video game business. This QOL-improving platform will "strive to further promote our existing strategy of expanding our user base, create an environment in which more people are conscious about their health, and in turn expand Nintendo's overall user base," Iwata said.

Finally, Iwata pointed out that a spirit of trying new things--sometimes successfully and sometimes not--is part of Nintendo's history. After all, the company began as a traditional Japanese playing card company 125 years ago. The new QOL platform is the company's latest attempt at innovation, he said.

"Nintendo has continued to try new things, and with a history of experiencing many failures and small successes, we managed to pioneer the home video game market," Iwata said. "What has remained the same from the past is that we have always tried to create something new from materials and technologies available at that time, to position entertainment as our core business and to improve people's QOL in enjoyable ways. We will continue to value self-innovation in line with the times and aim for growth."

The new health business for Nintendo comes at a challenging time for the company, as the Wii U has failed to gather the traction of its predecessor, the Wii. Donkey Kong developer Retro Studios, owned by Nintendo, recently said that the Wii U is a "powerhouse."

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @EddieMakuch
Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

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Discussion

104 comments
xGarrettThiefX
xGarrettThiefX

"Nintendo explains why it wants to improve your quality of life" ??? Hahaha that's rich ! Try making better games and then after you've done that get rid of region lock !!

megakick
megakick

Better games and lowering the price of the Wii U would improve quality of life.

Redblaze27
Redblaze27

But is Waluigi playable in Smash Bros 4?

Tony_17_2006
Tony_17_2006

Oh that's what Nintendo's doing with their console I was wondering about that, the health angle... who cares you buy that console your an idiot.

AmbiguousAlias
AmbiguousAlias

Nintendo may be in the proverbial dog house as of now, but honestly, I respect the Big N the most out of the big three. I was a Wii U skeptic, but I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised with it. It really is a good console. Sure, there really should be more games, but have you played DKC Tropical Freeze? When it rains, it pours. I remember reading how Miyamoto was inspired by gardening to create Pikmin, and really, that's what I think of Nintendo these days. Things may seem barren for a season, but come harvest, you've got undeniable quality that is seldom matched. Seriously, Tropical Freeze is amazing! It's one of the best platformers I've ever played, and I grew up on Playstation. I understand the lacking third-party support is enough to steer people away, but you're missing out on rock-solid, bug-free, charming, highly-playable games.

So, when I read that Nintendo is creating a "Quality of Life" division, I feel good about it, even though we really have no idea what it could entail yet. I'm genuinely excited to see what could become of it. It may be something of worth, it may not be, but it will definitely have vision, and it will definitely have heart. If you took the time to read this humble comment, thank you. Peace.

hadlee73
hadlee73

This article was a bit like an episode of Seinfeld.

ignautius
ignautius

Nintendo wants to get into the fitness gaming industry because they have no chance at other markets.


Look, this is all but waving the white flag for hardcore gaming.  They prioritized casual gamers over hardcore for the Wii, and now that well is dry because you can't count on those people.


This is when they could have refocused on actual gamers.  But instead we're gonna make games about doing yoga and watching your heart rate instead.


You can actually hear them stop making real games if you listen quietly.

YukoAsho
YukoAsho

I wonder if this is Nintendo looking to move on from gaming.  It's not secret that Nintendo only sells hanafuda cards at its home office anymore, and with their home gaming business floundering, I can't help but wonder if the health company phase is simply Nintendo's next chapter, with handhelds being their remaining presence in gaming.

AuronAXE
AuronAXE

No point in discussing this yet, there's literally zero info about what it actually is. Oh look, Eddie Makuch wrote it. It all makes sense now.

tachsniper
tachsniper

I'm really starting to think iwata-san is going for the "lets see how bad i can fuck things up before the shareholders fire me" award.

mattcake
mattcake

They already did improve my quality of life, by saving me £250 by not buying the Wii U. Thanks guys.

shipster30
shipster30

If I want to eat healthy...I'll eat a salad. Nintendo should worry more about coming out with exclusive games that aren't mario, zelda, metroid or donkey kong every year.

catsimboy
catsimboy

I doubt people are going to go and buy dedicated "non-wearable" devices for health. People will just download apps for their current devices to help them keep track of how many Big Macs they've eaten and Nintendo will continue to hemorrhage money while the 3ds valiantly tries to keep the company afloat.

JDWolfie
JDWolfie

LOL. Look at Mario; he looks like he is going to kill someone.

Ex-DarkBlade
Ex-DarkBlade

Oh boy! I can't wait for Super Smash Bros Workout!!!! Seriously, why can't we get Metroid HD or Zelda HD.

Unfallen_Satan
Unfallen_Satan

I just read an article on the history of Nintendo on Kotaku, a very interesting read. I never knew Nintendo has such a long and rich history, way cooler than just Japanese playing cards. I used to think, as someone not in the know might, that if Nintendo went back to its roots, it'd focus more on core console gaming. That's not true at all. The true spirit of Nintendo is all about filling blossoming, untapped markets, whatever that may be, with an almost fearless sense of experimentation and adventure, a spirit epitomized by its first home video game console, its first handheld, the Wii, and other older products gamers don't even know about and are indeed not even legal in many parts of the West.

The Wii U was not a mistake, it was merely an unsuccessful experiment, an inevitability. Like many others before, it simply didn't work out, but it is not the first, and I am certain it will not be the last. The history of Nintendo mirrors in many ways the history of modern Japan. If it can survive Matthew Perry, the yakuza, World War II, and who knows how many prime ministers, it sure as hell won't be brought down by the Wii U. If anything, Nintendo needs to break away from the family-friendly timidity it locked itself into post 1980.

I now have a newfound respect for Nintendo, not enough for me to buy a Wii U, but perhaps another product after it breaks from its current self-imposed mould.

tomtutt
tomtutt

Nintendo needs to improve the "quality" of their home consoles, and the "quality" of their relationship with 3rd party developers. Just my opinion.

Xx_DemonSoul_xX
Xx_DemonSoul_xX

How about you worry about the quality of your consoles? Wii U is dying faster Beta-max.

inso-maniac
inso-maniac

@Redblaze27 no hes an item you can use, even tho he's playable in mario tennis mario kart mario party etc... nintendo refuses to give the fans what they want Waluigi WAHAA

UFOLoche
UFOLoche

@ignautius  Well, the thing is, they're still doing hardcore, "real" games(Although I never understood the "Real" moniker, it sounds to me like something hardcore gamers say to try and distance themselves from other gamers, at times..and other times it's just a term used to insult other games).  And they'll keep doing them into 2016 AT LEAST.  The Wii U will be fine, now, will they stay in the gaming industry?  That's a good question, I think they will, one look at the 3DS should tell you they still got it.


Just because they're making a new division to do multiple things doesn't mean Nintendo gaming is dead.  IT just means they're doing what Sony and Microsoft do(Well, Microsoft, I think Sony is shying away from that now?  I don't recall).

Bellum_Sacrum
Bellum_Sacrum

@ignautius Dat bandwagon. Nintendo makes a couple of motion-controlled games, and they're casual. Microsoft and Sony release cameras and voice controls, and they are hardcore.


Way to go nub, those kiddy fps and wannabe rpgs you're playing must be really hardcore. Let me guess, can't even finish World 1 of a Mario game?

creepshow2
creepshow2

@YukoAsho Did you read the article? They said this will be seperate from their gaming business.

inso-maniac
inso-maniac

@AuronAXE gamespot needs something to print out they cant tell the truth that there is absolutely no gaming news they need anything to type even if its just a quote pisses me off especially using waluigis assist trophy as a thumbnail

YukoAsho
YukoAsho

@AuronAXE Well, Eddie isn't really much of a journalist.  I think he'd be more at home on Kotaku.

teknic1200
teknic1200

@Unfallen_Satan  it's too early to write off the wii u.  it's not going to start blazing but it's got life in it.  Anyone who has one already knows it's a nice machine.  most of the things folks criticize it for are the same with other systems.

ignautius
ignautius

@UFOLoche If you look at Nintendo's comments on why they failed Christmas this year it was because families didn't get their consoles and because parents didn't get it for their children.  They said they hadn't convinced parents of all the fun their kids would have with it.  That's where Nintendo is right now... trying to sell the console to parents who're looking for presents for a child.


I don't know how to define "real" games either, but I know interactive fitness experiences don't count, and will get none of my money.


Nintendo's budget and manpower is a pie.  Any part of that pie going to yoga-based video games ISN'T going to "real" games.  I want real games, I want NO yoga.  Not 15% yoga, 25% "here's stuff your little sister can play", and 60% "real" games.

ignautius
ignautius

@AmbiguousAlias  Because they cookie-cutter punched out ANOTHER side-scroller?  Please, you have to be smarter than this...

UFOLoche
UFOLoche

@Bellum_Sacrum @ignautius  Wannabe RPGs?  Yep, guess Disgaea is a wannabe RPG, along with Persona, Eternal Sonata, Magna Carta 2, Final Fantasy anything(Oh wait, that doesn't count because Nintendo gets those games, ha ha!), and Borderlands must be a kiddy FPS(Along with, well, lots of good FPS games on the console that I don't really play(More of a PC man in that regard)). 


Dude, Ignautius has legitimate concerns, but you're lashing out at him(And being highly hypocritical might I add?) just because he's not falling to the knees of Nintendo and praising them.


Now, do I agree with him?  No, I don't, but attacking him like this doesn't prove you right, it makes you like like a fool who can only think in white and black scenarios.

ignautius
ignautius

@Bellum_Sacrum "Nintendo makes multiple motion-controlled consoles and tons of games for them, and they're casual."  ------ fixed that for ya.


You don't know what I play, so don't start.

Unfallen_Satan
Unfallen_Satan

@teknic1200 But I think Nintendo really needs to explore new markets. The traditional console/video gaming market it helped to pioneer is overdeveloped. Digital entertainment is nearing a revolution not seen since the invention of motion pictures more than a centaury ago. It's unfortunate for Nintendo that late comers Sony and especially MS are taking the lead in making video games as entertainment not read or seen or watched/heard, but experienced in first person.

Unfallen_Satan
Unfallen_Satan

@teknic1200 The problem with Wii U is its direction, not so much how bad (or in fact not bad) the system is. In its competition with the XB1 and PS4, it has already lost, but there is still a market for its brand of gaming. If Nintendo focus on developings and publishing its own kind of games for the Wii U, maybe even making use of the system in this new QoL or some other novel program, it'll be ok. It should be a system with value different from the others; giving Wii U users as much access to XB1 and PS4 type games is fine as icing on the cake, but trying to brand it as a serious competitor is just making a nasty raman cake.

mister_f15
mister_f15

Want Waluigi in Smash? Too bad, it's Waluigi time! (Sorry. I just had to.)

AmbiguousAlias
AmbiguousAlias

@ignautius @AmbiguousAliasYou make valid points, and again, I agree with you. To be truthful, I was never planning on buying a Wii U. I received it for Christmas. I was pleasantly surprised with it though, so I guess I'm looking for silver linings because I actually like the console I thought I wouldn't, and I want other people to like it too. Nintendo is so synonymous with gaming, or at least it was... Times change, though. I hope they can get their heads back in the game. But Nintendo Directs continue to disappoint, and there really isn't that much coming out to look forward to. It's depressing.

ignautius
ignautius

@AmbiguousAlias Probably.  And if this whole conversation is about my "You can hear them stop making real games..." crack above then we're probably finished here.


But the Wii U can only live on charming platformers for so long.  I mean, good grief, we've already got NSMB U, Super Mario 3D World, Rayman Legends, and DKC.  I haven't seen a console be THIS dependent on platformers THIS early in the life-cycle since the Super Nintendo.  Even when Nintendo tries to help their console they can't come up with anything other than Nintendo-mascot platforming, and every one they've made isn't even new, it's a follow-up to a previous one:


NSMB U followed NSMB Wii

DKC Tropical Freeze followed DKC Returns

Super Mario 3D World followed Super Mario 3D Land


Even their other offerings haven't been much better: Pikmin 3 is a direct sequel without a lot of "new" and Wind Waker was just a shined-up port!  How could Nintendo have possibly done LESS??


Nintendo knew pretty quickly this console was in trouble.  This last 6-9 months wasn't even probably the "plan", this was Nintendo in "Holy cow, we have to do something to help this system out" mode.  How sad is THAT?  I know you can't really crank out new games in 6-9 months, but we don't even have good NEWS from Nintendo... no fun online play, no bigger hard-drives for games with DLC, no new game announcements, no exciting 3rd party developments... 


They seem absolutely lost, and this fitness game-shift seems just friggin' ridiculous.


Let me leave you with this little slippery slope:


1. Nintendo is trending down right now.

2. I think their over-reliance on the casual is greatly to blame.

3. They're not realizing this and expanding their "hardcore" department.

4. Instead, they're looking for something else to flash-in-the-pan for a quick buck like the casual-friendly Wii did.

5. They're not going to find a pan-flash every generation, and eventually they'll bleed the war-chest dry.

6. So if Nintendo is backed into a corner financially... they either pull a Sega, or have to completely transform the company into something that we may hardly even recognize.  If people think they don't make enough "real" games now... just wait.

AmbiguousAlias
AmbiguousAlias

@ignautius @AmbiguousAliasI think you and I agree more than you might think, my only point is that Tropical Freeze is a "real" game, and a damn good one at that. Difficulty aside, it is an inspired and charming platformer. We all know Nintendo is going the way of the casual, but that doesn't mean they'll stop making "real" games all together. Don't get me wrong, I wish they'd release a console as a heavy-weight contender to Sony and Microsoft rather than settling for their own niche of the market, but I'm not sure that's going to happen again. However, so long as they can continue to deliver quality experiences, I'll support them.

ignautius
ignautius

@AmbiguousAlias  I'm waiting to pick it up cheaper during a buy-one-get-one type sale or something.

Regardless, the content of the game matters extremely little.  I don't care if it's the mostest-hardest-corest game n00bs need not apply game evAR!

It's still just one game.  Nintendo's current situation is the result of a LLOOOOOOONNNNNNNGG list of decisions they've made dating back to planning the Wii, if not earlier, and DKC Tropical Freeze doesn't change that ship's course any more than Diddy Kong in a canoe could change the course of an aircraft carrier by rowing up alongside it and bumping into it.

F-Minus
F-Minus

@DoogyDonDoogy @jellyman68 @shipster30  Mario Kart 8 will move a lot of units, Bayonetta 2 might move some, Monster hunter will for sure, but then there's nothing, except Smash Bros somewhere down the road. 


Nintendo is such a system where you expect your Metroid, Zelda, Mario fix, which to be frank, offer experiences not to be had anywhere else, I know it sounds cliche, but it's true for me. I can live without an Xbox or Playstation and only game on the PC, I wont miss out that much, but not having a Nintendo console you miss the whole other spectrum of games that are nowhere else to be had. 


Now that I think of, maybe I'll drop some money and buy a Wii U for Mario Kart 8, it's a game I can live without easily, but is so much damn fun to play with my friends or family that it almost worth the price of the console.

jellyman68
jellyman68

@DoogyDonDoogy The Wii U is a console though. I'm betting that everyone who owns one has at least one of the aforementioned games.