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 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."