Nintendo Backing Away From Quality of Life Plans, Analysts Claims

Plans for health devices could be pushed aside in favour of mobile strategy.


Nintendo is pushing its Quality of Life's initiative aside in favour of a focus on the mobile games market, if information from two analysts is to be believed.

Although the Japanese company is expected to release a Quality of Life device next year, analysts such as IDC's research director Lewis Ward aren't convinced this will happen, citing the lack of new information as a sign of a diminished commitment. Nintendo has yet to comment on the speculation.

"It's supposed to be released in the United States by the end of March [2016]," he told Fortune. "But I haven't heard anything."

Nintendo confirmed the Wii Vitality Sensor project was put on hold in July 2013, four years after it was unveiled
Nintendo confirmed the Wii Vitality Sensor project was put on hold in July 2013, four years after it was unveiled

Ward admitted, however, that Nintendo's interest in the market makes sense, and thus it may still pursue its Quality of Life ambitions.

"I do think Nintendo has always had an interest in 'Blue Ocean' markets and health care. The intersection with their hardware and their software is something they've viewed as an opportunity."

Wedbush Securities' Michael Pachter also expressed skepticism: "I think it's probably dead--just like the Wii Vitality Sensor was before and they didn't tell anybody."

Pachter posited that Nintendo may be rethinking introducing more devices, and could instead be opting to produce content for vast number of mobile devices already in the market.

"The whole point of helping with lifestyle [through the Quality of Life plans] was getting people to buy more Nintendo devices--and I think they're hurting so badly in devices that they're trying to [stop] the haemorrhaging there," he said.

"I would say they're probably focused on just getting their mobile initiative working. That's far more important than [Quality of Life]."

Nintendo first announced its plans Quality of Life plans in January 2014, when it said "non-wearable health monitoring systems are in the works to improve quality of life."

Later that year, the Japanese company explained its thinking behind the initiative, saying Nintendo has worked on expanding the gaming population by offering products that can be enjoyed by anyone, regardless of their age, gender, of experience.

"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," it said.

"[Quality of Life devices 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."

Nintendo has previously said it will show more of its Quality of Life plans in 2016, along with its next console, codenamed the NX.

Nintendo's entered into a deal with the global mobile games publisher DeNA in March 2015. This collaboration includes the creation of "new gaming applications featuring Nintendo IP, which [both companies] will develop specifically for smart devices."

The first DeNA-Nintendo mobile game will be released later this year. Nintendo has not announced any projects so far, but has pledged it won't simply port its console games to mobile devices.

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