Nintendo Could Eventually Move Away From Consoles, Says Company President
But no suggestion that it's pulling the plug anytime soon.
Nintendo has become known for developing games on its own dedicated hardware over the last 30 years, but that could eventually change. The company's new president Shuntaro Furukawa stated in a recent interview that the company is open to changing its approach based on shifting technologies, even if that means no longer developing its own consoles.
"We aren't really fixated on our consoles," Furukawa told Nikkei (translated by Nintendo Everything). "At the moment we're offering the uniquely developed Nintendo Switch and its software--and that's what we're basing how we deliver the 'Nintendo experience' on. That being said, technology changes. We'll continue to think flexibly about how to deliver that experience as time goes on.
"It has been over 30 years since we started developing consoles. Nintendo's history goes back even farther than that, and through all the struggles that they faced the only thing that they thought about was what to make next. In the long-term, perhaps our focus as a business could shift away from home consoles--flexibility is just as important as ingenuity."
As for how he plans to address the changing landscape, Furukawa said that he'd like to increase their mobile output, as well as continue to pursue some licensing agreements with its characters.
"I'm thinking about little ways we can reduce that kind of instability," he said. "I'd like to increase the (amount of) games on smartphones that have a continuous stream of revenue. We're also dabbling in theme parks and movies--different ways to have our characters be a part of everyday life. I'm anticipating a strong synergy like that."
None of this suggests the Nintendo Switch will necessarily be the company's last (or even second- or third-to-last) home console. The speculation seems to have been hypothetical and mostly about how he intends for the company to stay flexible. As long as home consoles are doing well for Nintendo's bottom line, it will probably continue making them. But it does mean there could be a day when one of the longest-running console manufacturers gets out of the game.
Last year, Furukawa made headlines just after being named Nintendo's new president when he suggested the company was considering "various possibilities" regarding a 3DS successor. At the time, he also commented that he planned to make smartphones "a pillar of [our] income."