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Nintendo can be about more than video games, says Iwata
Nintendo can be about more than video games, says Iwata
April 28, 2014 | By Alex Wawro

"Yamauchi was one to always say ‘Nintendo is a company for entertainment, and it shouldn’t be for anything else,’ and he didn’t necessarily think that ‘entertainment equals video games.'"
Nintendo president Satoru Iwata elucidates the genesis of his "quality of life" rhetoric in an interview with Japanese business reporting website Diamond.

Iwata surprised many when, in the course of January's Nintendo shareholders meeting, he promised that Nintendo would strive to become a platform business that aims to "improve people's quality of life" in the next ten years.

Today, Siliconera published translated excerpts of an interview that Japanese economic reporting outlet Diamond conducted with Iwata in which he takes pains to explain how Nintendo's new direction really isn't so novel.

To hear Iwata tell it, Nintendo -- which also created hanafuda cards, novelty toys, and a TV network before getting into video games -- is an entertainment company focused on "improving people's quality of life with fun," rather than on a specific medium.

"Surely, a lot of people around the world must think ‘Nintendo is a company that is just for video games,’ about us, and I believe that there are more and more of our own employees who’ve begun to think like that," Iwata reportedly told Diamond.

"I finally figured that ‘improving people’s quality of life with fun,’ with emphasis to the ‘fun’ would be perfect for Nintendo. And that’s when I decided to use this as a focus."

You can read further translated excerpts of the interview, including Iwata's thoughts on the directives of former Nintendo president Hiroshi Yamauchi, on Siliconera.

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John Paduch
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They sure seem to be emphasizing this concept a lot, lately. I wonder if it's signalling a dramatic shift in focus, away from the industry most of us are readily familiar with (PAX, E3, GDC, Sony/MS, the whole environment that surrounds them), and more onto a path of their own making, with the classic idea of "video game" being only one aspect of it.

George Menhal III
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I think that before Iwata decides to take Nintendo on a ride down a new path, he will be fired. He hasn't convinced anyone anywhere that QOL will turn any more profit for Nintendo than their current failed home console. His days are numbered and at this point I think he pretty much knows it. Whether that bodes well for the future of Nintendo or not is anyone's guess.

Cordero W
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"I think that before Iwata decides to take Nintendo on a ride down a new path, he will be fired."

Wooooah, your newness is showing.

Christian Philippe Guay
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''Nintendo would strive to become a platform business that aims to improve people's quality of life in the next ten years''

If the goal is truly to improve people's quality of life, well... I don't feel the need to buy another platform when I already own a PC and game consoles just can't keep up anymore with the fast evolving PC technologies. Nntendo should focus on what they do best: softwares.

E Zachary Knight
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"Nntendo should focus on what they do best: softwares."

That is not what Nintendo does best, at least not exactly. What it does best is software *on its own custom hardware*. They are completely unproven when it comes to developing software for other platforms.

Michael Joseph
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It'll be interesting to see what happens here. Certain aspects of Japanese culture seem pretty darn strange to those of us living in the Americas, Africa or Europe. The characterizations of Japanese consumerism disseminated in the west seem completely out of whack even to consumption addicted Americans! In Japan suicide rates are high. Young males seem more interested in games, pop culture, anime and porn than going out on dates with real live people.

What I'm getting at is, i wonder to what extent the question of QoL raised by Iwata is a product of the times and culture of present day Japan? Have QoL concerns and discussions been growing increasingly common in Japan before Nintendo ever brought it to the attention of video game enthusiasts in the west?

Having to design "QoL entertainment products" in a country like Japan, sounds like an ironic even paradoxical punishment handed out by the devils inhabiting one of the more pleasant circles of hell.

In Japan, a robot can deliver you a beer from your fridge in 7 minutes. The robots that got sent into the reactors to help try to save the atmosphere and environment and QoL for all Japanese were German.

Michael O'Hair
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Is the Quality of Life in Japan really different than that of the United States? Japan's QoL metrics may be different when compared to the US, but none are at the rock bottom (Greenland has the #1 spot in terms of national suicide rate as of 2011, Japan sits at #10 as of 2012).

I think this move is a play to diversify their properties. Perhaps Nintendo is getting the hint that they can't keep running off of slightly more technologically-advanced remakes featuring Mario, Link, Samus, etc.