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Thursday, January 30, 2014

All The Thoughts On Iwata's Briefing

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Condensed because there's a ton to comment on.

So the Nintendo world is super-charged on activity right now because of Satoru Iwata's briefing with investors. I guess KoopaTV has to follow suit. So let's go item-by-item here. Prepare for a lot of quotes.
"If you quote any or all of this presentation, please display the URL of this website or put a link to this website."
Done! Here, I'll do it again: http://www.nintendo.co.jp/ir/en/library/events/140130/index.html

"We therefore believe that dedicated video game platforms which integrate hardware and software will remain our core business. Naturally, we are moving ahead with research and development efforts for future hardware as we have done before and we are not planning to give up our own hardware systems and shift our axis toward other platforms."

In other words: Iwata and Nintendo aren't going anywhere. They're not going third party. Iwata proceeds to discuss about Nintendo's self-innovative history and how the Nintendo DS and Wii were a thing. You know, bringing those up since Iwata was in charge during that. ("Hey guys, I'm not resigning! Remember the Wii and DS? That was ME!")

"From a medium- to long-term standpoint, however, we don’t believe that following trends will lead to a positive outcome for Nintendo as an entertainment company. Instead, we should continue to make our best efforts to seek a blue ocean with no rivals and create a new market with innovative offerings as a medium- to long-term goal."
Sometimes there are times where it's strategically preferable to avoid competition (Wii). Other times, avoiding the competition puts you in a strategically worse position because you're allowing the competition to — with a lot less effort — grow and capture large portions of market share. Then they can get a lot of brand loyalty and stop you from having a presence in that market in the future.

Good.
“there even appear to be not a small number of consumers who think the GamePad is one of the accessories for the previous platform, Wii.
It is more challenging to convey the appeal of the GamePad to consumers who do not engage with video games that often since they do not actively gather information about video games. Therefore, we intend to take on this challenge, and I would like to have this solved before the year-end sales season.”
Nintendo has sent at least two messages to current Wii owners (I know from personal experience) saying that the Wii U is a new thing. Obviously, that's not enough. The problem is that the GamePad lacks the mass-market appeal that the Wiimote had. However, as someone who ISN'T in the mass-market, let me just say that the GamePad is an amazing controller and approaching GameCube level awesome. Far away better than the Wiimote! You know, just for Miiverse alone.


“In addition, the GamePad is the only video game platform with an NFC (near-field communication) reader/writer function. “Pokémon Rumble U” has already taken advantage of this function, but aside from this title, Wii U has failed to make use of the full potential of this function so far, despite it being a built-in feature.”
Who knows what they have planned. Obviously dongles. Pokémon Rumble U was interesting since it was digitally distributed but had those physical toys. So what's coming next, besides using it on cards? Well, the GamePad can now quick-launch software (which I don't really care about, since you can't quick-launch Miiverse) and...
“We are now sure that we can solve the technical problem of displaying Virtual Console software from Nintendo DS on the GamePad.
The dual-screen Nintendo DS, one of which is a touch screen, has a very strong software lineup, and so we plan to add the Virtual Console titles from Nintendo DS software to the future Virtual Console lineup for Wii U.”
That's HUGE. One of the (the only) example of this provided is Brain Age, which might mean Nintendo wants to releverage the DS's successful Touch Generation mass-market outreach to attract people who want to see a much bigger screen than the little DS one. From personal experience giving Brain Age to elderly people, they didn't like my DS Lite's relatively small screen! (Compared to a TV, anyway.)

Let's brainstorm games we really want. I've always wanted to play Ghost Trick from Capcom. Speaking of which, maybe Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney can FINALLY be ported to another system! And what if Capcom put Ace Attorney Investigations 2 on there?! That'd be amazing, right? So are we going to see these DS games put up on the 3DS eShop, too? Since that makes more sense, right? Speaking of the 3DS, Iwata didn't have much to say about it other than it's really successful and mobile publishers want a piece of it too.


I'd like to note that the 3DS and Wii U are in the same box as "Future Handheld" and "Future Console".


Nintendo finally is moving towards an account-based infrastructure (NNIDs). They keep saying this is the "future", so that won't be fully implemented yet. Indeed, the 3DS OS was fundamentally built to support device-based only. If you look at the above photo, you'll see that "Future Handheld" and "Future Console" are DIFFERENT. So they're SEPARATE devices. So much for the "Nintendo Fusion", right? KoopaTV didn't report on that crap for a good reason. As for that "Smart Device" stuff...
"Many people say that releasing Nintendo’s software assets for smart devices would expand our business. However, we believe that we cannot show our strength as an integrated hardware-software business in this field, and therefore it would difficult to continue the same scale of business in the medium- to long term."
Iwata is absolutely correct here. No doubt. Mobile gaming is a cancer to the industry.
"However, if you report that we will release Mario on smart devices, it would be a completely misleading statement. It is our intention to release some application on smart devices this year that is capable of attracting consumer attention and communicating the value of our entertainment offerings, so I would encourage you to see how our approach yields results."
Don't do that, journalists. KoopaTV certainly won't report that. Anyway, Nintendo is expanding their marketing to mobile devices. Good. Exploit that userbase and don't make any games for them! The one downside to this is that the quality of the users on Miiverse might drop a bit. After 3DS users were given Miiverse access, a LOT of stupid people suddenly popped up there that were 3DS-users only.
"Based on our account system, if we can offer flexible price points to consumers who meet certain conditions, we can create a situation where these consumers can enjoy our software at cheaper price points when they purchase more. Here, we do not need to limit the condition to the number of software titles they purchase. Inviting friends to start playing a particular software title is also an example of a possible condition."
Here we can start seeing stuff like NNID-based REFERRALS! So when I tell you to get games like the Ace Attorney series, I may actually financially gain from it. So we might have to change KoopaTV's Disclaimer upon that happening. We can see examples of something like this already happening like today's Indie eShop sale.

"I think the reason that Nintendo is now considered to have this “abundance of character IP” is perhaps because of our passive approach toward the character IP licensing business, which tends to have a high risk of damaging the value of the character."
This is something I'm apprehensive about. Nintendo is now going to license their IPs to non-direct competitors a lot more liberally. So think their current CSR efforts but on a larger and commercialized scale. It may be fitting now that the evil plumber is on a calendar promoting child abuse reporting, but how will we feel when Donkey Kong is licensed to a local Washington state zoo?

So finally...

"We will also take on the challenge of expanding into a new business area.
We will attempt to establish a new platform business with which we can leverage our strengths, but which is independent from our video game platform business."
What... WHAT'S THIS?

Nintendo Health Quality of Life QOL Improving Platform first step
“Quality Of Life”. The other steps are yet to be seen, and one arrow isn't even labeled.
Nintendo new blue ocean expansion non-wearable quality of life leapfrog
A new Blue Ocean. This time without Reggie at the helm.

For those who don't know what a "Leapfrog Strategy" is, it basically means that Nintendo gets to skip the traditional technological advancing process made by people already ahead of them. For example, Africa gets to skip a lot of the early 1900s communications infrastructure that other countries invested billions in to go right to cellphones. It saves a lot of time and money, and it's an excuse for Nintendo being "behind the times".

The people of the world are represented as Miis.
What's this Medical Care stuff? Are we going to be seeing IwataCare? ...Will it be better than ObamaCare, at least?

Nintendo quality of life platform improving interaction with games loop
It's a cycle, of course. A feedback loop, if you will. A shame Donkey Kong Jr. Math isn't under Education.

Hey, if Education is their next step, perhaps my MMO Edutainment idea from months ago will... actually be used by someone? Unless Ubisoft gets to it first, of course. (That namedrop only makes sense if you read that article.)

"Today I would like to limit my presentation to the general direction of our new business, but I plan to announce more details within 2014. I then plan to talk about its specific features and a clearer vision of what we really mean by the term “non-wearable.”
This new business will be launched during the fiscal year ending March 2016, which begins in April 2015. As this is a completely new field of business, our plan is to make it contribute to our overall business and position it for growth from following fiscal year."
Well, I dunno what to commentate on here. It's all very vague and unclear, but Iwata is setting himself up to at least last until fiscal year 2017.

Well, that's his whole address. There are financial stuff we can touch on, but I'll save that for another time. We've had too much financial talk here on KoopaTV lately, we can take a break from it.


So overall take-aways? Nintendo is going to do account-based infrastructure, they'll work on their Virtual Console a bit more, and they'll revolutionize the world in about two years. Oh, and Miiverse didn't get mentioned once, which is weird considering how important it's supposed to be to the company's strategy last year. But... Stay tuned.



Ludwig himself is a revolutionary, as the creator of KoopaTV. He knows about the business-side of things along with the innovative side. He's been through it all. Follow him on Miiverse at NNID PrinceOfKoopas.


Iwata had a briefing. Then he eventually died. Now his replacement has a similar briefing. Compare and contrast?
Skip three and a half years. The quality of life initiative is still in existence, and still unknown.

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