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Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Kimishima and Furukawa Team Up to Answer Investors’ Questions

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - We learn some things about Shuntaro Furukawa, the next president of Nintendo.

To the sub-title's point, we're not just learning some new things about Shuntaro Furukawa, but we're also learning about current Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima. Quite frankly, we still don't know much about him, though that'll soon be irrelevant.

...Just to back up, if you missed last week's article, that was about how current Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima is retiring at the end of June, in favour of this guy that no one knows about, Shuntaro Furukawa. This was announced as part of Nintendo's annual reporting to the financial people, and now the transcript of their questions & answers has just been translated into English for us to dissect. You can read it here. The Q&A were handled by both Kimishima and Furukawa. (I'm still having trouble remembering the guy's name, by the way. ...Both of them.)

They were mainly asked about what the investors usually care about: mobile stuff, and geographic expansion. The partnership with Cygames to develop Dragalia Lost, a game we don't know anything about, was of particular interest. (But they loved it.) From the way Furukawa answered the questions, it's clear that he really wants to continue and expand Kimishima's push into putting more Nintendo stuff on mobile trash.

Dragalia Lost party protagonists heroes campfire forest fire camping
It's a chibi action RPG featuring dragons and your party sitting around playing Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, because they're LOST.

Other than wishing to associate Nintendo with mobile garbage, Furukawa is associated with some interesting personality traits and management styles.

Nintendo has had an effort over the past couple of years to make decisions faster, which leads to faster game development cycles. Furukawa is trying to manage Nintendo by a panel of decision-makers, rather than one dude having all the say. (While it's not mentioned in the Q&A, we can imagine the one dude would be akin to Shigeru Miyamoto single-handedly deciding things... while using his other hand to play Super Mario Run. ...They actually do use Iwata's predecessor, Hiroshi Yamauchi, as an example of a stubborn one-person-decides-things leader.) 

Running things as a collective makes sense, given that Nintendo is a Japanese company and I keep writing over and over about how the Japanese are collectivists. However, they're also very hierarchical, which leads to the top guy always making the decisions. That's how Miyamoto keeps getting his way. Furukawa wants to break that down a bit and let the new generation have some say, which is how we get things like Splatoon and... ARMS. Hey, the younger generation can't get it right all the time.

Speaking of Yamauchi, in the Q&A, they talked about how Yamauchi described Satoru Iwata as “a little unusual” and the investor basically asked what Furukawa's personality quirks are. Kimishima said that Furukawa has “extremely strong inner fortitude. He has clear and articulated opinions, he understands the Nintendo point of view, and he can express that to everyone in his own words.” Sounds like a leader. ...And sounds like me. I'm a leader, I'm telling you. Miyamoto can't take that away from me, and he won't take that away from Furukawa!

Based on that, I kind of like this Furukawa guy. And he's realistic, too. He knows that Nintendo sells nice-to-have entertainment products, not necessities. But he knows how to market accordingly, and empower the existing marketing (and sales, and research and development) teams to do what they know best. I have confidence in him.

Ludwig will probably end up regretting that last sentence. If you have confidence in Shuntaro Furukawa, and you're confident in your confidence, let KoopaTV know in the comments. Alternatively, if you have no confidence in the guy, that's comment-worthy too. OR, if you don't know what to think of him, that's also pretty good feedback. ...Just find any excuse to write something. Maybe you think something of Dragalia Lost.

Half a year ago, Ludwig dedicated an article to the investors’ Q&A session for Nintendo's half-year financial results. It was much better organised than this jumble of words.
By the time you read this, Furukawa is now the President of Nintendo.
Furukawa may be the Nintendo president, but the next time there are even more investor questions, it's Kimishima answering them.
Here are detailed thoughts on Dragalia Lost in the form of a dedicated Direct.


  1. I do not care about any future mobile games and wish we could go back to when they were not a part of Q&As. After a year since release, the player base for multiplayer games drops significantly (Miitomo) case and there is hardly any reason to return to the "game" anymore. Even if single player games are semi decent, they still have inferior controls than either handheld or console games.

    1. Well, Miitomo is specifically getting shut down in less than a week.

      In defiance of this narrative that mobile gamers are low quality, Nintendo presented stats suggesting that Super Mario Run somehow has a stable amount of monthly active users from July 2017 to March 2018, though that could already be after a massive drop-off since the game was released in late 2016.
      Meanwhile, Fire Emblem Heroes has managed to maintain its active user base.


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