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Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Nintendo Investor Q&A: COVID-19 Edition

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Ludwig is spot-on, you know.

I have a personal passion of covering Nintendo's investor question & answer sessions for their financial results briefings. Their fiscal year just ended March 2020, and we just got their financial report that I wrote about here. A key theme in that was the break-out success of Animal Crossing: New Horizons, coupled with the massive increase in digital distribution adoption. Shuntaro Furukawa, Nintendo's president, answered nine questions. I'll comment on a few of the more interesting question/answer pairs in this article, but the majority were related to COVID-19 (Chinese Communist Party coronavirus of 2019). Well, one was directly about China itself.

Just for your amusement, you may remember the last Q&A session article from six months ago where the heading was “Plus, scary China stuff.” Guess I had no idea what was coming. Since I'm obsessed with it so far, let's talk about the China question (#7, asking for actual sales results and plans for the fiscal year ending 2021) first.

If you're reading KoopaTV regularly, you know just a week-ish ago I told you that there are only three games available on the Nintendo Switch in China, as officially distributed by Tencent. Nintendo's answer is basically that China's contribution is immaterial and not worth giving specific detail on, and they don't expect anything different for the new year either. This whole China thing is for nothing, but investors have been excited about the China market opening for years and years. Stupid business fantasy that's ruining Earth, that I can tell you.

As for a question that reflects what I hope is closer to reality, #9 asks about how mobile games will affect Nintendo's profits for the coming year. Basically Nintendo answered that they're probably not gonna release much new mobile trash, and they're gonna keep milking their existing stuff, with no expectation of a “major increase in sales for the mobile business.” That sucks for, say, the people I personally know that are addicted to Fire Emblem Heroes (and the idiots who keep paying money so they can get Mario in ten different outfits in Mario Kart Tour, or the idiots who really want Dr. Goomba Tower in Dr. Mario World, or the idiots wasting money in Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp because I guess they think it's a budget New Horizons even though they'll pay more in subscription fees over a year than just buying and sticking to New Horizons...and get a fraction of the fun), but in portfolio management terms, Nintendo's mobile applications are a “cash cow” (which is offensive to bovine, but that's what the management consultants say) and not a “star”. Stars get the research & development dollars.

There are several questions about game release timelines being affected due to the CCP Virus and the difficulties of working from home, alongside supply chains being disrupted and how that affects financial forecasts (#1, #2, #3, #4, #5). The answers basically confirm that, yes, things may slip, and yes, some marketing activities may have also been affected (and obsessed people will shout, NINTENDO DIRECT!), too. #8 is a dumb question on “why do you plan to spend more money on advertising?” Foolish people think #6 means Nintendo will improve their online service network play quality, but it doesn't mean that at all.

#1 did confirm that Nintendo is actively thinking about what I wrote months ago about how the “new normal” of the CCP Virus may have accelerated adoption of digital distribution far faster than what would've otherwise happened, and they even parroted what I said about how customers may continue digital downloads because that's the new normal of acquiring games, as opposed to physical distribution.

I want to end with some more focus on question #5. Basically, the question is that you have all of these Animal Crossing: New Horizons women in their 20s and 30s who bought a Nintendo Switch for that game, or maybe they don't own many other games besides that. Furukawa says Nintendo is actively thinking this year on how to get those New Horizons fans to buy other games, particularly existing evergreen games. That may be why you see women-friendly Splatoon 2 getting attention all of a sudden (but definitely not why ARMS is getting attention because... I don't see any overlap there). As far as I'm concerned, that's a good thing, because I really want to get to know some of these Animal Crossing female players in their 20s and 30s, but I'm not actually into Animal Crossing myself.

Nintendo also wants to do the same with Ring Fit Adventure, which likely explains the March-added Rhythm Game mode that features music from other Nintendo Switch games like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Super Mario Odyssey, and Splatoon 2. (Hey, that's a question in this round's KoopaTV Quiz Part XXV... maybe you should take that knowledge and get yourself some points in the KoopaTV Loyalty Rewards Program. You might appreciate winning a $10 Amazon gift card code to help afford the aforementioned other games Nintendo wants you to buy.)

Ring Fit Adventure Rhythm Game main menu selection Super Mario Odyssey Zelda Breath of the Wild Wii Fit Splatoon 2
Just like I conspicuously plug (FREE!) KoopaTV site features in KoopaTV articles that you'd enjoy,
Nintendo conspicuously plugs other Nintendo games in Ring Fit Adventure to get more revenue from these new kinds of customers.

It would also be cool if people in the Animal Crossing demographic thought KoopaTV itself was a great experience, though so far, KoopaTV hasn't attracted that crowd due to a lack of Animal Crossing content. However, there is a plethora of Ring Fit Adventure content, and that is definitely pulling in page views from search engines. Ludwig somehow turned an article about Nintendo's investors asking questions into an article about himself at the end, but this article is notably written in an even more stream-of-consciousness manner than most other KoopaTV articles are lately. At least, Ludwig thinks so. What do you think? About the article and the questions/answers. The comments section awaits you.

The actual last Q&A session was three months ago, but Ludwig's write-up of it focused on just one question, about Miyamoto's senility.
The next investor Q&A session is shortly after, but there's little information to get from it.


  1. Stop reminding me that I don't have Ring Fit Adventure and can't get it unless I shell out $200 on eBay. (; - ;)

    1. I don't have Wooloo but I hope this will cheer you up.

    2. whoa
      Tell me more about that Hylian Shield.

      Also, is the Triforce, uh, Triforce-y on all sides of it, or just the front?

    3. Both the Triforce and Hylian Shield came from Culture Fly boxes, the former from the original Legend of Zelda collector's box and the latter from the recent Link's Awakening box. The Triforce is shown on both the back and the front. If you can find them on sale, I believe they are worth it. In addition to these plushies shown, I also have Snatcher arriving soon. If you couldn't already tell, I loved A Hat in Time.

      The character I'd like most to see be made into a plush next would be SCOUT from Murder by Numbers. On a Reddit Q&A, the developers were asked about the potential of a plush, and one of them responded with "This question ENABLES the team to keep badgering for the S.C.O.U.T. plushies that the world truly deserves. Nothing to announce at the moment, but honestly - we'd love to see it happen somehow."

    4. So since your comment on Murder by Numbers back in December, have you gone on to buy it and enjoy it, despite its attachment for Picross?


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