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Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Nintendo Question & Answers: 80th Annual General Meeting of Shareholders

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Didn't they just ask these questions?

Back in May 2020, for Nintendo's annual report, president Shuntaro Furukawa answered several questions from investors and shareholders about the state of the business, mostly about COVID-19 and its implications.

Then a few days ago (around June 26, 2020), Nintendo held THE 80TH ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING OF SHAREHOLDERS. They took more questions and delivered more answers, many of which continue to be about COVID-19 and its implications, or about mundane things that you should already know about if you're investing in Nintendo. Like, if those guys read KoopaTV (and knew English), they wouldn't waste time asking these. 

Here were the 11 questions, of which few are worth me commenting on.
  1. Since it currently costs nearly 5 million yen to purchase one minimum trading unit of Nintendo's stock, making it difficult to invest, we would like you to consider splitting your stock. In addition, what is your stance on the fact that Nintendo is not yet included in the Nikkei225 Index?
  2. Nintendo Switch is in short supply due to the huge success of Animal Crossing: New Horizons. I feel that Nintendo was not able to support this sudden increase in demand, which led to a major opportunity loss. Please tell us about your future plans for handling the production system, sales methods, and predictions for demand.
  3. What kind of measures are you currently taking to protect your employees and continue doing business in the face of COVID-19? Has Nintendo implemented a remote work initiative as well? If so, what kind of work are you allowing to be performed remotely?
  4. With regard to Clubhouse Games: 51 Worldwide Classics released in June, please tell us about how you are using playing cards, karuta, and other products that were a starting point for Nintendo. In addition, there was talk that an IR (integrated resort) would be built in Japan in the future. Is there a possibility of using Nintendo's cards in the casino that will be built along with it?
  5. My understanding is that you are responding to the shortage of Nintendo Switch consoles by increasing production and holding raffle sales through the My Nintendo Store and at other retailers. However, Nintendo Switch continues to be resold at inflated prices, and I believe that merely increasing production or holding raffle sales is insufficient for supply to catch up to the sudden increase in demand. Specifically, please let us know whether you are discussing measures.
  6. I heard reports of a class-action lawsuit filed in the US with regards to malfunctioning Joy-Con controllers. I've also heard people point out that the servers used for Nintendo Switch network services go down easily. Isn't this a concern from a product security and reliability perspective?
  7. Could you tell us about the outlook for your next game system? Game hardware has always displayed an image on a TV or other kind of screen while you do something, and I think that's where the limits for this format are. Would the hardware you're thinking about go beyond those limits?
  8. I'd like to hear about Nintendo's meticulous focus on game development. Compared to other entertainment like watching movies or tapping on smartphone screens, I feel that dedicated video game platforms have a unique appeal, in that you can enjoy operating the characters via controller and the result of each button press. I'd like to know about your particular detailed focus on enriching the game experience through the use of a controller.
  9. I want to ask about operations at SUPER NINTENDO WORLD at Universal Studios Japan, which is scheduled to open ahead of the Tokyo Olympics. In light of COVID-19, have any measures been devised regarding the number of visitors, ways to shorten wait times, and the like?
  10. There are no Nintendo Direct announcements usually held together with E3 because the event has been cancelled this year due to COVID-19. In addition, I am concerned as an investor that, at present, there are few software titles with set release dates. I was relieved to hear Director Takahashi say that software titles planned for release this fiscal year have currently not been affected, but I'd like to see some titles announced via a Nintendo Direct soon. Also, as time have changed, I feel it might be a good idea to review the whole process of making announcements using Nintendo Direct.
  11. What are your thoughts on the current position of the mobile business? Has your conception of it changed from when the mobile business first started? Also, could you touch on the current partnership with DeNA?

Nintendo's answers were basically, “Sorry, we're working on it. We appreciate your patience. Please understand.” (Questions 1, 2, 5.) Or, “We can't talk about it.” (Questions 4, 6, 9.)

Other media outlets (working off their own translation and not the new official one) somehow got a bunch of people to think that Nintendo will never do Nintendo Directs again because this is how they answered question #10: 
“We  think  the  Nintendo  Direct  format  is  very  effective for  us  to  directly  and  clearly  convey  information about games to consumers. On the other hand, as the times change, the most effective ways of conveying information can also change, so I think we should always be looking for the best ways of communicating.”
Does that sound like “We're done with Nintendo Directs!” to you? No? Because it sounds like a bland non-answer to me, like everything else from this annual general meeting. Nintendo has also pointed out they're perfectly capable of non-Direct video presentations, like the Min Min presentation and the two presentations from The Pokémon Company.

Masahiro Sakurai home house couch Super Smash Bros. Ultimate production
Pretty comfy arrangement.
And Nintendo obviously has video editor(s) perfectly capable of working remotely.
As well as all of the approval processes that content has to go through.

Nintendo has also mentioned that, even though Japan's state of emergency has ended, they are still encouraging their employees to work from home. They also mentioned Jump Rope Challenge as an example that Nintendo employees can be productive while working from home, but, uh, I don't recommend trotting that example around since Jump Rope Challenge isn't appealing.

Then there's the questions (#7 and #8) that amounted to “what is your philosophy on how games are a unique medium?” I dunno why those were asked, but as you might expect, there was nothing to learn from that. Well, actually, they did say that the Nintendo Switch would have an extended life cycle, so hopefully it'll keep going for several years to come.

Blame the investors for the dull questions. I'm not one of them. We could have real questions like “When is Shigeru Miyamoto going to retire already?”

Try to brainstorm other real questions that you'd like to hear Nintendo executives answer in KoopaTV's comments section below! It could be fun. Just be careful to avoid asking questions that'd be answered with non-answers. ...Though pretty much anything could be answered that way. Ludwig also wonders if the first annual general meeting of shareholders happened in 1940, because that seems like a bad time for shareholders to meet in Japan.

The next question and answer session is the “Corporate Management Policy Briefing for the Fiscal Year ending March 2021.” The questions are awful.
The 81st Annual General Meeting of Shareholders Q&A was significantly more interesting and had relevant, important questions.

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