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Friday, September 25, 2020

The Nintendo Corporate Management Policy Briefing Questions & Answers, September 2020

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - I've been hoping for good questions. Did we get them?

You probably don't care about the particulars, but Nintendo did something relatively unusual a week ago and held the “Corporate Management Policy Briefing for the Fiscal Year ending March 2021.” In prior years, Nintendo holds their Corporate Management Policy Briefings alongside a quarterly earnings result. This time, they just decided to make it its own random thing. And in September. Why? I dunno. But we're gonna hear about their six-months earning release in November. That's soon. But for some reason they just couldn't wait. We now have six questions and answers to play with, alongside a massive 56-slide document that explains Nintendo's corporate management policy. To anyone who knows about Nintendo already, there's not much new in there, besides stats like 26 million (unhappy) Nintendo Switch Online members.

Let's talk about the questions, then. Spoiler alert: They almost all suck, and this article will end remarking about that and the real questions that should be getting asked.

Question 1: Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit

Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit looks like it will be a unique integrated hardware-software entertainment title. Can you talk a little about the concept and how it was developed? Also, what is your approach to the Nintendo Switch software lineup going forward?

For those who don't remember, Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit was the mixed reality title shown in the Super Mario Bros. 35th Anniversary Direct, with the racing happening in your room with Kamek and the Koopalings starring as your opposition. Obviously that got the attention of myself and Kamek, who were live-reacting in the log.

The Nintendo Switch, according to Nintendo President Shuntaro Furukawa in his answer, is in “the middle of its lifecycle,” and it's been out for 3.5 years so far, so look forward to more games to come. The only other interesting tidbits are that they're collaborating with a New York gaming/breakthrough technology company, Velan Studios, and Nintendo has a European development subsidiary called NERD (for Nintendo European Research & Development).

Question 2: Nintendo Switch Online plans

Now that Nintendo Switch Online has reached a level of over 26 million paid members, what can you tell us about the state of the service from launch to the present and your outlook for its future?

Unfortunately, President Furukawa's answer doesn't include helping make Nintendo Switch Online subscriptions consumer-friendly. He just says Nintendo will continue to offer games with online play and be fun. He also provided the tidbit that 20% or so of the 26 million Nintendo Switch Online members are part of family groups, and therefore aren't paying individual fees. If you would like to be part of the 20% and not the 80%, you should try to win Round 34 of the KoopaTV Loyalty Rewards Program, happening now and ending at the end of October. Look for next week's KoopaTV review newsletter for an update on how that's going.

Nintendo corporate management policy briefing Account countries regions Earth
If this map of people in countries looks suspicious, it's intentional.
More on that at the end of the article.

Question 3: Nintendo Switch lifecycle

I'd like to hear about your take on the Nintendo Switch lifecycle, as well as your thoughts on future allocation of development resources, including for the development of new hardware.

Nintendo already answered this guy's question back in question 1 (that the Switch is halfway through its lifecycle), and Furukawa reiterated that. Nintendo also said what everyone already knows: Working on one console (instead of two distinct ones like the Wii U and the 3DS simultaneously) helps a lot.

(If you can't tell, we're halfway through and I'm thoroughly unimpressed.)

Question 4: Nintendo Switch sales forecasts

The sales forecast for Nintendo Switch during this fiscal year is currently unchanged from the 19 million units you initially announced, but I'd like to hear about your future outlook.

Furukawa explained what everyone already knows, which is that most of Nintendo's revenues and profits (and this goes for the whole gaming industry) come from the holiday season, so he says to expect good things there. The guy asking the question was probably wanting to know about the outlook for the year after the current one, but he didn't specify.

Question 5: The Super Mario Bros. franchise

Super Mario Bros. is celebrating its 35th anniversary. Can you tell us about what has and hasn’t changed with regard to Super Mario Bros. in the past 35 years, and where you see the franchise going?

Shigeru Miyamoto answered this question with a whole bunch of absurdity, so I'm just going to quote him: “People typically expect sequels in a video game franchise to introduce incremental new elements, but we often hear our consumers saying that each title in the Super Mario Bros. series feels like a meaningfully different game.”

This is, of course, absolute rubbish. This is the series famous for New Super Mario Bros. into New Super Mario Bros. Wii to New Super Mario Bros. 2 and New Super Mario Bros. U. (And now New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe.) That's not consumers saying each title feels like a meaningfully different game beyond incremental new elements, but that each title feels very similar, more than what you'd expect from a sequel. There is literally a Super Mario fatigue. Now, certain sub-elements of the franchise, like Paper Mario games, have been changing dramatically between iterations. But Super Mario Bros. specifically has been woefully stagnant and are far from the best 2D sidescrolling games you could be playing now.

I think it really shows Miyamoto's way of thinking. You know, after being totally confused on what the hell he was talking about earlier in 2020 in these investor things. I guess he could still be senile, and that might explain it better. Nintendo really needs to stop bringing Shigeru Miyamoto to these things, because he's an incoherent nut that keeps blabbering about irrelevant or contradictory things.

Incidentally, Miyamoto answers the last question as well.

Question 6: What's the clash between fun and technology?

I consider how Nintendo views technology in its development to really have originated in the era of Gunpei Yokoi (see note), but would like to ask Miyamoto-san, Takahashi-san, and Shiota-san about each of their perspectives on the balance between fun and technological development.

Note: During his tenure at Nintendo, Gunpei Yokoi (who passed away in 1997) was general manager of the development department that created R.O.B. and Dr. Mario, in addition to video game systems including Game & Watch and Game Boy.

Shigeru Miyamoto answered first and talked a bit about a Gunpei Yokoi quote, essentially saying that using technology that already exists (as opposed to developing cutting-edge trends; for example, Nintendo isn't in virtual reality yet...besides the terrifying Nintendo Labo VR Kit) makes it easier for consumers to adopt it, makes it cheaper to manufacture it, and can also lead to innovative ideas if you try to apply it for unused circumstances.

And then Miyamoto was talking about the Nintendo Entertainment System and how “all you needed to do is just press the Reset button if you had a problem.” And that's not how many NES owners remember their problem-solving tactics. People instead blew into their cartridges.

LEGO Nintendo Entertainment System NES Super Mario Bros. cartridge blowing breathe
The collaboration with LEGO on the LEGO Nintendo Entertainment System even has a guy blowing on the LEGO cartridge of Super Mario Bros. No reset button.
(On another note, the LEGO collaboration made a cameo in the 56-slide briefing as part of Nintendo's merchandise expansion strategy.)

That said, if someone ever does come to you for information technology help, your first suggestion should be to restart their computer/device. Not only will that actually resolve the problem more often than not, but it'll give you time to think of an answer while you wait for the restart to occur.

Anyway, as you might expect (but you ought to be disappointed nonetheless), the investors avoided asking difficult questions, or even questions that would've gotten useful answers. If you wanted to know, say, Nintendo's thoughts about profiting off slave labour/ethnic cleansing in China and what, if anything, they'll do about that, there was nothing remotely close on that. Though if YOU'D like an update on that, the Department of Homeland Security, under President Donald John Trump, is stopping the trade of some of the goods produced by this forced labour. At the same time, because corporations like Nintendo are standing idly by, China is actually EXPANDING their labour camps. The Chinese Communist Party has also been destroying and damaging thousands and thousands of mosques as part of their cultural erasure efforts.

Why are Nintendo and their investors standing idly by? Why aren't they being asked the tough questions instead of the stupid softballs we've gone through above?

Ludwig enjoys the opportunity to both attack Shigeru Miyamoto's mental state, as well as expose the evils of the Chinese Communist Party, all in the same article and having it all be on-topic. Let KoopaTV know in the comments section if you'd like to see better questions asked of Nintendo executives, too. Commenting helps you win the KoopaTV Loyalty Rewards Program for that aforementioned prize of a one-year free Nintendo Switch Online membership!

The previous Nintendo investor question and answer session was their 80th annual shareholder meeting in July 2020. Even that had better questions.
Nintendo holds a boring question and answer session for halfway through fiscal year 2021.
It took until mid-2021, but Nintendo finally received and answered a question about the Uyghur forced labour issue.

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