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Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Nintendo's Six-Month Financial Results Q&A Briefing for Fiscal Year Ending March 2023

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Also known as the Question and Answer session for the Corporate Management Policy Briefing for Fiscal Year Ending March 2023.

Following the financial disclosure and corporate management policy briefing marking the halfway point of Nintendo's fiscal year ending March 2023, they took questions. According to the translated Q&A Summary document, there were seven questions and answers, and parts of it “have been edited or revised to improve readability.” We hope that's not trying to hide anything. (It...wouldn't make sense if it WAS trying to be nefarious!)

Let's go through each of those questions for this article, then! If you want to go right to why this article is categorised as Enlightenment Movement, go to Question 6.

Question 1: With the Switch going on its seventh year next year, what is Nintendo planning next?


First of all, Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa is focusing on the immediate holiday season ahead of Nintendo. Once that is successful, the Switch's seventh year will be about continued momentum, and trying to sell one Nintendo Switch console to every member of a household. Nintendo's fundamental strategy won't be different than the current one, but the games will be different (such as The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom—personally, I'm still used to seeing “the sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild”) and there'll be things like The Super Mario Bros. Movie that will actually be released and not just hyped up.

Question 2: How will you keep boosting Nintendo Switch Online's value so more people subscribe?


Furukawa notes that while some people aren't renewing their Nintendo Switch Online subscription (but he didn't give an actual churn metric), more people are subscribing than are cancelling or falling off. While over 36 million people are involved in Nintendo Switch Online, Furukawa wouldn't note how many are part of Expansion Pack. Furukawa connected the Nintendo Account and Nintendo Switch Online as tools to keep people playing their Nintendo Switch “for many years to come.” (I suppose that means its lifecycle will continue beyond the seventh year, too!)

Question 3: What explains the regional differences in Splatoon 3's popularity?


While the question and answer both lack specific numbers, I'll give you them: Splatoon 3, as of September 30, has sold 5.01 million copies in Japan and 2.89 million copies outside of Japan (for a total of 7.9 million). By comparison, when Splatoon 2 had sold 6.02 million total copies by March 2018, 2.61 million were in Japan and 3.41 million were outside of Japan.

Furukawa claimed that Splatoon 3's overseas numbers are higher than what they were in Splatoon 2 (which isn't true per what I just wrote, at least not yet), but Japan especially did well because of all of the engagement Nintendo did around Splatoon and the Nintendo Switch in general during the summer, citing Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak, Xenoblade Chronicles 3, Kirby's Dream Buffet, and the Mario Kart 8 Deluxe - Booster Course Pass. Apparently, for most Japanese players (or maybe most gamers in general), having a lot of games to play makes you buy more games. For me, it's the opposite—I don't buy games until I perceive (sometimes inaccurately) that my backlog is manageable again. But if everyone thought like I did, the videogame industry as a whole would have been in a crisis a long time ago, so perhaps that's good. Anyway, Furukawa is excited for how much bigger Splatoon 3's player base has to grow.

Question 4: Will Nintendo change Nintendo Switch prices given inflation?


Furukawa said no plans, but they'll continue to monitor the situation because the currency situation with the Japanese yen depreciating so much is hurting into the Switch's profitability. You may remember that one of their Japanese hardware competitors recently raised prices everywhere except the United States, including Japan. While that should've been raised in every country, the fact Nintendo won't do it perhaps signals that they don't feel, at this time, that the Switch would continue to sell as many units as it does now in its sixth year if it got a price increase this late.

Question 5: What does Nintendo currently think about backwards compatibility?


I very recently wrote that the Nintendo Account will shine its brightest when it comes to transitioning from one hardware to another, and this investor also brought up how the Nintendo Account should be able to allow backwards compatibility between a future Nintendo console and the Switch. Shigeru Miyamoto spoke up for the first time during this Q&A session to bring up how Nintendo used to have the Virtual Console (on the Wii, Wii U, and 3DS) to try to have a sense of backwards compatibility. Miyamoto brought up complicated legal rights (for visual content, because Miyamoto's brain is stuck thinking about The Super Mario Bros. Movie), as well as software development environments. Without actually answering the question, he said it should be easier for games released on past hardware to be played on newer hardware, but since Nintendo's strength lies in making new content, their plans are focused on bringing out the best gameplay they can out of whatever new hardware they make.

And that was the last thing he said! So... what will Nintendo do about backwards compatibility? We don't know. And, by the way, when people think about backwards compatibility, I think they have Wii U to Wii, Wii to GameCube, or 3DS to DS in mind, not emulating old games that you need to buy again for the new console. The Nintendo Account purchase history SHOULD let you do backwards compatibility for free if you already bought a game for an older console and want to play it on a new one... but that sure isn't happening in practice.

Question 6: How will you expand Mario's presence in the world?


This strange person was asking about Mario specifically. As representatives from Koopa Kingdom, we need to pay attention to the answer to this question very closely, since it could give clues on what aspect of life that plumber will attack and ruin next.

Shigeru Miyamoto gave a long but irrelevant response about how he was working with Chris Meledandri of Illumination on The Super Mario Bros. Movie for seven years. He thinks we'll enjoy the movie, and that it'll appeal both to gamers and non-gamers alike (who may have contradictory expectations on how closely a movie adaptation should track with a game storyline). Miyamoto then talked about Nintendo's history of making hanafuda playing cards for some reason, and that he views Nintendo “as an entertainment agency full of world-class talent.” And then he provided a strange commentary on... I don't know... multinational corporations having control over the world?

“These days, we live in a world where companies that deploy and maintain their infrastructure are inevitably in power. But we want to be a strong company that can match up against anyone by creating and managing content, as well as having the capability to disseminate the content ourselves.”
And that was the end of Miyamoto's answer, and they moved to the next question. For a transcript that was edited for readability, that sure wasn't coherent. More importantly, that didn't answer the question about where we'll see Mario (or Nintendo IP) next after mobile trash, movies, and theme parks. Unless being “in power” over the “world” is really the next step. I think there should be a lot of intermediate steps between “stars in one movie” and “world domination”, but maybe not. With Illumination's movie distribution network (which you could call infrastructure), The Super Mario Bros. Movie might be available worldwide and ruining the brains of the population with falsehoods and propaganda as it's widely shown to everyone, like what the Ministry of Truth did as portrayed in the novel 1984. Perhaps that's the real goal here. Use the big movie screens to project pro-plumber propaganda at a lower cost of entry than buying a videogame... and brainwash the population for power. That's the most straight-forward reading of what Shigeru Miyamoto said! He may be in it for profit, but Mario is—no doubt—in it for world domination.

Question 7: Will Nintendo take collected user activity into account when developing games?


Shinya Takahashi said that Nintendo receives a lot of feedback from consumers and pays attention to how people like their games, including feedback from social media. Ko Shiota chimed in to say that thanks to the Nintendo Account, Nintendo has gotten closer to its customers during the Nintendo Switch generation than ever before and that whenever the next-generation console releases, it'll be connected with the Nintendo Account and there will a compelling hardware-software integration (like always). I don't feel like this really answers the question about using user activity, but Nintendo has already demonstrated in previous presentations that they do examine aggregate user play data, so it must factor into decisions they make.


That's all the questions and answers! The most important one was question six. It may appear to be a nonsensical rambling answer from Shigeru Miyamoto, but there's a real dangerous warning in there that Koopa Kingdom needs to prepare people for!


The last question and answer analysis, from May 2022, also had seven questions.

4 comments :

  1. He didn't really answer question two, at least not fully, but whatever.

    I'm curious about question one's response, if they wanted to sell a switch to every member of the household, then why do profiles exist? Doesn't that completely defeat the purpose of owning more than one switch?

    As for the last question, we all know what people think about the new paper Mario's, but the sales say otherwise. So i think what Nintendo is really listening to regarding that series, is the sales not the people. But that's every company really so i guess i can't throw too much of a fit.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I mean, I think Origami King is a good game. Would I like a Mario game, Paper or otherwise, that returns to RPG gameplay and rich storylines? Absolutely. But Origami King is still fun, and controversially, I actually put it in 3rd place, ahead of Paper Mario 64, in my list of all the Paper Mario games.

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    2. Origami King is a great game! But just a okay paper Mario game to me. At first i hated Olivia, but I slowly grew to love her. I actually quite liked the idea of color splash, but the execution could have been better. Sticker Star is a abomination.

      I've almost beaten the thousand year door and i know the story of Super paper Mario, but i think i would probably pick 64 if only for all it's weirdness. Lil Oinks, wacky music, Watt, i just can't get enough. Super Paper Mario is probably to blame for a lot of what we're seeing today with paper Mario. Everyone knows the "Miyamoto says no story" story, but the introduction of Tippi was probably the biggest problem from that game. I really like Tippi, but it is certainly easier to have the permanent partner dump lore, rather than explain it through unique NPCs or several unique partner dialogues.

      I really like the idea of a Nintendo series with the same characters but entirely different gameplay every game, but not Paper Mario. If intelligent system did what HAL does with Kirby, make endless spinoffs but still release faithful games every so often. Paper Mario has a lot of potential, if Alpha Dream would've cleaned their act up, i would not have minded a paper jam two. It would still be the worst of the series, but i could enjoy it for a couple hours.

      Sorry for the dialogue wall, you inspired me and I just love talking about Paper Mario!

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    3. Profiles existed before Nintendo came up with the idea of wanting to sell a Switch to every member of the family. Too late to get rid of them now!

      Delete

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