In a letter to shareholders and investors, Nintendo announced a new business area within the company that will focus on health and improving their customer’s quality of life.
“With a platform business that improves people’s [quality of life] in enjoyable ways, we will attempt to establish a new business area apart from our dedicated video game business. We have set ‘health’ as the theme for our first step” the newsletter states.
Nintendo’s goal has always been to entertain, but now they want to continue to redefine entertainment as not only something that entertains, but something that improves the quality of life of their customers “in enjoyable ways.”
The idea of “health” isn’t new for Nintendo. The company has already released games like Wii Fit and Brain Training which aim to improve the player in physical ways while also offering enjoyment. Even the Wii Sports games, which can be played with simple flicks of the Wiimote, entice the player to move around and be active when trying to box or hit a tennis ball.
But to shift a portion of their business to health is new for this company, which started off making trading cards and branched into video games over a long, prolific history. Nintendo has always focused on software and hardware with the goal of “[putting] smiles on people’s faces,” so this change is surprising, especially given that one doesn’t normally associate mental and physical exercises with smiling.
But Nintendo is taking to this with gusto, and hopes to have this platform created and this goal achieved within the next ten years.
It is not clear whether this platform will consist of new hardware, new software that promotes healthy activity along the lines of Wii Fit, or some combination of the two.
Nintendo’s ultimate goal is, “Through our new endeavors with the [quality of life]-improving platform, we strive to further promote our existing strategy of expanding our user base, create an environment in which more people are conscious about their health and in turn expand Nintendo’s overall user base.”
The little kid in me frowns at the thought of a prolific game company looking more towards health—I want my Mario and Yoshi and Link!—but the adult in me is actually excited by this prospect. Like many, I really could do with more exercise and healthy lifestyle choices, but getting started is difficult. I’m allergic to the gym: I go there and it makes me tired. The idea of entertaining products that promote physical well being really is something I can get behind, and I trust Nintendo to do it right.