It is no secret that Nintendo has had a rough couple of years. Ever since the release of the poorly-selling Wii U, Nintendo investors and fans have been seeking answers regarding the future of the company. In an investor Q & A session, Nintendo President and CEO Satoru Iwata provided insight into the company’s financial situation.
Iwata explained that a sharp financial turnaround over the next fiscal year is highly unlikely, stating “In this sense, instead of seeing a great and sudden recovery in our profitability in the next fiscal year, I am rather expecting to be able to report Nintendo-like profits from around the following fiscal year.” This should give investors and consumers great pause, as the damage caused by the Wii U’s poor sales will take some time to recover from.
It does seem that Nintendo is looking to make some dramatic changes to its current business model and console lineup in the near future, however. On the prospect of smartphone integration and new console development, Iwata mentioned, “I feel that we will be able to further stimulate our platform business by taking advantage of smart devices, and I think that we will be able to provide detailed information on this as well as some concrete results between the current and the next fiscal years. Also, the idea I mentioned about redefining the definition of video game platforms will also require approximately two years.”
This could mean that an entirely new Nintendo home console (or perhaps the long-rumored hybrid handheld-TV console) could be seen in 2016. Iwata did stress that Nintendo is constantly developing new hardware, so the next Nintendo console is assuredly in development. It is still unclear how Nintendo plans to utilize the smartphone market, though we do know that simple smartphone game ports are not in the works.
Perhaps the most interesting tidbit from the Q & A came at the very end when Iwata discussed the prospect of a bona fide Wii U “system-seller.” After mentioning that the releases of Mario Kart 8 and Super Smash Bros. Wii U could potentially be harmed by inflated sales projections, Iwata brought up how Pokémon saved the Game Boy. “The fate of a video game system is often influenced greatly by the introduction of a single title,” said Nintendo’s President. “As many of you probably remember, before the release of the Pokémon game, Game Boy had been showing slow growth, and many people wondered whether it was the end of Game Boy. But the Pokémon game singlehandedly changed the landscape of the system, which then started to show the strongest sales in the lifecycle of the system.”
It seems as though Nintendo is seriously banking on Mario Kart 8 and Super Smash Bros. to jump-start Wii U sales. If these titles do not provide the type of sales boost Nintendo is seeking, the future of the Japanese gaming giant appears to be quite unclear.