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The 6 things you need to know about today's Nintendo announcements

Price cuts, the future of GamePad, smartphones and future tech

Following a tough couple of weeks, Nitnendo CEO Satoru Iwata met with investors today for his Corporate Management Policy Briefing, which spelled out the company's goals for Wii U, 3DS, smartphones, NNIDs and even never-before-seen technology currently in the works. As you might expect, it wasn't exactly brief, so we've condensed the six most important points into delicious business-y morsels below. Delicious!

1. Wii U won't get a price cut

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Unlike most of the announcements that followed, this wasn't the subject of a long explanation: "Obviously, under the current situation where the company has to report an operating loss, simply executing a price reduction as a way to defuse the situation is not an option." Simple as that.

2. Selling GamePad will be the focus

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Instead of simply cutting the price of the console, Mr. Iwata made it clear that the company's biggest short-term goal is to help make people understand the Wii U GamePad, and then create games that only it could play: "we have not been able to offer a decisive software title that enriches the user's gameplay experience when playing alone with the GamePad. This will be one of the top priorities of Mr. Miyamoto's software development department this year."

Other goals include using the GamePad's NFC features - which will be fully revealed at E3 this year - starting a GamePad-only DS Virtual Console store, implementing a quick-start menu that boots the Wii U straight into a game (cutting your time waiting for menus to load), and announcing the release of big games such as Mario Kart 8 - which was dated for May.

3. Nintendo on smartphones is coming

While Iwata made very clear, again, that Nintendo would not simply port its games to smart devices, the company clearly has big plans in the arena they've traditionally stayed out of. Announcing that Nintendo would create a "small, select team of developers" to work on creating "something truly valuable that is unique to Nintendo", Iwata revealed that a Nintendo app of some sort will be released this year:

"I have not given any restrictions to the development team, even not ruling out the possibility of making games or using our game characters. However, if you report that we will release Mario on smart devices, it would be a completely misleading statement. It is our intention to release some application on smart devices this year that is capable of attracting consumer attention and communicating the value of our entertainment offerings"

But that isn't the extent of the company's plans outside of their own hardware...

4. NNIDs will become far more important

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Iwata made a great deal of the importance of NNIDs, and how they could become the platform for relationships between Nintendo and their customers. The company plans to make NNID your account across all future Nintendo platforms - including smart devices. Iwata said: "The environment in which our users can download paid software is one example of where we should aim to make more off-device improvements than on-device ones", implying that some form of eShop would make it to your phone.

Most interesting is how Iwata sees online sales as a way to experiment with how people buy games. Talking about the traditional £40 price point of games, Iwata explained that selling online meant Nintendo could "establish a new sales mechanism that will be beneficial to both consumers and software creators by encouraging our consumers to play more titles and increasing a platform's active use ratio without largely increasing our consumers' expenditures."

This would be done by making games cheaper as you bought more of them, or discounting games when you invite your friends to buy them too. While it's not a fixed strategy, Iwata explained that "we would like to start experimenting with Wii U at an early stage."

5. Nintendo characters will be licensed further

Nintendo's famously protective of its characters, but it looks as though they might relax their policy a little in the coming years. Iwata announced that "we aim to increase consumer exposure to Nintendo characters by making them appear in places other than on video game platforms."

Giving Nintendo's recent move to allow character merchandise to be sold in the US as an example, Iwata explained that "we will be flexible about forming licensing relationships in areas we did not license in the past, such as digital fields, provided we are not in direct competition and we can form win-win relationships."

6. Nintendo's creating new, non-wearable health technology

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The least expected part of the speech was its final part, in which Iwata announced: "We will attempt to establish a new platform business with which we can leverage our strengths, but which is independent from our video game platform business."

This will take the form of non-wearable technology that helps improve the user's health, "providing preventive measures which would require us to enable people to monitor their health and offer them appropriate propositions." We don't know exactly what form this will take yet, but Nintendo plan to eventually have it interacting with their games, and will announce more later this year.

You can read the whole of Iwata's speech here.


25 comments so far...
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  1. AJWolfTill Thursday 30th Jan 2014 at 11:46

    The Investor meeting has certainly demonstrated how thorough the Nintendo hivemind has been recently.
    The multigame price reduction system sounds glorious!
    Despite all the news I can't help but feel that we are overdue a Nintendo Direct. It's been over a month since the last one and the regularity of the updates has made me into a spoilt child.

  2. Lazara the Last Thursday 30th Jan 2014 at 11:52

    Lots of new, interesting ideas here. I do hope they succeed, and I got to say I am surprised on how many other things they have thought of, while most people on the Internet only talk about marketing. Of course, marketing is going to be a huge factor in whether the Wii U will succeed or not, but they also need something interesting to market, something interesting to show their costumers!

    I hope we'll get a Nintendo Network app soon, where you can get access Miiverse, friend list, eShop and Download Manager. Miiverse could work better than the browser version, as the app could do things a browser can. In friend list you can see who's online, and what they're playing. With eShop and Download Manager you can buy and download things to your Wii U (and Nintendo 3DS?) on the go, and see all the downloads!

  3. SamManSam Thursday 30th Jan 2014 at 11:54

    Number 5 sounds suspiciously to me like they've finally allowed Mario to be in the sequel of Wreck-it-Ralph... Maybe this is just the fanboy in me talking, but I'm really looking forward to this now...

  4. Chewie Thursday 30th Jan 2014 at 12:08

    A lot of people bought the Wii and got about 2 weeks worth of fun out of it. The motion control gimmick, for many, ran it's course extremely quickly. People will not want to make the same mistake again, and I imagine many are viewing the Gamepad as that same gimmick. Nintendo are going to have a hell of a time trying to re-convince those people, and ultimately I believe they will fail. I hope they don't mind, but they've done nothing to convince me otherwise.

  5. Grant Jones Thursday 30th Jan 2014 at 12:23

    They really need to market the Off-Tv Play feature more, as that is the main reason I'm getting a Wii-U this month. If they want that market of men in their 20s and 30s, they could aim the Wii-U at them by showing that you can continue on your game when the wife demands the TV for her daily dose of Corrie and Eastenders. If you're a teenager living with your parents, that is clearly a market dominated by the FPS-loving Xbox owners. They don't need that market and they most probably won't crack it.

  6. shy guy 64 Thursday 30th Jan 2014 at 13:00


  7. dm16 Thursday 30th Jan 2014 at 13:12

    With regards to the unified ID, Nintendo need to stop charging people twice for the same game, I bought Super Mario Bros 3 for the 3DS at Christmas but apparently I also need to buy it again if I want it for the Wii U, virtual console games need to count for both systems, not just one.

  8. jonnicholls1991 Thursday 30th Jan 2014 at 13:47

    Wow, some really cool and interesting ideas

  9. jtthegame Thursday 30th Jan 2014 at 13:58

    hope you intend on bringing that app to my windows phone nintendo. anyway love both my 3ds and wii u both great systems and i hope the wi u picks up like the 3ds did

  10. MartinIsAwesome Thursday 30th Jan 2014 at 14:08

    The thing I'm looking forward to most with regard to these announcements is the idea of Nintendo relaxing on the whole licencing deal, especially if that means more things like TV shows, movies and comics based on our favourite characters. Heck, maybe that Metroid movie will finally get the go ahead.

  11. carnivine chaos Thursday 30th Jan 2014 at 14:09

    Mr. Iwata made it clear that the company's biggest short-term goal is to help make people understand the Wii U GamePad, and then create games that only it could play

    Best thing I've heard all day, this is exactly what I've been ranting on about the past few months.

  12. Dapz Thursday 30th Jan 2014 at 15:08

    I knew some big announcements were coming from Nintendo, with everything seemingly going wrong for them they really needed a big rethink about how they do…well, everything. But I feel like an alternative solution, a way the necessity of this could have been avoided, would be if they were just more ambitious with their games and focus their ambition with their consoles better. But it's too late for the latter now of course. They've already bought out their 3DS and Wii U, both with gimmicks that won't catch on, and sadly there's no way they can just rectify that mistake by bringing out an instant replacement, they have to stick it out with these poor consoles for the length of a natural lifespan, even though it's very UNnatural when applied to them.

  13. marka23 Thursday 30th Jan 2014 at 16:01

    Looks like Nintendo will be using google glass as the wearable thing

  14. CyberGW Thursday 30th Jan 2014 at 16:26

    Well, this is needed. I am very pleased Nintendo are taking strong action at their financial situation.
    This is not to say that they will definitely succeed, but what they are doing is relaxing on past limitations and opening up a new world of possibilities. Nintendo needs to evolve, and it finally seems that they have picked up the Thunderstone.
    Looking forward to all the possible excitement, this could end up brilliant.

  15. Carlos1982 Thursday 30th Jan 2014 at 17:00

    The first two points seem a lot like they're happy to stick their heads in the sand and hope that by some miracle, more of the same will produce some different results. It would be interesting to know how many people who have purchased a Wii U owned a DS and would actually purchase any DS titles released on Virtual Console.

    The third point is an interesting one, Nintendo are severely under represented across most mobile platforms. They should have apps and the like for news and videos. Porting games is not an easy prospect even if they chose to take that route, with few physical buttons on most mobile devices its clunky at best. But there does appear to be a market, with plenty of emulators on the app stores.

    NNID seems to just be a way of collecting information on those who registered. As yet I see no real benefit in having added it to the 3ds, Although the details seem a bit sketchy it appears to be a combination of a loyalty scheme rolled up with pester promotion. Its not micro transactions which is a trend I'm happy to see them attempting to avoid.

  16. Justin Bailey Thursday 30th Jan 2014 at 17:04

    Glad Nintendo is sticking to their guns!

    As for more licensing of their characters: CAN I HAS MARIO CARTOONS AGAIN?! Oh, and Mario in Wreck-It Ralph 2 will be just exquisite.

    As for Smart devices, I'm just waiting for My eShop and Miiverse apps.

  17. Hero_Of_Moga Thursday 30th Jan 2014 at 17:10

    sounds great I'm looking forward to more info. it's great that nintendo haven't completely given up on the wii U, if they can keep their promises then the future of the Wii U should certainly be brighter.

  18. Hero_Of_Moga Thursday 30th Jan 2014 at 17:13

    Nintendo needs to evolve, and it finally seems that they have picked up the Thunderstone.

    nice analogy :wink:
    sorry for the double post

  19. CaptMcCloudAran Thursday 30th Jan 2014 at 17:45

    WiiU is a great console and one of my favorites, of all times. But of course it need to get better. This is what Nintendo should do to improve the situation of the WiiU in my opinion:

    - Invest heavily in marketing. Internet, smartphones, TV, everything. Bring back those incredible advertisements of the NES/SNES/N64 golden era;

    - DS is great but still need to improve the virtual console´s library, releasing weekly at least one of the great successes of SNES, N64 and GC . If you can include NeoGeo, Dreamcast and Saturn, better. - Launch a Pokemon HD adventure/rpg/fighters/stadium/snap/whatever;

    - Launch Star Fox HD assault style but with greater focus on space combat, F Zero 1080p GX style with a robust online mode and obviously, Metroid Prime 4; These 3 are a personal request :)

    - Launch the biggest and best Zelda of history, which is probably going to happen soon. Bundle it with a special golden console. Will sell like hotcakes, especially in Japan;

    - Bring back ALL the old franchises in innovative versions that make good use of the GamePad and in beautiful 1080p. Advanced Wars, Animal Crossing, Brain Age, Custom Robo, EarthBound, Excitebike, Golden Sun, Nintendogs, Kid Icarus, Kirby, Pilotwings, Punch-Out, Wave Race and 1080° to name a few. If do not have enough internal staff use other studios to bring all this in a regular sequence like one per month;

    - Ensure that major 3rd party sports franchises come to the console. FIFA14 sells nonstop in europe week after week.

    What do you think?

  20. E123-Fawful Thursday 30th Jan 2014 at 20:32

    Handing 3rd parties an opportunity to use Nintendo ips for the Wii U could work really well and produce great games to revive franchises (F-Zero and Star Fox) or it could fail by having games which are terrible and ruin the franchises. I'd rather it be a case of the former (and it probably will with Nintendo wanting to bring games out that are of high quality) where we get SEGA to work on a new F-Zero with some bounty hunting involved (So yes. That would mean on foot sections where you can Falcon Punch goons whilst keeping the traditional high speed, hard as diamond races. Opens up more vs options too) and give Platinum Star Fox (They've even said they want to make a Star Fox Game) as that section in W101 was pretty much Star Fox with a different skin on it. Lots of action and they should be able to perfect the on foot sections from Adventure and Assault. Just 2 examples which people have wanted for ages.

    A cool idea I had was doing a deal with Warner bros and TT Games to get a huge Nintendo themed LEGO game made and do a deal with Nintendo to get actual LEGO sets made as well (Loads of people have great ideas for Zelda sets so why not? And Pokemon, Metroid, F-Zero, Mario etc also get sets). Quite a bit of money would be made and if Nintendo work really closely with TT games a LEGO Nintendo game would be amazing and draw a few more people in.

    And before they put DS games on the Wii U virtual console I think some gameboy advance games should be made available as well as GameCube games. Capitalize on Fire Emblem's growing popularity and release all the older games on the virtual console for example. Oh yeah and Mother 3.

  21. Luke Ario Thursday 30th Jan 2014 at 20:40

    I dunno... this sounds like Nintendo are gonna do a SEGA... don't ask how I get that impression, but it just seems so.

  22. TheSlenderman Thursday 30th Jan 2014 at 22:53

    I dunno... this sounds like Nintendo are gonna do a SEGA... don't ask how I get that impression, but it just seems so.

    Well, how does any of the above information suggest to you that nintendo will "do a SEGA"?

  23. OrangeRakoon Thursday 30th Jan 2014 at 23:52

    My favourite slides:

    Like what even, Nintendo graph department are you okay?

  24. Phirst Friday 31st Jan 2014 at 16:12

    1. Wii U wont get a price cut
    You mean another price cut, its already had a Ł50 price drop.

    2. Selling GamePad will be the focus
    It wasnt before? Nintendo land was all about GamePad play, the Gamepad has always been the focus. We just dont
    know what to do with it.

    I dont see how the DS games will work on the gamepad alone. The screen is orientated the wrong way for the
    controls to be viable in most games and if they offload the top DS screen to the TV its going to look shocking.

    3. Nintendo on smartphones is coming
    Still waiting on that Miiverse app (and TVii says hi)

    4. NNIDs will become far more important
    At last some actual news, or is it? Until Nintendo do something I will be sceptical. They are so far behind the bell curve
    in this space I will be astounded if they create a modern account system like valve or apple.

    5. Nintendo characters will be licensed further
    Should will make some money for Nintendo, which is good

    6. Nintendo's creating new, non-wearable health technology
    Great now Nintendo are going to focus on something outside the video games industry as a WiiU & 3DS owner that
    doesn't fill me with joy.

    The only bit of good news was that Mario Kart 8 got a release date and who is to say it won't slip like all 2013 releases. "Please understand......"

  25. jaytee Saturday 1st Feb 2014 at 14:50

    I'm not really fussed on the game pad but the pro controller is comfy as hell! They should make more games that use it and maybe even give it speakers and a mic like the tablet controller, that way if people don't want something gimmicky then they can use a decent controller that also has built in voice chat!

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