Iwata looks to “redefine” public perception of what Nintendo can achieve
Nintendo surprised the world when company president Satoru Iwata discussed a new business strategy that would steer them toward establishing a “Quality of Life” platform.
He would later further detail this in his Message from the President, with Nintendo also trademarking “QOL” in Japan. Now, in an interview with Diamond.jp, Iwata has continued to discuss the company’s reasoning behind pursuing such concept, demonstrating his desire to break free of the perception that Nintendo only makes video games.
“Surely, a lot of people around the world must think ‘Nintendo is a company that is just for video games,’ about us, and I believe that there are more and more of our own employees who’ve begun to think like that”, Iwata began in his explanation. “Some employees that are in charge of making things, are often kept in positions where they have to think of how they can make the game in front of them more fun, so I don’t think it can be helped if others outside of our company think like that.
“So, even if the fact that our focus is videogames won’t be changing, I felt the need to take this occasion to say ‘Nintendo is a company that can do whatever they want’”.
He continued, “This subject came to light when Yamauchi passed away, but I felt ‘our surroundings are greatly changing. We need to redefine what Nintendo must do, from this point on.’ However, I felt that saying ‘Nintendo will do anything,’ was also the wrong idea for the company”.
It was also the ideals of former Nintendo president Hiroshi Yamauchi that sparked such direction, stepping outside what is perceived as entertainment.
“Yamauchi was one to always say ‘Nintendo is a company for entertainment, and it shouldn’t be for anything else,’ and he didn’t necessarily think that ‘entertainment = video games’. I’ve been wondering how to express Yamauchi’s feelings, and I’ve been thinking about it non-stop, even during the New Year’s holiday break.”
“Lately, the words ‘QOL’ (quality of life) have come up,” says Iwata. “Entertainment is there to improve people’s quality of life. After your basic needs, there’s entertainment. However, when it comes to ‘improving people’s quality of life,’ I didn’t know the difference between us and household appliance makers.”
“At the start of this year, I finally figured that ‘improving people’s quality of life with fun,’ with emphasis to the ‘fun’ would be perfect for Nintendo. And that’s when I decided to use this as a focus during the financial results meeting in January and wrote the manuscript for the presentation.”