Last week’s investors meeting provided the gaming world with a lot of new information regarding the future of Nintendo in terms of games, the direction mobile plans are headed in, what we should expect at this year’s E3, and (most interestingly) information about the NX. The new hardware’s release window– March 2017– was finally announced, and while receiving a more solid confirmation of when we should expect to see the console available was welcome, the disappointment of its delay alongside the new Zelda game weighed heavily on just about everyone.
Nintendo just published the English translations of President Tatsumi Kimishima’s answers that he provided during the investor Q & A portion of the meeting, and while he couldn’t reveal any concepts and details about the NX, he did take a moment to provide some insight about the software that will be launching adjacent to the new system.
One of the reasons for choosing the launch timing that we did is so that the software lineup will be ready in time for the hardware launch. Not only at launch, but we also need to be able to continuously release titles after launch. We are planning for this to be a platform that consumers can enjoy for a long time.
And when asked about the cost of NX in terms of analyzing performance for the fiscal year in which NX is launched, while keeping in mind the Wii U’s loss during its launch, President Kimishima responded with the following:
When Wii U was launched, the yen was very strong. I am assuming that situation will not repeat itself. Selling at a loss at launch would not support the business, so we are keeping that mind in developing NX.
Naturally, Nintendo is looking ahead when it comes to preparing a solid stream of titles for people to enjoy both during and after the NX’s launch. While that’s not surprising, it’s still good to hear that confirmation directly from Kimishima.
In terms of timing a new console release, the company is also already factoring in the loss of Wii U sales and weighing in the profits from the NX and the mobile market.
We are predicting about 800,000 Wii U hardware sales in the fiscal year ending March 2017, which is a decrease of about 2.4 million units compared to the previous year. NX and smart device business will be essential to cover this gap, but we also expect download content business to play a role. However, we are planning with the expectation that NX sales will compensate for much of the impact on sales from reduced Wii U hardware sales.
One of the biggest talking points for fans was Nintendo’s decision to release the NX during March. Many wondered why March was chosen over the anticipated Holiday 2016 season, a time when sales are known to be boosted, bringing in a steady stream of profit for the company. This subject was brought up in the investors meeting as well, and it was pointed out that previous company presidents put an emphasis on the importance of pushing major releases before the year-end mark. Kimishima went on to explain how the company’s stance on its way of thinking has not changed, despite how it might appear.
We believe that when launching hardware, the amount of quality software for consumers to play that is available at launch is important, and that we ought to determine our launch dates based on this. The fact that consumers spend more money in the holiday season may be a big factor in why launching then is a good way to start. However, our hardware and software business structure does not end in that year. We want consumers to continue to play this game system for many years, so we believe that in the beginning it is most important to make sure that everything is in order at launch. In that sense, our approach is that we should wait until we can provide a fully realized experience rather than rushing to launch in the holiday season, and this approach has not changed.
Again, while this insight may not be surprising, hearing that Nintendo is continuing to aim for quality products, and in turn, a quality experience for customers, is reassuring. We’re looking forward to getting more substantial information about everything NX related, which will hopefully (fingers crossed) be soon, possibly closer to E3. We’ll keep you posted!