Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima recently gave an interview to Time magazine discussing a variety of topics pertaining to the company’s plans for 2016, including their new upcoming console, Universal theme park attractions and Nintendo’s mobile strategy. So strap in, we a have a fair amount to unpack.
Nintendo is characteristically playing its cards very close to its chest in regards to details on what we can expect from their new dedicated gaming console, the NX. Nintendo has assured press and fans alike that they will reveal more information in 2016, but in the interview with Time, Kimishima was adamant about one thing in particular.
“I can assure you we’re not building the next version of Wii or Wii U,” said Kimishima. “[NX] is something unique and different.”
In just what ways the NX will differ from the Wii and Wii U Kimishima would not elaborate on. From his phrasing though, we can expect something rather different, as he discussed issues Nintendo had with defining the differences between the Wii and the Wii U to the consumer.
“As far as NX goes, it’s different and obviously a new experience,” he said. “The transition from Wii hardware to the Wii U hardware was difficult to explain to the consumer base what is different and new about the new hardware. It’s difficult to convince them to switch from their current platform to the next platform.”
In, what is almost unique to Nintendo now, Kimishima wanted to stress the new console did not mean Nintendo was going to discontinue support for the Wii U.
“Of course we are working on NX and looking at the experiences we can bring to that platform,” he said. “But first our job at this point is to support the consumers who have to purchase Wii U and make sure that they have software experiences available to them.”
When the topic moved from hardware to software, the focus seemed to be on how Nintendo was planning to tackle the untapped mobile market. We already know the company is prepping for it’s first launch onto the platform, from what they announced in March. Kimishima took the chance to reiterate the core ideas of the decision to move into smart device development established by former president Satoru Iwata.
“We want to increase the population of those people who have access to our IP, and we also need to make the way they access our IP as simple as we can or as easy as we can,” he told Time. “And that’s how we’re going to make the smart device business successful.”
Nintendo’s first smart device release, Miitomo, isn’t set to feature any of Nintendo’s prominent mascots. Instead the communication app is set to focus on attracting and connecting Nintendo fans across a multitude of platforms, and is due to release in March 2016.
A component of Miitomo brought up by Kimishima was how it would work with the users Nintendo Account, a subsequently the users My Nintendo rewards program.
Users will still be able to accrue Nintendo points the old fashioned way through game registrations, but points can now be accumulated through other means, the president explained. “They’ll start earning points not only by using their software, but by interacting with our stuff, not just by purchasing software, but by interacting both at theme parks and also with merchandize [sic].”
This more noted move into merchandising and even theme park attractions comes from Nintendo veteran Shigeru Miyamoto now serving as a creative fellow for the company. Kimishima explains that this role involves Miyamoto “spending a lot of time, not only with his fellow developers, but also working with Universal Theme Parks to design the Nintendo experience that will evolve there.” He also teased that “in fact, you may even be seeing Nintendo characters more often in the clothing and shoes that people wear.”
It looks like we have a lot to look forward to from The Big N heading into 2016.