After its gutpunch of a 455 million dollar net loss this past fiscal year, Nintendo announced in an exclusive interview with Bloomberg that they would try releasing new game consoles for emerging markets, starting as early as next year.
Put emphasis on the word ‘new’, because these aren’t going to be rehashes of old Nintendo machines, scaled down to accomodate fledgling markets: these are said to be all-new devices, crafted specifically to appeal to these new consumers.
“We want to make new things, with new thinking rather than a cheaper version of what we currently have,” Nintendo President Satoru Iwata said. “The product and price balance must be made from scratch.”
‘Developing hardware for emerging markets’ doesn’t mean getting into the smartphone business, though. Iwata, who has been adamant against throwing Nintendo’s hat in the smartphone ring, retains his position, and doesn’t intend to budge on it anytime soon. According to Iwata, no games that made the jump from console to smartphone have generated tens or hundreds of billions of yen in the long run, and it wasn’t something that he wanted to be a ‘pillar’ for Nintendo to stand on. Still, Nintendo is allowing limited smartphone functionality in Mario Kart 8, in which players can watch friends’ gameplay videos and track their progress using their phones.
Another new innovation, alongside the new devices, will be the use of figures to connect with games via near field communication technology, exchanging data via the Wii U gamepad. Activision proved this model to be successful with its Skylanders series of games, and Disney adopted it with their Disney Infinity franchise.
What does Nintendo intend to do with these figures? What exactly are these new devices?
Not much information (other than their announcement) has been gleaned, unfortunately, but Iwata said that the skinny on both will be delivered at this year’s E3 so that means we’ll just have to wait.