Tatsumi Kimishima Talks Nintendo’s Past, Present and Future

Thursday, December 3rd, 2015

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Tatsumi Kimishima

Time Magazine just posted a great article where Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima took a moment to talk with the respected publication about his company’s plans for the future. A number of subjects were discussed and some clarification was made on how they intend to utilize Nintendo Account and My Nintendo, why they don’t want to just flood the mobile market with ports of their games, misrepresentation of his prediction of the Wii U’s failure and the actual length of his presidency (among many other topics.)

As it regards porting their games to mobile markets, Kimishima said that he didn’t think flooding that particular arena with games was the best utilization of their resources. He acknowledged that it was a difficult market to succeed in because of the high degree of saturation, and felt that spreading awareness of Nintendo products was more valuable to the company than quick cash ins on an Android or iOS version of Super Mario Brothers.  

Elaborating on this, he said that it was more important to inform people about Nintendo products in a way that helped them gravitate towards their platforms. Kimishima believes that Nintendo Account and My Nintendo (a sort of globalized reimagining of the defunct Club Nintendo that unifies all of a user’s profiles under one umbrella) working in conjunction with the Miitomo app coming in March of next year is the key. He said that providing information about their releases, connecting people to each other to talk about the announcements and giving many avenues for the information to become available would be more beneficial to the beloved company and it’s enduring appeal.

He acknowledged that  the challenge of getting people to understand exactly what Miitomo is, and how it can be used, will be an important part of their marketing strategy for Nintendo Account, My Nintendo and the company as a whole. He said more needs to be done than to just put it out there and let it sink or swim:

I think normally if you look at the smart device business, applications are not advertised, they’re not promoted, you just open up the app store and boom, there’s a whole bunch of new apps. It’s just like, ‘Here they are!’, and they’re delivered to you.

Kimishima also clarified a statement that gained some traction in media circles when he was misquoted as saying the Wii U would be a failure. He elaborated on this, saying not that the Wii U couldn’t sell, but that it would be a challenge to sell it in the same numbers as the Wii. And that makes sense when you consider that the Nintendo Wii sold a staggering 100 million units. But despite the Wii U’s struggles, he reaffirmed their commitment to the flagging console, stating that it was important to show their appreciation for the faith that Wii U owners put in the system. They intend to continue developing software for the Wii U and are not abandoning it just because the NX is in development.

“What I want to do, I think our first job right now is to make sure that the customers, those 10 million customers who have a Wii U at home have software to play. And we need to make sure that they are satisfied with their purchase and continue to enjoy playing on this platform. So we can’t just abandon them and say ‘Hey, it’s time to move on to the next thing.’ Of course we are working on NX and looking at the experiences we can bring to that platform. But first our job at this point is to support the consumers who have purchased Wii U and make sure that they have software experiences available to them.”

Among the many subjects discussed in the article, he also talked about the length of his presidency, which some mistook to be a one year term. He said that wasn’t the case, he is committed to seeing all of his intentions for the company through to the end, and that the one year term only applied to the board of directors, whereupon they have to reapply to the position to hold it.

The article is filled with a lot of other great information as well, ranging from what they want to do with the Nintendo NX and how they intend to market it as a different product from the Wii  and Wii U, reflecting on how Amiibos haven’t been used in the fashion Nintendo had originally hoped for and shedding some light on the new ‘fellow’ positions within the company. It’s a great read and I recommend you go check it out if you’re a fan of Nintendo at all.


About Tom Tolios

Really smart, talks too much, loves the video games and the Star Wars and the Game of Thrones, likes the manga and some anime and knows that Kentaro Miura's Berserk is the greatest thing ever made.