Satoru Iwata Discusses 3DS Software, QOL Plans

Slowly and steadily, Nintendo has been evolving their operations in the last couple of years. Despite pleas from their shareholders, the company still hasn’t sold games on the mobile market, but have been undergoing transformations in other areas, such as mobile promotional apps and their ambitious Quality of Life initiative. In interviews with Nikke and  Asahi News, company president Satoru Iwata expounded on the company’s upcoming plans, including low-cost and trial-version 3DS games, QOL, and more.

Because the $39.99 software strategy has been troubled in an era of 99 cent games, Nintendo plans to further explore low-cost games for the 3DS. While the company already offers Virtual Console games on the 3DS with the same purpose of low-cost options, Nintendo wants to “re-create” old games at a low cost for development. These will “expand consumer choice” with games that come at a few dollars. Box Boy, a low-price game launched on Japanese eShop a few weeks ago, is an example of this strategy in action.

The company is also going to expand on trial versions of released software, presumably referring to past and present retail games available on the eShop. Nintendo and their third party partners already offer demos, but it’s not for every release and they all come with a limited number of uses. The idea of the trial versions, as Iwata explains, is to boost name recognition of their newest titles.

The New Nintendo 3DS was also a subject of concern. Turns out that sales have slowed down during the holidays. Iwata said that was because the upgrade hadn’t launched in North America and Europe, and don’t for another week. Always a point of discussion, this further proves that Nintendo should have followed through with a worldwide launch last year, to drive sales and make gamers happy regardless. The real reasons for the delayed launch remain unanswered.

And then there’s the QOL project. Satoru Iwata spoke separately with Asahi News to discuss the intent of QOL, and how Nintendo will adapt to the endeavor. Revealed early last year, QOL has been a puzzlement to many. We now know that Nintendo intends to make QOL the Third Pillar of its operations (sound familiar?), and that the products they create will try to help users in their everyday living.

Iwata was quick to assure that QOL will not detract from their game development, but rather that “leveraging our video game know-how, we’ll make it so even those who have trouble following through can stick with this program and have fun.” Among their ideas is a sleep sensor, already conceptualized last October. Also in the works are ways to help users with eating and exercise, and even education.

Nintendo has reported a profit for the Third Quarter of their fiscal year 2015. This good news, however, was mainly due to the hand of God influencing the yen to weaken versus the dollar and euro, and not exactly from the sales of their hardware and software. The strategies of QOL and low-cost software are part of Nintendo’s fixes to return to consistent profit and mind share among fickle consumers.

We are sure to learn more on February 17th, when Nintendo will finally hold their investor’s briefing and Q&A for Q3.

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A man with a plan. My favorite video game franchise is Pokemon, but his favorite video game is Resident Evil 4. I can also tell you trivial cartoon factoids.