The evolution of Nintendo: A gaming great's fight to stay relevant

Nintendo is struggling.

The most recent blow to the company came this month with news of a "steep downward revision" to the company's year end financial forecast. In other words, Nintendo sold a lot less, and made a lot less, than they originally thought they would in the past year.

The situation is so dire that company president Satoru Iwata kicked off his quarterly management meeting by telling analysts and attendees not what the company will be doing, but what it won't be doing.

Nintendo still believes in video games on dedicated consoles, Iwata said.

"We therefore believe that dedicated video game platforms which integrate hardware and software will remain our core business," he said. "Naturally, we are moving ahead with research and development efforts for future hardware as we have done before and we are not planning to give up our own hardware systems and shift our axis toward other platforms."

Nintendo is a survivor, Iwata explained. It's a company that over its 125 year history evolved from card company, to toy company, to electronic toy company to a video game company.

But always, Iwata said, at its core, Nintendo has been a company that has tried to "create something new from materials and technologies available at that time and to position entertainment as our core business."

Iwata reminded those present that Nintendo has always been an innovator and a collaborator.

"Given this background, in expanding our dedicated video game platforms in the future," Iwata said, "we hope to firmly decide what aspects from the past should be kept and what should be dramatically changed in order to leverage our core competency."

Iwata made it clear in his presentation that if nothing else, the future of Nintendo will be an interesting one as it continues to evolve and innovate.

We've created this StoryStream to help trace that evolution.

Miyamoto: Nintendo working to generate a wider audience for its games

In response to a question about small launch lineups for the Wii U and 3DS systems during an investor Q&A, Nintendo's Shigeru Miyamoto acknowledged the lack of first-party games during this time and noted attracting wider consumer interested in its titles is something the company is working on.

Miyamoto said Nintendo has "not been able to deliver results" during its console launch windows the past few years. Miyamoto acknowledged that the Nintendo 3DS and DS launched without first-party software from any of Nintendo's major franchises, although the Wii U launched with Nintendo Land and...

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Nintendo completes buyback as founding Yamauchi family sells shares

Nintendo announced today the completion of its 11.4 billion yen share buyback as members of the founding Yamauchi family sold some of its company holdings.

Nintendo purchased 9.5 million shares yesterday for 12,025 yen each, according to the Tokyo Stock Exchange, which makes up roughly 7.4 percent of its outstanding stock. Included in this total is a percentage of the 10 percent stake owned by heirs to former Nintendo President Hiroshi Yamauchi.

Yamauchi, who ran Nintendo for 53 years, gave his company stake to his four children following his death. Nintendo does not know which family...

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Iwata: Next Nintendo console and handheld may have 'integrated' development platform

Nintendo's next gaming console and handheld device may be "integrated" with a common development platform akin to Apple's iOS or Google's Android, said company president Satoru Iwata in an investor call last week.

The Q&A followed a presentation from Nintendo officials regarding the company's poor third-quarter financial results.

In response to a question from an analyst who pointed out Iwata's previously stated concern about losing customers when Nintendo introduces new hardware platforms, Iwata said that last year, Nintendo restructured its research-and-development groups. Now, the...

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Nintendo's founding family to sell shares as buyback terms are set

Nintendo's founding Yamauchi family will sell its holdings in the games company as it prepares for the 114.2 billion yen share buyback terms taking place tomorrow, Bloomberg reports.

Nintendo will purchase up to 9.5 million shares, making up 7.4 percent of its available stock, at a price point of 12,025 yen each. According to a statement from the company, heirs to the former CEO Hiroshi Yamauchi who own roughly 10 percent of total shares "desire to sell." However, it remains unclear how many shares the family plans to sell.

Last month, Nintendo's Satoru Iwata announced plans to slash his...

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Nintendo to consider mergers and acquisitions in business strategy

In the wake of a series of poor financial earnings, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata told the Nikkei Asian Review that the company is considering mergers and acquisitions as part of its future business strategy.

"We'll change the way we sell products, by managing customer information via the internet. We'll offer discounts to steady, regular customers. We'll cultivate emerging markets and launch new businesses in health and other areas," Iwata said. "We should abandon old assumptions about our businesses. We are considering [merges and acquisitions] as an option. For this reason, we'll step...

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Nintendo plans to 'actively expand' character licensing business

Nintendo plans to expand its character licensing business, which will allow third-party partners to create and sell merchandise based on Nintendo intellectual property, the company announced during a financial briefing.

While Nintendo does currently have partnerships with companies like Dark Horse Comics, Hybrid Apparel and PEZ International (which make comics, clothing and candy respectively), allowing them to use certain Nintendo characters and brands in their products, it has been very selective in who it works with.

Company president Satoru Iwata said in his presentation that until...

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Nintendo games may get cheaper for people who buy more of them

In an effort to encourage its customers to buy more games, Nintendo may experiment with "flexible price points" — for example, dropping prices on games as a customer buys more of them or recommends titles to friends, said Nintendo president Satoru Iwata during a policy briefing today.

"Based on our account system, if we can offer flexible price points to consumers who meet certain conditions, we can create a situation where these consumers can enjoy our software at cheaper price points when they purchase more," Iwata said.

According to Iwata, Nintendo's implementation of the Nintendo...

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Nintendo DS games coming to Wii U Virtual Console

Saying Nintendo has overcome certain technical hurdles, president Satoru Iwata announced that the company now plans to bring Nintendo DS titles to the Wii U GamePad through its Virtual Console service.

While Iwata didn't announce which Nintendo DS titles would be supported on Wii U nor when we should expect them, he acknowledged that the rich software lineup of the DS could benefit the system's Virtual Console lineup. In a presentation slide, Nintendo illustrated how the popular DS game Brain Age might appear on the GamePad's screen.

"We are now sure that we can solve the technical...

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Nintendo eyes health market for next business move

Nintendo is looking to the health sector for its next business move, with company president Satoru Iwata telling an audience of investors and analysts that its focus for the next 10 years is on "quality of life through entertainment."

During the strategy briefing, Iwata said the key word for its strategy is "health."

"Of course, defining a new entertainment business that seeks to improve (quality of life) creates various possibilities for the future such as 'learning' and 'lifestyle,' but it is our intention to take 'health' as our first step," Iwata said.

He acknowledged the recent...

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Nintendo working to make GamePad crucial to Wii U experience

Nintendo isn't giving up on the touchscreen-equipped GamePad controller that's included with every Wii U, president Satoru Iwata said at an investor and analyst briefing in Tokyo today.

Acknowledging that GamePad recognition is low and confusion about the controller being an accessory for the original Wii is an issue for Wii U — not to mention being an obstacle to a system price cut — Iwata said Nintendo isn't giving up on the unique controller.

"We intend to take on this challenge, and I would like to have this solved before the year-end sales season," Iwata said.

To do that, Nintendo...

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Mario Kart 8 coming to Wii U globally in May (updated)

Mario Kart 8 will launch for the Wii U in May, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata announced today during a briefing in Japan.

Iwata did not specify which region the May date applies to. We've reached out to Nintendo and will update accordingly. Previously, the game had a general launch of this spring. Mario Kart 8 is the first entry to be released for the Wii U; it will introduce new elements such as anti-gravity. Featured locations include courses set in jungle ruins, deserts and the clouds, while players will be able to take control of franchise favorites.

For more on the game, check out...

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Iwata: No plans to move Nintendo's current games to non-Nintendo platforms

Nintendo chief Satoru Iwata today rejected the notion that the struggling company will release its existing games for rival hardware platforms. But he said that the company will release "engaging" mobile experiences that aim to market Nintendo games.

In the wake of dismal financial results and disappointing Wii U sales, some have once again called on the company to consider releasing prime brands like Mario and Zelda on popular platforms like iOS.

Speaking at an investors meeting in Tokyo today, Iwata emphatically stated that no such plans are being considered.

"We feel that simply...

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Nintendo boss Satoru Iwata will cut pay in half after poor fiscal results

Nintendo's Satoru Iwata announced he will slash his pay in half following a 30 percent slump in profit over the nine-month fiscal period ending Dec. 31, 2013.

Speaking to reporters, the Nintendo president said he will receive a reduced salary for five months in the wake of the third quarter results. Other Nintendo executives will take a pay cut between 20 and 30 percent.

Earlier this month, the company announced its expectations for a third consecutive annual operating loss after previously forecasting its return to profit. The company expects to lose 33.4 billion yen for the final...

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Wii U unable to recover despite strong software sales

Nintendo saw a drop in Wii U sales of 36 percent compared to the same period last year, the company revealed in its third-quarter fiscal earnings result for the period ending Dec. 31, 2013.

The company reported an operating loss of just over $15 million for the April-December period. However, thanks to the holiday season this was an increase in sales compared to last quarter. Nintendo recorded an operating profit of 21.7 billion yen ($210 million) based on an 84.6 percent increase in Wii U sales compared to the period prior. However, the company notes that the console still has a negative...

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Nintendo losses reach over $15 million in its third quarter financial results

Nintendo released its third quarter financial results today revealing an operating loss of just over $15 million for the nine month period ending Dec. 31, 2013, after dismal sales of the Wii U forced the company to slash its yearly forecast this month.

The game maker recorded revenues of 499.1 billion yen ($4.8 billion), a drop of 8.1 percent compared to the same period last year, while reaping an operating profit of 21.7 billion yen ($210 million) in its third quarter even in the face of the overall loss. This is the result of slightly more robust sales of its Wii U console during the...

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