In an interview with Time, Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima discussed a variety of topics relating to the company's future as 2016 looms closer. Among the talking points: Nintendo's mobile strategy, its upcoming console, its recent corporate restructuring and more.
Nintendo has kept mum on what to expect from its next dedicated gaming console, the NX. The company has promised fans that it will reveal more information in 2016, but Kimishima gave Time a teaser of what the NX won't look like.
"I can assure you we're not building the next version of Wii or Wii U," said Kimishima. "[NX] is something unique and different."
Exactly in what ways it will differ from the motion control-touting consoles, he did not elaborate. But while NX is in the works, he promised that the Wii U is still a priority for the company.
"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."
"We want to increase the population of those people who have access to our IP"
Discussing Nintendo's future on the software front begs the question of its plans for tackling the mobile market. As announced in March, the company is gearing up for its first launch on the platform. Kimishima reiterated what predecessor Satoru Iwata established about how Nintendo would approach its smartphone game development.
"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."
While it doesn't feature studio stalwarts like Mario or Link, Miitomo aims to attract and connect Nintendo fans across a multitude of platforms. First announced at a meeting for investors in October, the communication app will launch sometime in March 2016 and will be the first of at least five games in development to see release.
While it's not required of you to have one to play Miitomo, users will benefit from connecting the game to the new Nintendo Account and My Nintendo services. "When [players are] using Miitomo it's going to be easier to do some of the Miitomo features if you have a Nintendo Account," Kimishima said. "It'll be easier to reach out and talk to your friends."
After registering for the free service, you'll accrue points that can be used with the My Nintendo rewards program. My Nintendo will replace Club Nintendo as the company's method of exchanging game registrations for exclusive gifts, downloads and discounts.
These Club Nintendo points can also 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]."
"You may even be seeing Nintendo characters more often"
To that end, veteran Nintendo designer Shigeru Miyamoto is currently playing an active role in broadening the company's consumer reach. After a brief stint as co-president following Iwata's sudden passing this past July, Miyamoto now serves 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," thanks to Miyamoto's efforts.
As for existing merchandise, Kimishima mentions the success of amiibo, Nintendo's popular line of software-connected figures. While amiibo are known for selling out as quickly as they go on sale, the president sees room for improvement.
"A challenge that we're facing right now is, our earliest goal for the [amiibo] was to have these connected to software and have them enhance the play experience for the consumer," Kimishima said. "What we're seeing instead is that the [amiibo] are being picked up more as a collection item at this point, rather than, say, as an interactive item with software."
In the future, he told Time, the company intends to strengthen the relationship between the figures and the software that they are meant to support.
Along with Kimishima's comments to Time, a Nintendo Direct held last month showed that the company continues to trudge forward into the next year, despite suffering a major loss with Iwata's passing.