Nintendo launching new platform for improving 'quality of life'

Though the 3DS is still doing swimmingly, the Wii U's struggles have Nintendo thinking about its future, and what part gaming will play in that. The company today announced plans for a new business branch focused on, in its own words, "improving people's quality of life in enjoyable ways," built on new hardware. Starting with health, down the trail blazed by Wii Fit, the QoL platform will head away from traditional games.

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Though the 3DS is still doing swimmingly, the Wii U's struggles have Nintendo thinking about its future, and what part gaming will play in that. The company today announced plans for a new business branch focused on, in its own words, "improving people's quality of life in enjoyable ways," built on new hardware. Starting with health, down the trail blazed by Wii Fit, the QoL platform will head away from traditional games.

"We wish to achieve an integrated hardware-software platform business that, instead of providing mobile or wearable features, will be characterized by a new area of what we like to call 'non-wearable' technology," company president Saturo Iwata said in today's financial results briefing.

Quite what form this will take is a mystery. "Including the hardware that will enable such an idea, we will aim to establish a blue ocean," Iwata said, so some form of new tech is coming.

While it'll start with ways to improve people's health, the "quality of life" ocean will reach further in time, touching shores like "learning" and "lifestyle." It's already taken tentative steps into these with Brain Age, Art Academy, its cooking games, and language software. Iwata notes that Nintendo's also looking at themes it hasn't yet incorporated into games.

Part of me can't help but imagine a terrifying cyberpunk dystopia where everything we learn and do is taught, monitored, rated, and encouraged by Nintendo.

Intriguingly, Iwata believes this QoL platform could feed back into Nintendo's gaming business, as exploring playfulness in new areas may teach lessons to video games. And, likewise, its gaming experience will help it keep users "engaged and entertained." The two will feed each other.

The new business is slated to launch between April 2015 and March 2016. Iwata says he'll reveal more, including specific features and quite what he means by "non-wearable," over this year.

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  • reply
    January 30, 2014 7:15 AM

    Alice O'Connor posted a new article, Nintendo launching new platform for improving 'quality of life'.

    Though the 3DS is still doing swimmingly, the Wii U's struggles have Nintendo thinking about its future, and what part gaming will play in that. The company today announced plans for a new business branch focused on, in its own words, "improving people's quality of life in enjoyable ways," built on new hardware. Starting with health, down the trail blazed by Wii Fit, the QoL platform will head away from traditional games.

    • reply
      January 30, 2014 7:21 AM

      I want to live in Nintendo's horrifyingly healthy dystopia.

    • reply
      January 30, 2014 7:55 AM

      Hand sanitizer-- brought to you by Nintendo. wtf.

    • reply
      January 30, 2014 8:07 AM

      That sounds like a great idea to me. If they can split their casual / Wii Fit / happy family / self help kind of stuff into that branch of hardware/software, that leaves their gaming console division to focus on GAMES.

      I would love to see Nintendo go back to the Super Nintendo days and release a bleeding edge kick ass gaming system which doesn't mess around. Give it a year or so and then release a 'we aint screwin' around anymore' Nintendo console which makes both Sony and MS say "OH SHIT!"

      • Zek legacy 10 years
        reply
        January 30, 2014 9:39 AM

        Do you think they can really do that better than Sony and MS at this point? It's clear that they don't "get" the internet or third party devs, both of which are pretty critical for a modern gaming console.

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          January 30, 2014 10:35 AM

          Exactly it's silly think that Nintendo has the ability to re-enter that market. They would be betting the whole company on it, and the market for high end-consoles is basically saturated. PS4 for most enthusiasts, Xbox for American enthusiasts who don't want to leave Live, and Steam Machines for people willing to spend over $500.

          And by the time next -gen rolls around, consoles may largely be a thing of the past. They're already modified living room PC's, they'll become even more PC-like in the future.

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          January 30, 2014 11:04 AM

          I was speaking from a purely selfish perspective, not considering what might be best for Nintendo. A part of me would just like to see a really high end Nintendo console and see Nintendo being super aggressive and hungry like they were back in those days. Back in those days Nintendo was fighting toe to toe with Sega... for the most part, Nintendo had the more powerful hardware (or at least in turns of image quality and sound) and they were coming out with great stuff all the time. Ever since the Wii came out... it feels like Nintendo had kind of grown old and washed out. They lost their edge. They still have amazing talent there though and tons of money. I think they are only lacking in Internet features and cutting age games because they haven't focused energy on that. They could probably do anything they set their minds on.

          I would love to see some young hot shit brilliant Japanese business man take over Nintendo and whip them into shape. I want to be excited about a Nintendo home console again. But, as it's been said before, maybe those days are just done.

          Either way, I hope they find their nitch. The 3DS is still awesome right now which is one thing. In a lot of ways I think the Wii was very bad for them. That console was successful in a freakish kind of way it almost didn't deserve. They caught this strange 'casual' wave of interest because of the controls and it just took off. But I really think that was a strange fluke, but they seemed to take that as a sign. I think they clearly tried for that same thing again with the Wii U, but it's just not going to happen. That false confidence set them back. They really need to re-think their whole situation. I feel they need to do something totally different... or just get out of consoles and focus on hand helds or something.

    • reply
      January 30, 2014 8:22 AM

      Nintendo... you crazy man.

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