Ever since the Wii introduced the Balance Board and Wii Fit, Nintendo has exhibited somewhat of a fascination with promoting a healthy lifestyle. While the fitness-based games have been part of their stable of franchises since 2007, Nintendo has always positioned them on the periphery of the more predominant gaming experiences available on the Wii and Wii U. From the sounds of things, that’s about to change as company president Satoru Iwata has announced a renewed focus on healthy living and promoting a “quality of life” – which they’ve buzz-termed “QOL”. You know it’s serious when there’s a new buzz-term.
Nintendo is maintaining that their console gaming hardware and software will remain a core principal, but it’s now going to share a space with a new suite of fitness themed offerings. While it’s not confirmed in Iwata’s letter to shareholders, it sounds like Nintendo is going to offer a completely separate, health-themed piece of hardware apart from the usual Wii and DS gaming systems.
“As the business environment around us has shifted with the times,” Iwata explains in his letter, “we have decided to redefine entertainment as something that improves people’s quality of life (“QOL”) in enjoyable ways and expand our business areas. What Nintendo will try to achieve in the next 10 years is a platform business that improves people’s QOL in enjoyable ways.”
“With a platform business that improves people’s QOL in enjoyable ways, we will attempt to establish a new business area apart from our dedicated video game business. We have set “health” as the theme for our first step and we will try to use our strength as an entertainment company to create unique approaches that expand this business.”
Naturally this announcement has left the gate wide open for speculation. It’s also worth noting that Iwata says that “health” is the theme for their “first step” in this new QOL section of Nintendo.