Nintendo chief Satoru Iwata image

Nintendo plans new healthcare venture

pharmafile | January 31, 2014 | News story | Medical Communications, Sales and Marketing digital, games, healthcare, nintendo, wii 

Console giant Nintendo has confirmed that it is about to set up a new healthcare business separate from its entertainment realm.

Promising to disclose further details later this year, its president Satoru Iwata said Nintendo planned to enter the healthcare industry using its ‘quality of life’ business model, and that the offering was ‘not a wearable device.’ 

The Metro reported that when probed by investors as to what exactly he was talking about yesterday, Iwata would only add that it’s “not necessarily something you will use in the living room”.

The firm’s foray into other markets will not surprise many, with some expecting such a change of tack following the video game maker’s dismal recent earnings.

The day before the announcement Nintendo reported a 10.2 billion yen ($99 million) profit for April through December, down from ¥14.55 billion a year earlier, as sales from 3DS hand-held devices and recent Wii U home consoles deteriorated.

The Tokyo-based firm has of course ventured into healthcare before within its Wii Fit Plus console offering, whereby users can exercise whilst playing, and even use Nintendo’s interactive games to help diabetics control their disease.  

The gaming market is extremely competitive and the firm will no doubt be trying its hardest to beat Microsoft and Sony at their own game, so Iwata’s plans to embark into new territory was met with intrigue from the healthcare and games industry alike.

The Wall Street Journal noted that Nintendo has experimented with reinvention before, and has even launched businesses related to taxis, instant rice, and strangely ‘love hotels’. 

After admitting the company had failed to convince customers of the merits of the Wii U, Iwata also confirmed recently that he would take a 50% pay cut for the next five months, while other board members would be hit with 20% pay reductions. 

Whilst uncertainty surrounds their healthcare product offering which has been suggested to be a software-based platform, all should become clear in the run up to its release from April next year. 

Brett Wells 

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