Shuntaro Furukawa is slated to take the helm of Nintendo as its President and CEO this week. In the run up to this he made some insightful comments to Japanese business newspaper SaneiBiz (via NintendoSoup). He explained that the smartphone games business is "very important" for the company. So much so that he wants it to be a significant profit generator similar to the other two pillars of Nintendo's business, the Nintendo Switch and Nintendo 3DS. In addition to this, he has set a goal for Nintendo's smartphone games business to generate $911 million in net profit, although a timeframe doesn't seem to have been mentioned. For this to happen, Nintendo plans to release two to three new smartphone games each fiscal year.
Considering how its smartphone games division has done in the past, this should come as no surprise. In its annual financial briefing it called out its iOS and Android games such as Super Mario Run and Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, as not having reached a "satisfactory profit point yet." No surprise since the company earlier claimed that Super Mario Run revenue failed to meet expectations. With Mario Kart Tour out at some point this year, it could help stem the tide. That, and its collaboration with Cygames on Dragalia Lost.
"For the smart-device business, we will continue the services for existing applications while also releasing new applications in order to increase Nintendo’s presence in this business. The efforts we have made to date have yielded certain responses to our goal of expanding the number of people who have access to Nintendo IP. Even so, we have not reached a satisfactory profit point yet, so our goal is to further expand the scale of this business to develop it into one of the pillars of revenue," the company said in its earnings report.
Earlier, Nintendo announced that its current president, Tatsumi Kimishima will step down from his role leading the company. In his place is Shuntaro Furukawa. He joined Nintendo in 1994 and has worked in global marketing and at The Pokemon Company. Since 2016, Furukawa has been Nintendo’s Managing Executive Officer, Supervisor of Corporate Analysis and Administration Division and Director. The reason for this change isn't due to Nintendo's results, which have been nothing short of stunning.
According to a report from the Nikkei (via Kotaku), the 68-year-old Kimishima believed that the company's management needed to be younger to understand its customers. By that yardstick, it makes the 46-year-old Furukawa a decent fit for the role. Kimishima took over the role of Nintendo's president after the untimely demise of Satoru Iwata. He will remain at Nintendo in an advisory role.
Previously, Kimishima was in the news for stating that he wanted the Switch’s lifecycle to be longer than the usual five to six years seen in the video game industry. Sources speaking to The Wall Street Journal claim that the Kyoto-based company will hold off on variations in the Nintendo Switch hardware or 'Switch 2.0' as the publication calls it.
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