Nintendo on cross-platform play, Switch goals, Labo sales, and more
Nintendo’s 78th Annual General Meeting of Shareholders took place yesterday. There wasn’t any major news, but about a dozen of questions were asked. They were fielded by current president Shuntaro Furukawa, former president Tatsumi Kimishima, Shigeru Miyamoto, and Tanaka (who we assume is executive officer Susumu Tanaka).
One of the first questions asked at the meeting was about cross-platform play. Here’s the full transcript for that segment provided by Twitter user NStyles:
Concerning Fortnite – that was recently presented at E3 – the fact that you can not yet play with the account you used on PS4 on the Nintendo Switch version has become a talking point. Recently, one of Minecraft’s selling points has been that cross-play with other platforms is coming to the Switch version. What is Nintendo doing to ensure its relationships with other companies, as well as multiplatform play?
Kimishima: Because they’re other companies’ properties, we try to refrain from commenting too much on things like Fortnite, PlayStation, and Minecraft. Tanaka-san will talk a little bit about cross-platform play.
Tanaka: I’m in charge of keeping in contact with other companies. Basically, collaboration between hardware-makers and software-makers is what makes cross-platform play a reality. Nintendo is doing its best to make that collaboration happen.
Also during the meeting, Kimishima again mentioned wanting to exceed 20 million units of hardware and 100 million units of software for the fiscal year, saying that it’s a challenge and everybody’s focused on making it happen. Everyone is also concentrated on the software lineup for the rest of the year. He touched on the difficulties in comparing the first quarter with the whole fiscal year as well, and that everything is currently going as planned.
With Nintendo Labo, it was viewed as Nintendo trying something entirely new before its release; because it’s so different, Kimishima believes that sales are also going to take a different “route”. He said, “The package is a bit bigger, and the customer base is different.” It’s primarily aimed at kids and is the kind of thing that you’d get them as a gift for occasions like Christmas and summer vacation. However, he also thinks that parents should experience it too.
Up until now, Nintendo’s software has sold with a big “boom” at the beginning and trickles off eventually. But with Labo it’s a bit different – sales are more sustained because people pick it up whenever they can justify buying it, and it might take a bit more time to purchase, etc.
There was also talk about Nintendo’s mobile titles, and how in-app purchases arise on an individual, game-to-game basis. Because a lot of the more zealous Fire Emblem Heroes fans are in their 20s to 30s, they’ve focused more on developing it for that age range so the players can get more deeply invested. For that game in particular they focused on the “gacha” mechanic. More specifically, they’ve focused a bit more on the probability of getting characters.
Kimishima noted the fact that the business is allowed to exist because the customers support it, essentially. To that end Nintendo tries to release software that focuses on ease of use. But at the same time they can’t just use the same kind of in-app purchases for every mobile game they make because sometimes the system just doesn’t translate well. 200 million people downloaded Super Mario Run, and Kimishima used that as an example of not charging too much for the sake of increasing the player base.
Kimishima also spoke about the necessity of timing things right for the end-of-year sales rush. In last year’s rush, Switch sold well due to how unique it is as a piece of hardware. In this second year, they released Nintendo Labo in April, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze in May, and Mario Tennis Aces in June. They’ll continue to put out new software as needed, and he says that we should be on the lookout for new information in the near future.
Finally, in reference to a question about Nintendo charging for Switch’s online in just a few months, Takahashi said we’ll get more information leading up to the September launch. He said something about wanting to make the service convenient, and that we should just wait a little bit longer for more details.
*Note: this report is based on various tweets from an attendee who was at the meeting; it was not from an official Nintendo transcript.