Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa suggests the future of Nintendo may not revolve around a console.
“We aren’t really fixated on our consoles,” said Furukawa in an interview with Nikkei. “At the moment we’re offering the uniquely developed Nintendo Switch and its software – and that’s what we’re basing how we deliver the ‘Nintendo experience’ on. That being said, technology changes. We’ll continue to think flexibly about how to deliver that experience as time goes on.”
More importantly, Furukawa noted that Nintendo has spent most of its history thinking about “what to make next.” He says that “in the long-term” Nintendo’s “focus as a business could shift away from home consoles” as they instead look to remain flexible in the future.
Here’s the part of the interview you’re already probably anticipating but certainly won’t like. Furukawa said that he anticipates that Nintendo’s ability to adjust to industry fluctuations will include increasing the company’s focus on the smartphone game market in order to generate “a continuous stream of revenue.” He also mentioned exploring more opportunities involving movies, theme parks, and other ways to “have our characters be a part of everyday life.”
There are a few things to keep in mind when digesting this information. First off, from the moment he became Nintendo president last year, Furukawa has stated that he wants Nintendo to be more flexible and adjust to changes in the industry. He’s also previously said that he wants to do more with mobile games. The new piece of information here is the implication that Nintendo might move away from home consoles. Whether or not that means they would stop making them entirely or devote fewer resources to them remains to be seen.
Furukawa also admits that he’s not a developer and that he leaves it up to the developers to make great games on whichever platform they happen to appear on. That’s nice, but as we previously explored in our breakdown of the Nintendo GameCube and how it changed the philosophy and fortunes of the company, Nintendo has succeeded more over the last 20 years or so by bucking industry trends rather than following them. We’ll see whether or not they really are able to successfully adapt to trends in the modern era.