Nintendo Aims for Game Machines' RevivalPokémon GO Now Released23 July 2016 - Business/Company
The smartphone game "Pokémon GO" was released in Japan on July 22. Taking advantage of the game's worldwide boom, Nintendo Co., Ltd., which participated in its development, is aiming to revitalize its main business of game machines. As Pokémon Go is played by visiting scenic spots and places of historical interest, some people in Kyoto's business community hope that it will invigorate consumption and tourism.
"We are grateful that the game is being supported worldwide. We would like to live up to everyone's expectations," commented Nintendo's public relations department on July 22, when release began in Japan.
Last October, Nintendo invested in "Niantic, Inc.," the US game company which led development of the game. Satoru Iwata, former CEO of Nintendo, who passed away last July, was also involved in development from the start and pursued the fun of the game.
Hirokazu Hamamura, representative of Famitsu group, which issues a videogame magazine, and a director, member of the board of KADOKAWA CORPORATION, analyzed the reasons for its boom and said, "It is not only due to the game itself, but also to the strength of the characters that have been gaining recognition through anime and toys."
The game can be played basically for free, though there are small charges for purchasing items and other services. As the copyright is owned by a related company, the game does not directly bring huge profits to Nintendo, which suffers from a continuous decrease in revenue due to sluggish sales of "Wii U," a stationary game console and other reasons. Nintendo purposely announced on the evening of July 22, "The impact on our performance is limited." This indicates its intention to avoid high overestimation by the market due to the series' game's boom.
Despite its previous cautiousness, Nintendo entered the smartphone game market in March. It launched "Miitomo," which allows players to interact with their friends. It plans to release five games by the end of next March to regain lost ground in the smartphone game market, where Nintendo lags behind its rivals. It also plans to sell a new game machine "NX" next March.
Amid growing interest in the Pokémon series and Nintendo's software, can Nintendo connect that to its main business of game machines? Hamamura, from Famitsu, expressed his expectation of it, saying, "The game has shed a bright light on Nintendo's future strategy, by demonstrating the potential that its characters like 'Mario,' 'Zelda' and so on, can also gain worldwide popularity." A person connected with another game said, "Pokémon GO's hit will serve as a spur to the promotion of NX."(translated by Galileo, Inc.)