Miyamoto talks the future of Zelda and the entertainment industry
Jonathan told you how Nintendo’s 74th annual general meeting of shareholders came across like a bad comments section. Now, here’s that meeting in-depth as translated by Nintendo itself.
Notably, CEO Satoru Iwata was absent due to his health (please understand), but Shigeru Miyamoto and Genyo Takeda were present to field most of the questions. Some of them were pretty out there, like the one from a shareholder who proclaimed he was angry because he didn’t understand gaming and god forbid Nintendo talk about gaming at its meetings. Good stuff.
If you’d rather have the short (but not too short) version, I’ve summarized some of the best bits.
- Nintendo’s communication experimentation at E3 2014 was a success. Miyamoto: “The ‘Nintendo Digital Event,’ which we broadcast on the morning of the first day of E3, was viewed 4 to 5 million times, and the total views of our E3-related videos numbered in the tens of millions. This means that our messages reached a large number of people all over the world through the Internet, not only the people who attended E3 events.”
- Someone asked if Nintendo could give shareholders free games as a perk. Kimishima: “We have been studying the best method of shareholder returns and our current policy is to pay out dividends.”
- Miyamoto on Zelda Wii U: “We are trying to gradually break down such mechanism and develop a game style in which you can enjoy ‘The Legend of Zelda‘ freely in a vast world, whenever you find the time to do so.”
- Miyamoto on the next handheld Zelda: “…we have ideas for Nintendo 3DS which we have not announced yet, so I hope you will look forward to them.”
- Someone suggested a handheld device whose screen could be “manually extended to become twice the size both horizontally and vertically.” Then, they proceeded to ramble about casino games (???).
- Takeda on the next leaders: “We want to pass on to our younger developers the DNA of offering unexpected and fun entertainment to consumers by doing things in different ways from others so the company can continuously produce unprecedented entertainment.”
- Some guy literally said this: “I do not understand video games and I even feel angry because, at Nintendo’s shareholders’ meetings, the shareholders always discuss things relating to video games or such childish topics as ‘what the future of video games should be,’ while I, for one, was flabbergasted that Mr. Iwata continues to hold his position although he had said that he would resign if the company’s performance were bad.
“I hope that Nintendo’s shareholders’ meeting will become an opportunity where the shareholders discuss the company’s business operations from the viewpoints of capital gain and dividends.”
- Miyamoto on the future of the entertainment business: “It is true that I have a sense of fear in that ‘hand-me-down smartphones,’ as pointed out by another shareholder, are becoming hardware systems on which to play games due to their prices being lower than that of our most inexpensive video game system in our history.
“However, I do not believe that will completely control the future of video games. Of course, it is important to gain profit in effective ways, but Nintendo always has to take seriously, for example, network security for children. Taking into consideration that more and more children have a good command of these kinds of media, which help these media to spread, the most important task for Nintendo is how to provide new styles of entertainment by using these technologies, and how to make these new kinds of entertainment yield significant sales and profits.
“It goes without saying that Nintendo has been trying to improve its profitability at the same time. For example, at E3 this year, we were able to obtain more page views on our website while considerably reducing our E3-related costs.”
- A fan of Iwata Asks wondered why there haven’t been more of those articles. Miyamoto: “Nintendo should try to attract a more broad audience through a wider range of methods.”
- Someone commented that Iwata might be ill because “he is trying to take on all of the things related to the company’s current situation by himself…” Miyamoto: “Just for your information, I too have been feeling a great deal of anxiety. Mr. Iwata is a president whom I can rely on very much, and I would like to continue this journey with him.”
- Miyamoto on the future of entertainment, part two: “I believe it is important for us to learn from our predecessors in the movie and other media industries. This is something I mentioned earlier today (during my remarks on E3,) but to some, it might have seemed as though there wasn’t a wide variety of software at E3, and as though many people followed the same direction to make their video games. I believe this is a revelation of creative immaturity on our part as creators in the video game industry.
“The late Mr. Hiroshi Yamauchi, the former president of Nintendo, often used to say that in the entertainment business, only one can become strong and all of the others will become weak. With this remark, he was not referring to the arrogance of the winner. He mentioned this to describe the nature of the entertainment business, which tends to create just one winner because in the entertainment business everyone buys your offering if you create something unprecedented, and consumers do not think it is necessary to purchase products from others in the industry.
“To survive in the entertainment industry, it is often the case that everyone tries to follow suit with the strong one. My comment may be at risk of being misinterpreted, but in the digital content field, I think that our creativity is still immature. In the world of comic books and movies, there are people who are challenging themselves to be even more creative than before in creating their content.
“I believe that we (those who are creating digital content called video games) are still in a transitional period and will eventually step up into the phases where we expand and enrich the substance of our creativity. If we can manage Nintendo without losing sight of this challenge, I believe we might be able to create new entertainment that dominates the industry.
“Also, some may think it is fair to compete with others on the same hardware platform, but it is always challenging to become the one strong existence among so many companies, and to Nintendo, it is more advantageous to create and propose to consumers a brand new framework that includes hardware as part of the structure. We would like to continuously develop something unique by not abandoning this strength of our company. I ask for your continued support.”