5 min read

Trinest Talks: Nintendo Health and Beyond

The revolution of Nintendo Health been the amazing new strategy for Nintendo, as part of their quality of life third pillar came as a shock for many on the internet. Many expected Nintendo to into megaton mode, announcing new games for the core and ditching the Wii U gamepad which for many is a hassle rather than an innovation. While I didn’t understand it at first, and still don’t because of the little information revealed, the QOL third pillar seems like it is something to be excited about, rather than something which could be pushed under the rug and bring Nintendo down, causing them to become Third Party or whatever other crazy internet conspiracy is the current one.

Firstly let me say, despite the effort I put into getting fit, I am amazed by fit technology, both of the body and the mind. While I don’t partake in the Wii Fit by Nintendo, I have a collection of Fitbit accessories, both the Flex and the Aria. I also participate in the occasional brain training on Lumosity. Also Withings Aura looks like an amazing device to track Sleep progress which no doubt if I never can afford it would be something I randomly spurge on. Basically this sort of self-help health type of a product is something which people curiously dive themselves in, for me for statistics. I don’t care about getting fit, I just love looking at all the numbers. In fact I want a Fitbit which can do more, just so I can see more stats for more things without putting in any information. Ah. But that is beside the point, Nintendo isn’t interested much in this direction but is it something which they are skirting the edge of due to their fingers already been in the pie.

The past generation for Nintendo saw games which many saw as a casual infection, but what was really the beginning of their new strategy and the natural evolution. Wii Fit, Brain Training, Wii Music and even Cooking Guide, all titles designed at improving the quality of their consumers’ life.  The shareholders event today, pushed these types of games into different QOL categories, Health Education and Lifestyle. With the first prime focus in this new third pillar been Health.

What to expect from this new direction, with the Health category having a big hitter of Wii Fit releasing, three titles in the series alone gives us an idea on what to expect as it hits this platform agnostic quality of life pillar. Nintendo hasn’t made it clear if in the future hardware such as wearable technology could be something they could be considering, for example something in vain of a Fitbit. However we could see a rerelease of the balance board which is directed at Health based games and applications on mobiles, computers and existing Nintendo devices. We could also see the return of the Vitality Sensor in some shape or form. Nintendo isn’t focusing on wearable technology, but is leap frogging to non-wearable hardware, in their new blue ocean. It sounds to me that these two pieces of hardware fit that description and can be considered part of the QOL platform.

In terms of games, this side step into QOL could have games which instead of been traditional fitness games like Wii Fit, could be games which are designed to get you moving maybe in a way Kinect works for some titles but others a more traditional gaming experience. However this is just pure speculation that this could be something Nintendo would start developing inside the QOL direction, and it does seem like Nintendo wants to funnel through ideas in the QOL platform then to the gaming side of things then back through to the QOL platform. A cycle which could see us with interesting hardware once more, maybe something as shattering as the Wii Remote in the future. As these themes are transferred into the gaming hardware side.

These platform agnostic QOL games and applications would then gain interest into the main experience on a Nintendo platform, as well as in general increasing the market share for Nintendo. But what of the Wii U?

Because the more casual life enhancing games will be platform agnostic, the current theory is that Nintendo will use its time to focus on the core gamer that they have since forgotten. At least that is the ramped internet speculation since the announcement. However it is possible that Nintendo will bring more focused experiences to the Wii U. The relaxation on how they allow their IPs to be used might create more experiences where we see things like Hyrule Warriors. We might even see cases where something like Ice Climbers is remixed by a third party, only for Nintendo to release a new entry in the series.

Nintendo could also quite possibly older IPs or new IPs into movies and other entertainment fields. Especially with their direction what seems to be making health entertainment.

Speaking of older games, Nintendo has also decided to start a DS Virtual Console on the Wii U platform. I have mixed feelings about this, as I would have preferred an attachment like the Gameboy Player, just because my DS collection is quite huge. I could be playing many of the titles I own right now on my big screen if such an attachment existed, instead of waiting years for just one or two of the titles I own to be released. It will be interesting to see if Nintendo starts pushing out more titles per week on the VC system, however previously they had the impression that flooding the eShop with VC games would weaken the IP.

In terms of hardware, what has been revealed over the past few days seems to be my crazy idea that the 3DS has two screens and that the Wii U has two screens why not make them one console doesn’t seem that crazy. However Nintendo seems to be more interested in making them brothers, which in my opinion means that the 3DS and Wii U successor would have the same hardware within them allowing with the Nintendo ID to flow games between the two consoles. Though I would much rather cuddle the two consoles together to create a handheld which could stream to the TV when you need a console and be a portable device when you want to go on the lamb.

It will be interesting to see if much new hardware gets made on the Quality of Life side of the Nintendo business as well. Either add on hardware like the balance board which could work platform agnostic or hardware created to move the Quality of Life pillar to its own hardware after gaining enough interest on the iPad or something. It would also be interesting to see if Nintendo sticks to consumer health based products (be it games, apps, hardware whatever) or starts its own medical equipment section. Sony has developed in recent year’s professional grade medical equipment in their own subsidiary. For example 4K resolution surgical endoscopes. It seems like Nintendo doesn’t want to go that far into the industry and stick more with consumer based ideas, as well as limiting hardware creation as to limit further losses. However with the medical field been a large and ever growing industry, Nintendo could consider it in the future, and quite possible for example even though they don’t want to do wearable technology for example, they could certainly be doing R&D on ideas which fit their new direction.

However I most likely have gotten this all wrong, in my haste to write an opinion piece and the fact it is later then 11pm. However I would like to hear your take on the changes to Nintendo in the comment section below. Or angrily tweet me if I got it all wrong. Your choice.