Why it matters: For the last 30 year, the Nintendo name has been synonymous with video game consoles, but company president Shuntaro Furukawa said it is prepared to abandon the machines—if the market demands it.
“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,” he said. “We’ll continue to think flexibly about how to deliver that experience as time goes on.”
Nintendo has already sold around 23 million Switch units and is expected to sell another 17.3 million throughout 2019, so it’s not as if it’s going to stop making home consoles anytime soon.
“It has been over 30 years since we started developing consoles,” he continued. “Nintendo’s history goes back even farther than that, and through all the struggles that they faced the only thing that they thought about was what to make next. In the long-term, perhaps our focus as a business could shift away from home consoles – flexibility is just as important as ingenuity.”
Nintendo was founded as a playing card company in 1889, and didn’t move into the video game industry until the mid-1970s.
Playing a NES after taking acid
Furukawa has expressed admiration for smartphone games, calling Nintendo’s efforts in the area a “continuous stream of revenue.” He hopes to build operations in this area into a 100 billion yen ($910 million) business.
It’s still almost certain that the Switch won’t be Nintendo’s last home console, especially as it’s believed to be following Microsoft and Sony in creating game streaming devices. But if demand ever does change, the company is fully prepared to change with it.
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