Nintendo of Japan has finally had their company-wide investor meeting (notes are here). This meeting signifies to their investors the direction the company wants to take in the future. The main focus of the meeting, besides talking about general sales statistics, was the proliferation of the Amiibos and how they’re impacting each market Nintendo services. Nintendo of Japan has released company wide figures on the sales of the Amibo and the doctrine it wants to enact on the portable figures with their sales.
Nintendo started their meeting about how they couldn’t balance revenue and expenses in a nine-month period. Nintendo then referenced the fact that the past three months up to March 2015 have been profitable, balancing the previous nine months of losses. Nintendo shifted from talking about the past year through a macro lens and started to focus on the micro level. Nintendo referenced the sell-through rates of the Nintendo 3ds from April to December 2014 (when people buy software with the hardware vs buying only one component).
Nintendo referenced the hard times they faced with selling software in Japan from April-September 2014. The video game series they referenced in the meeting for pushing the Nintendo 3ds sell-through rates was “Yo-Kai” (monster in Japanese) for the period of Oct-Dec 2014, a game made by Level 5 that combines supernatural themes with monster battles.
In the game you can summon up to six monsters to fight with you and can even make them evolve. This is Level 5’s tribute to Pokemon and if it was able to be a top seller in Japan. I wouldn’t be surprised if this makes waves in America as well.
The conference shifted to Nintendo patting their back for having five game series that hit the multi-million sales mark. The games that hit the list are Super Smash Brothers 3ds (6.19 million), Pokemon Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire (9.35 million units), Tomodachi Life (3.96 million), Yo-Kai 2 (figures not given) and Monster Hunter 4 (figures not given). Two of those game series are relatively new games that show the impact of new IP’s.
The new IP’s were coupled with an announcement of the various other new games coming out for the Nintendo 3ds. Games like Xenoblade, Lego, Majora’s Mask and other well known series were paraded around for the Nintendo 3ds as new first-party titles. Nintendo moved from talking about first-party titles and mentioned third-party titles like Bravely Second, Popolacrois, and a couple others. This part of the presentation was to assure investors that Nintendo has managed to get third party developers on their console, one of the weak points Nintendo has faced many years ago on other platforms.
While Nintendo’s 3ds presentation had an optimistic upbeat vibe, the Wii-U was more balanced and refined without all the optimism. The presentation spent 20% of the whole length on the Wii-U. Nintendo mentioned the sales figure for Mario Kart 8 (4.77 million) and Super Smash Brothers Wii-U (3.39 million). Nintendo mentioned that the sell-through rate generally did well when they had AAA titles to sell. When they don’t have these AAA titles to bolster the Wii-U, the console generally doesn’t sell well. This makes the sales of the Wii-U look like a roller coaster and this is not a fact that Nintendo is proud of.
After the lackadaisical talk about the Wii-U and it’s future, Nintendo boasted that they make games that are well-received by the gaming public. They cite meta-critic scores to highlight their reasoning and it’s pretty solid. This part of the presentation got Kotaku mad—they actually published a rebuttal to it. This was useless since Nintendo really doesn’t care about game journalists. Their main concern is consumer reaction and not the reaction of a neon haired man-child who writes for minimum wage on a clickbait gaming website like Kotaku or Polygon.
The crown jewel of the Nintendo meeting was the Amiibo section. Nintendo was prideful on the fact that they made a whole new revenue stream. The sales figures for Amiibo’s were particularly high at 5.7 million units shipped worldwide. At an average price of 12.99 USD and the big assumption that they’ve sold all of them, this amounts to almost ~74 million dollars grossed which is not all profit but shows the growth potential in only 3 months since their release. Nintendo announced their doctrine for the release of the Amiibos: they want to do seasonal shifts to promote titles. This means they will make a new set of figurines for different games. The next big game they want to do it for is Mario Party 8 on the Wii-U.
In a surprising twist to the Amiibo section of the meeting, Nintendo also wants to start releasing Amiibo cards with an NFC chip inside of it. This, coupled with making the Amiibo hold a small amount of game data, would allow people to play a section of a game through it. This would mean that when you buy a hypothetical “Tanooki Mario Retro Amiibo,” you would swipe the card/figurine on the Wii-U gamepad/Nintendo 3ds and you would be transferred to a playable level of Mario 3.
The last part of the Amiibo section was getting a NFC reader adapter for the old Nintendo 3ds. Opening the market of Amiibos to all current Nintendo gaming devices, Nintendo is putting most of their eggs in the Amiibo product line.
The conference moved to digital sales figures for 2014. They were doing well but it was a small part of their presentation. Nintendo’s policy has shifted from being home console centric to a mobile platform, so the 3ds took up most of the conference and the Amiibo section was the most proud part of the conference.
If Nintendo was this open at a conference for their investors, I can see the next E3 being one where they really show off their arsenal. Nintendo has managed to dig themselves off of the post Wii-U hump, through it’s mostly in the mobile gaming and accessory department.