Nintendo's New Business? Your Health.

Illustration for article titled Nintendo's New Business? Your Health.

In a recent interview, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata outlined the company's three main pillars: game hardware, game software, and health care.


Nintendo has made exercising and video games work before, but here, Nintendo is spinning health care off into a specialized business. This shouldn't come as a complete surprise, because it's not. Last year, Nintendo announced it was working on a new health platform and introduced a sleep sensor.

"It's not necessary to be particular about game hardware," Iwata told Asahi News. It seems Iwata means that, as evident with the sleep sensor, Nintendo's health care business doesn't need to be tied to its video game consoles.

Above, you can see an image from the Asahi article, translated into English.

The move into health care is a logical evolution. Nintendo isn't alone in doing this. Apple, for example, is also getting into the health care industry. As the Asahi News explains, Nintendo has changed business models several times over the years, going from playing cards to toys to video games. During that time, the company has released an array of unexpected products, such as rice cookers and baby strollers. But it was in video games where the company really made its name—and fortune.

For its sleep sensor, Nintendo is considering making a service that analyzes the data and gives ways for exercising and eating right. "Leveraging our video game know-how, we'll make it so even those who have trouble following through can stick with this program and have fun," Iwata told Asahi.


Nintendo believes health care is a way it can reclaim customers (perhaps, those customers who bought a Wii to work out, but didn't follow-up with the Wii U). The company is also thinking of ways to get into the education field. So, Brain Age, but brainier?

Online in Japan, many internet commenters are saying this is a sign Nintendo is moving away from the game industry. I don't see it that way. If anything, this will concentrate the casual, health care gaming of the last console generation into its own specialized space, leaving the consoles as dedicated game machines. Hopefully.


Though, I'm sure Nintendo will figure out more ways to cross what it learns about health care with video games.

To contact the author of this post, write to or find him on Twitter @Brian_Ashcraft.


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Please tell me this is some kind of parody. . . Those gears lock into one another and cannot move. That is how gears work. . . An entire company of engineers should know that. I just. . . you can't make this up, it parodies itself.