Analysts predict demise of Nintendo's Quality of Life plans

Questions raised in the wake of president Satoru Iwata’s passing
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Several analysts are questioning whether Nintendo will continue with its proposed Quality of Life business without its previous president Satoru Iwata.

Iwata, who sadly passed away last month, was instrumental in driving the platform holder’s health and fitness games, with notable examples including the Wii’s motion controls, Wii Fit and the cancelled Vitality Sensor.

Last year, Iwata announced plans for a new ‘Quality of Life’ business focused on non-wearable technology and a broader range of fitness products. The new business would help Nintendo recover from the struggles of Wii U and, to a lesser extent, 3DS.

But information has been thin on the ground with regards to this new pillar of Nintendo’s business, with the last direct reference being Iwata’s hints at a fatigue and sleep sensor back in October 2014.

Fortune reports that analysts believes the proposals may have actually been shelved.

“I think it’s been pushed to the back burner,” said IDC gaming research director Lewis Ward. “It’s supposed to be released in the U.S. by the end of March [2016], but I haven’t heard anything. 

“[However,] I do think Nintendo has always had an interest in ‘Blue Ocean’ markets and health care and the intersection with their hardware and their software is something they’ve viewed as an opportunity.”

Wedbush Securities’ equity research MD Michael Pachter added: “I think it’s probably dead—just like the Wii Vitality Sensor was before and they didn’t tell anybody.”

Analysts agree that it is more likely that the NX, Nintendo’s mysterious new games platform, and mobile partnership with DeNA will be the company’s priority going forward.

Pachter observes that Nintendo, already known for being fairly secretive about its future plans, have been even more tight-lipped since Iwata’s illness.

“They have been completely invisible as a company since [Iwata] got sick,” he says. 

“The whole point of helping with lifestyle was getting people to buy more Nintendo devices—and I think they’re hurting so badly in devices that they’re trying to [stop] the haemorrhaging there. … I would say they’re probably focused on just getting their mobile initiative working. That’s far more important than [QOL].” 

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