Some of the most iconic gaming consoles of all time have come from Nintendo, such as the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), the Nintendo 64 and the Wii.
However, there may come a point when the company decides to stop producing new consoles altogether.
In a recent interview with Nikkei (as translated by Nintendo Everything), Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa said the company is open to moving away from console development, depending on where the tech industry as a whole moves.
“We aren’t really fixated on our consoles,” Furukawa told Nikkei. “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. We’ll continue to think flexibly about how to deliver that experience as time goes on.”
Furukawa then mentioned that Nintendo hasn’t always been in the console business, alluding to the fact that Nintendo was founded in 1889 as a playing card company. Nintendo would continue to produce playing cards and dabble in other areas of business before experiencing its first worldwide gaming console success in the 80s with the NES.
“It has been over 30 years since we started developing consoles. 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.”
When asked about how Nintendo will respond to “fluctuations” in the industry, Furukawa said he’s “thinking about little ways we can reduce that kind of instability.” He said he wants to increase Nintendo’s mobile game development to secure “a continuous stream of revenue.” In 2018, Nintendo’s lineup of mobile games generated almost $350 million in revenue.
Beyond continued support for mobile titles like Fire Emblem Heroes and Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, Nintendo is also set to launch the “free-to-start” Mario Kart Tour racing game on smartphones by March this year, although the company has not yet revealed any gameplay footage of the title.
“We’re also dabbling in theme parks and movies – different ways to have our characters be a part of everyday life. I’m anticipating a strong synergy like that,” Furukawa added.
Furukawa is referring to plans to bring Nintendo-themed attractions to Universal Studios theme parks. The attractions are slated to open at Universal Studios Japan sometime in 2020 before expanding to Universal’s theme parks in Hollywood and Orlando. Meanwhile, Nintendo is working with Illumination (the studio behind the Despicable Me franchise) on an animated film based on Super Mario Bros.
In the meantime, though, Nintendo’s console ventures continue to be successful. The company has already sold at least 23 million units of its Switch console, making it the fastest-selling console of this generation in America.