Nintendo: “We Haven’t Been Targeting Children Enough;” Thinking on How to Make the Company Stand up Again

on January 29, 2014 3:33 PM

During a conference held in Osaka this morning Nintendo’s President Satoru Iwata mentioned that he’s “thinking on how to make the company stand up again” as reported by the Asahi Shinbun.

Iwata-san also mentioned that one of the problems of the current generation is that the company wasn’t successful enough in attracting the youngest areas of its target customer base:

We haven’t been targeting children enough.

Nintendo is expected to give more information on its strategy to increase the efficiency of the business on the medium and long term in a corporate management policy briefing to be held tomorrow.

While some are sure to take this as a will to shift away from the core market, that’s very unlikely. Iwata-san is most probably recognizing the fact that, compared to the previous generation, Nintendo has been losing ground with the youngest segments of the customer base in favor of smartphones and similar easily accessible devices, and needs to refocus its marketing specific to children to be more effective and impactful. In marketing terms, targeting a segment more or more effectively doesn’t necessarily mean targeting other segments (in this case core gamers) less.

An alternative translation with the same meaning but different paraphrase reads “Our approach to targeting children has been inadequate” (thanks Shouta from NeoGAF). The meaning was also confirmed by Zefah, that posted the following: Had it right in the meaning that “We did not do enough to attract children” and not “our strategy of appealing to children was not enough.”

Update: the two paragraphs above have been edited to put Iwata-san’s quote in a clearer context.

For the sake of clarity, some mistranslated the quote as “Targeting children isn’t enough,” trying to interpret the sentence with the opposite meaning, but that is incorrect. The mystery is easily solved by reading what Japanese gamers think of Iwata’s stance. Here’s an excerpt of the comments from a popular Japanese gaming website that ran the story as well. Translation is courtesy of Zefah from NeoGaf.

 /  Executive News Editor
Hailing from sunny (not as much as people think) Italy and long standing gamer since the age of Mattel Intellivision and Sinclair ZX Spectrum. Definitely a multi-platform gamer, he still holds the old dear PC nearest to his heart, while not disregarding any console on the market. RPGs (of any nationality) and MMORPGs are his daily bread, but he enjoys almost every other genre, prominently racing simulators, action and sandbox games. He is also one of the few surviving fans of the flight simulator genre on Earth.