During Nintendo’s annual investor meeting, Satoru Iwata was faced with many questions. Topics ranged from the mysterious NX, to the E3 2015 presentation, and the merchandising of Nintendo’s IPs. In regards to this latter subject, Iwata asked for understanding when an investor suggested allowing external companies to make Nintendo-related merchandise.
“We have to be wary of whether more Nintendo-licensed products will make a better situation,” Iwata replied. He recognized that an increase of Nintendo products outside of stores like Nintendo World may spur more income from licensing fees, and make a lot of fans happy. But the continuously repeating “process of birth and death” in the character industry makes Nintendo wary, raising concerns about maintaining quality control. Their IPs, such as Super Mario and The Legend of Zelda, have lasted for decades, but not all characters are so lucky.
“Nintendo’s IP strategy is based on a long-term perspective where we continue to enhance our characters, worlds and settings for years,” Iwata added. Instead of increasing the rate and range of products through external outlets, Nintendo is more focused on trying “anything that will enhance the value of our IP.” The long-term detriments that would come out of short-term profits would have a long-lasting, negative impact on thier IPs, Iwata believes.
If you haven’t yet checked out the investor’s meeting Q&A, I highly recommend doing so if you have the time. It offers insights on Nintendo’s future goals and general mindset on topics such as this, and is great reading for any devoted fan of the company.