Wii U Fast Boot, Smartphone Services and Character Licensing Coming to Salvage Nintendo's Future

By Gary Cutlack on at

Besieged Nintendo boss Satoru Iwata, who is currently being told how to run his business by millions of man-children on the internet, has come out with a plan of his own about how to save Wii U and Nintendo's future dreams. It includes a quicker boot option for Wii U, licensing out Nintendo characters and the fabled creation of content for other devices.

The most interesting of Iwata's comprehensive rescue plan is his mention of a Nintendo "service" for tablets and smartphones, which will see a separate development team creating new games and experiences for non-Nintendo hardware. Explaining it in more detail, Iwata said: "Simply releasing our games just as they are on smart devices would not provide the best entertainment for smart devices, so we are not going to take any approach of this nature."

That said, there are no rules as to what the newly unleashed coders can build on alternative formats, with Iwata explaining: "I have not given any restrictions to the development team, even not ruling out the possibility of making games or using our game characters."

But he doesn't want us to draw the obvious conclusions, adding: "...if you report that we will release Mario on smart devices, it would be a completely misleading statement. It is our intention to release some application on smart devices this year that is capable of attracting consumer attention and communicating the value of our entertainment offerings."

Although if Nintendo doesn't put Mario on a mobile perhaps it'll let some other developer handle it, as the Nintendo boss said he's going to allow more of its classic IP to be licensed out, telling reporters: "...we will actively expand our character licensing business, including proactively finding appropriate partners."

Iwata also announced plans to make the Wii U experience a little more direct, with a new fast start-up menu set to arrive as part of a Wii U firmware update this summer. It'll allow users to boot straight into games, removing the 20-second OS loading wait.

Finally, some sort of loyalty discount system for the hardcore, repeat Zelda buyer is being planned, with Iwata suggesting: "...we can offer flexible price points to consumers who meet certain conditions, we can create a situation where these consumers can enjoy our software at cheaper price points when they purchase more."

And if the traditional gaming hardware can't be resuscitated, there's an alternative. Iwata says Nintendo is moving into the healthcare world with a new "hardware-software platform business" that's built around offering a health product that's "independent from our video game platform business." [CVG 1, 2, 3, 4]