It got a generation of gamers off their arses with the Wii and its Wii Fit board accessory, but Nintendo's future-gazing "Quality of Life" plans may have wheezed to a halt.
Following the death of Nintendo CEO and president Satoru Iwata last month, a number of insider industry analysts have all come out stating that the QOL push (a partnership between Nintendo and ResMed) has now likely been canned.
“I think it’s been pushed to the back burner,” IDC research director for gaming Lewis Ward said.
“It’s supposed to be released in the US by the end of March , 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.”
Though controversially outspoken (and not always right in his projections), analyst Michael Pachter shares a similarly bleak outlook for Nintendo's health plans.
“I think it’s probably dead – just like the Wii Vitality Sensor was before and they didn’t tell anybody," he said.
“They have been completely invisible as a company since [Iwata] got sick. 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].”
It seems then that the Quality of Life programme may have been a pet project of Iwata's and, presumably, one that lacks backing since his passing.
“What Nintendo will try to achieve in the next 10 years is a platform business that improves people’s Quality Of Life in enjoyable ways," said the late Nintendo CEO when announcing the plans back in January last year.
“The theme of ‘health’. It has been a long time since people started to say that the console era has now shifted to a new mobile era, with wearable technology in the spotlight at CES this month. Yet again, it is our intention to go into a new blue ocean. With that said, we wish to achieve an integrated hardware-software platform business that, instead of providing mobile or wearable features, will be characterized by a new area of what we like to call non-wearable technology.”
With the Nintendo NX waiting in the wings and a push into mobile gaming on the way, a dedicated health device (when smartphones and wearables already do such a great job of fitness tracking) probably doesn't make all that much sense. Still, Nintendo could always mash the new plans together – a "5K Goomba Run" app, anyone? [Fortune]