Can a Nintendo Health Division Cure the Sickly Wii U?

By Gerald Lynch on at

Nintendo's got a new ten year plan, and while the company's struggling Wii U console business is still the priority, it has announced that health and fitness tech is increasingly going to be a focus point. Mario's going on a diet.

In an open letter posted yesterday, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata said that Nintendo will be looking to improve its customers health "in enjoyable ways" over the course of the next decade.

"We have set 'health' as the theme for our first step and we will try to use our strength as an entertainment company to create unique approaches that expand this business," Iwata said.

Describing a "hardware-software integrated platform", Iwata distanced Nintendo from the prospect of producing wearable fitness tech, instead claiming it will "leapfrog" the competition with "non-wearables to monitor your health".

It's an area that's proved fruitful for Nintendo in the past; the original Wii Fit game sold more than 22.5 million copies, though its Wii U successor has struggled to come anywhere close to this figure. Nintendo certainly has a knack for making fitness tracking enjoyable and accessible, but an over-reliance on the unpopular Wii U hardware in the short term may cause problems with this new direction. Perhaps a Nintendo wearable isn't such a bad idea. [Nintendo]