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Nintendo Co to consider new businesses after consumers snub Wii U console

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January 30
7:38 AM 2014

After video game maker Nintendo Co's Wii U console failed to wow consumers, the company has set its sights on checking out new businesses such as entertainment related to healthcare, even as it will continue to make its gaming platform the central focus of its operations, Bloomberg reported.

In a briefing held in Tokyo, Nintendo President Satoru Iwata said that the new health-related endeavor will commence by March 2016. He did not give more details about the business. The world's biggest manufacturer of video game machines will also be looking for partners so that it can grow the licensing of Mario, Zelda and its other popular game characters. They will also seek partners to bolster the use of the characters for non-game products, the report said.

After customers snubbed the Wii U, Iwata was compelled to look for fresh profit drivers as the firm was forced to reduce sales forecasts and predict a yearly net loss. The Wii U is the latest home-gaming machine of the Japan-based firm. However, Iwata said Nintendo will continue to put its focus on hardware and software. Some analysts and investors have urged Nintendo to halt Wii U production, the report said.

Ichiyoshi Asset Management Co Chief Fund Manager Mitsushige Akino told Bloomberg, "I don't think the market will value this business plan. Nintendo has to find a way to win back casual gamers. The licensing business isn't new."

Nintendo became Number 1 in the industry worth $93 billion because of casual gamers. However, they have shifted from playing in standalone machines like Wii U to downloadable games which are cheaper and can be played on their mobile devices like Samsung's Galaxy phone or Apple's iPad. Hardcore players who are still willing to pay $400 for a machine and another $60 for a game like "Call of Duty" are lured by newer and faster consoles made by Sony Corp and Microsoft Corp, the report said.

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