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Nintendo’s New President Has Big Mobile Goals

Shuntaro Furukawa won’t formally take over Nintendo until sometime in June, but he’s already laying out his vision for the company. And mobile games are a big part of it.

The incoming president of the video game giant tells Nikkei he hopes to build the company’s smartphone game operations into a 100 billion yen ($910 million) business—a big shift from the company’s recent past.

Just seven years ago, then-Nintendo president Satoru Iwata lambasted mobile games, saying of mobile game studios, “Quantity is how they profit. The quality of video game software does not matter to them.” The company eventually announced a reverse course and began making mobile titles, but it has, to date, only been a somewhat successful venture for Nintendo. Earlier this week, outgoing president Tatsumi Kimishima said the company hasn’t reached a “satisfactory profit point yet.”

Furukawa plans to change that.

New Nintendo President Shuntaro Furukawa shakes hand with Tatsui Kimishima
Shuntaro Furukawa (left) will replace Tatsumi Kimishima (right) as president of Nintendo.Kyodo News via AP
Kyodo News via AP

“From what I can see, smartphone games are the ones I want to expand the most,” he told Nikkei.

Furukawa also seems to be focused on shaking up the way the company does business, something he alluded to when his appointment was announced. He hopes to expand the sales territory of Nintendo Switch, with a focus on the Middle East and Southeast Asia.

And he hinted that the company has been slowed by its internal approval structure, saying he will set up a decision-making panel of five directors (including himself) to sign off on specific, but unspecified, products.

“Other people are gifted at evaluating products,” he said. “Making the final call on whether or not something makes sense is my responsibility.”