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Nintendo plots expansion into health improvement 'platform'

So-called 'QOS platform' to introduce 'non-wearable' hardware and software in new business venture

Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has outlined a 10-year plan for Nintendo to expand its business with health improvement-related products.

Touted the 'QOS Platform' (Quality of Life), the exec offered a vague brief of the firm's plan to "take on the challenge of expanding into a new business area" and "extend the definition of entertainment" with a health-focused venture that will be "independent from our video game platform business".

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"What Nintendo will try to achieve in the next 10 years is a platform business that improves people's QOL in enjoyable ways," said Iwata, revealing a plot to launch a health-focused "hardware-software platform business".

The exec was deliberately vague on exactly what this new QOS 'platform' entails, promising a full unveiling later this year, but did share more on the philosophies behind the venture.

"While we will continue to devote our energy to dedicated video game platforms, what I see as our first step into a new business area in our endeavor to improve QOL is ... the theme of 'health'," he explained.

Improving a person's quality of life could include 'learning' and 'lifestyle', but 'health' will be Nintendo's "first step".

Iwata says the firm will "leapfrog" the recent surge of wearable devices by providing 'non-wearable' products related to health.

"Following others into the exceedingly crowded market of mobile applications or the market of wearable technology that is expected to become increasingly competitive and fighting with brute force is not our way of doing business," he commented.

"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," explained Iwata.

Nintendo ventured into health previously with its Wii Fit software for Wii and Wii U, but unlike those offerings, Iwata notes, "we are considering themes that we have not incorporated to games for our existing platforms".

Iwata admitted that many people find it difficult to stay committed to activities related to improving health, but Nintendo can help keep users engaged.

"This is where our strength as an entertainment company to keep our consumers engaged and entertained comes into play, assisted by the non-wearable feature, which is the biggest differentiator of this new business field, as well as user experiences that integrate into people's daily lives, all of which help us overcome this difficulty," said Iwata.

This new non-gaming business venture will also, said Iwata, fall in line with Nintendo's existing strategy of expanding its user base far beyond that of its current core audience.

When later quizzed on what 'non-wearable- devices will entail, Iwata held off going into specifics, hinting only that it's "not necessarily something you will use in the living room".

Expect a full unveiling later this year.

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