Nintendo Aims for 100 Billion Yen Profits by Next Year, Iwata Seems to be Putting His Job on the Line

Mr. Iwata shouldered a number of questions from investors about Nintendo’s plan to return to profitability. While they did secure overall profitability in the last fiscal quarter, they’re not at the levels they want to see. Nonetheless, Mr. Iwata has pledged that Nintendo will see at least 100 billion in profits, or a little over $1 billion in U.S. terms, by the end of the next fiscal year (ending March 31, 2014) – and says he’s totally committed to the idea.

He’s apparently super-serious about it – it sounds to me like he’s willing to stake his job as president on it.

Read on to see the quote and let me know what you think.

Q: You are aiming for the operating profit of 100 billion yen in the next fiscal year. Do you have a strategy in place if this fails? Will you take responsibility if you cannot accomplish it?

Iwata: First of all, this may not be a direct answer to your question, but it is my job to focus on how to accomplish this aim, rather than to think about what we should do if our aim cannot be accomplished. I believe my job is to establish as promising a situation as possible to accomplish this aim.

From this perspective, for Nintendo 3DS, it is vital to create similar momentum as we see in Japan in the overseas markets. So, the point is to launch several key titles seamlessly abroad to change the sales momentum of Nintendo 3DS itself, and then to create a cycle where hardware sales soar and its software sells well. As for Wii U, there will not be any key titles at the beginning of the year, so even though it will take some time, starting from this summer when the software lineup is enriched, we will promote our platform and aim to change the sales momentum dramatically.

As for your second question, I used the word “commitment,” so I believe you can understand what I meant by that.

Something about this suggests to me that he’s staking his future with Nintendo on their success in the upcoming fiscal year. Specific goals he’s going to need to hit include improving 3DS sales in the West, releasing Wii U games that become widespread hits, and ensuring a positive future for Wii U sales going forward.

What do you think? Is he hinting that he’ll resign if he fails to meet profitability goals, or not?

Source: Nintendo Third Quarter Financial Results Briefing for the 73rd Fiscal Term Ending March 2013