Nintendo has been a puzzling company for a number of years. When the Big 3 announced their new consoles, everyone expected the Wii to be the end of Nintendo, and instead it has been the leader. They announced Wii Fit, and people thought a balance board could have little potential, and even today they are nearly impossible to find. They joined the online gaming revolution several years late, yet still managed to make it seem revolutionary. Now, they are bucking the trend two more ways: digital distribution and hospital technology.
Let's start with their new hardware: the Wii Vitality Sensor. Here is a piece of hardware that cost them a lot of money to develop, and I cannot come up with 2 uses for it. At least with the balance board i saw skateboarding and snowboarding. When asked for comment, Nintendo demigod Shigeru Miyamoto said:
Ideally we would have been able to talk about this in terms of the software implementation rather than just the sensor itself. I don't have any indication for you (of what we have in the works) other than to say that we have lots of very creative ideas.
We understand the challenge before us, and we have met these challenges in the past. We just ask that people have confidence in us.
Now, in regards to digital distribution, we all know that it is becoming incredibly popular. Everyone's doing it: music, movies, videogames. Everyone, that is, except Nintendo. They have just enough stuff available digitally to prove they aren't afraid of technology, but it has been very clear they don't care about it. In fact, Miyamoto said as much in an interview.
Entertainment is something that will not just become digital…The thing for us is we really don't see the future of video games being merely confined to digital distribution or moving solely or even to a majority of our products being distributed that way.
So, Nintendo is planning on basing its business off ignoring digital distribution and selling blood pressure monitors. And somehow, I imagine they will make them not only successful, but profitable.