The board of directors for Nintendo (NTDOY.PK) voted to re-elect president Satoru Iwata today at the company’s 74th Annual General Meeting of Shareholders in Kyoto, Japan. Eight other top executive were also approved to retain their positions at the head of the company. These elections, which follow three consecutive years of financial losses for the company, can be seen as a vote of confidence in Nintendo’s future.
Iwata was not in attendance at the shareholders meeting, because he was recovering from a recent surgery. In a statement to shareholders, Iwata wrote, “As the president of the company, I regret that I cannot attend the meeting. However, I understand that I have to prioritize my medical treatment and to recover as soon as possible so that I will again be able to do my best to help the company to grow.”
Growth does seem to be on the horizon for the troubled company. Nintendo’s latest major title, Mario Kart 8 for Wii U, which came out at the end of May, has seen especially strong sales, with a reported 2 million copies sold in less than a month. With only about 6.4 million Wii U consoles in customers’ hands, that’s a massive chunk of the potential market. Also thanks to Mario Kart 8, Wii U sales have been picking up the pace recently, as Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime told Polygon in an interview.
Nintendo’s longer-term plans to regain solid footing in the video game industry were revealed at the Electronic Entertainment Expo earlier this month. The company announced a number of upcoming games for the Wii U and 3DS handheld gaming device, including new installments in well-loved series like Zelda, Star Fox, Kirby, and Yoshi. It also announced several new stand-alone titles, like Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, as well as brand new IPs like Splatoon and Code Name S.T.E.A.M. Nintendo also revealed new details for previously announced titles like Super Smash Bros. and Hyrule Warriors. In short, Nintendo has a lot of games planned for the next couple of years.
The problem is that not many of them are set to launch anytime soon. Nintendo only has one other major game coming out this year, Super Smash Bros., which is expected to hit shelves for 3DS in October and for Wii U this holiday season. While Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker and a pair of Pokemon remakes are scheduled to launch later this year, most of the other games the company announced at E3 are slated for 2015 releases or beyond.
It’s enough to make shareholders wonder if Mario Kart 8 and Super Smash Bros. will sell enough units and spur console sales enough to put the company back in the black during next year’s financial call. In any case, once highly anticipated games like Zelda and Star Fox start coming out in 2015, you can bet Nintendo’s Wii U sales will pick up steam. Currently, the Nintendo 3DS is faring better than the Wii U, with around 43 million units sold, although sales have slowed in recent months as Nintendo has shifted its focus to making games for the Wii U.
It’s the shareholders who matter though, and with the re-election of Nintendo’s top brass, they’ve had their say. They feel confident that Nintendo is on the right track, and financial success is heading their way.