Nintendo Co. partners with Scrum Ventures, based in San Francisco, to find new companies that work on new ways to play or use the game console of the Japanese company, Switch.
The program executed by Scrum, will look for new companies, teams within large companies or university researchers to develop new tools to improve the Nintendo Switch platform, including components, sensors, chips or other complements, said the capital firm risky. Scrum and Nintendo will provide help to external developers to bring products to the market. None of the companies plans to invest directly in the new companies.
The decision is a departure from Nintendo’s usual approach to working with established hardware vendors. If selected, the technology of some of the newcomers can be incorporated into Nintendo products or launched under their brand, among other possibilities. The Kyoto-based company is looking for creative ideas that can lead to new gaming experiences for Switch and help the device maintain a strong sales momentum. Launched just over a year ago, the console has caused a change in the company and has sent shares almost double.
The Switch, which sells for around $ 300, is essentially a tablet that can be connected to a TV or play very active. It comes with two removable controllers that are packed with numerous sensors, including infrared cameras and sophisticated vibration motors. The previous console of Nintendo, the Wii U, was far behind the rival products of Sony Corp. and Microsoft Corp., but the hybrid approach of Switch correctly predicted that players were looking for a new type of device .
Scrum, an early-stage venture capital firm, said it will choose teams to work with before presenting its ideas to Nintendo in the fall. The VC firm said that proposals for software titles will not be considered. Scrum has strong ties with Japan. Last month, a joint venture was unveiled with Panasonic Corp. to identify technologies within the company that could become new businesses.
“We are always exploring ways to evolve entertainment,” said Ko Shiota, a senior Nintendo executive, said in a statement. “As one of our approaches we hope to discover unique technologies that add to the experiences of Nintendo Switch through the program managed by Scrum Ventures.”
When playing external developers, Nintendo’s unusual approach shows that it focuses on experimentation. Investors have rewarded the company for extravagant ideas. Stocks rose earlier this year after Nintendo introduced cardboard accessories that work with the Switch. The cardboard sheets can be folded over the detachable controllers of the system, which have sensors to detect movement, the creation of motorcycle toy cranks, a fishing rod or a miniature piano.
Nintendo shares rose 1 percent on Friday. That brings gains of 9.6 percent since the beginning of the year, surpassing the Nikkei 225 which has fallen 4.4 percent in the same period.
The company in February increased its Hardware Switch sales forecast for the current period to 15 million, above its original estimate of 10 million. Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima said he wants to sell about 37 million units by the end of March 2019 and said Switch’s sales are quite at the same pace as Wii, its best-selling home console in history.