Things not to ask at a Nintendo shareholder meeting
Plus, Nintendo's quiet show of support for quake victims.
You're at Nintendo's annual shareholders meeting. You've just been handed a mic, and Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata is giving you his full attention. What would you say?
Here's one what investor said at yesterday's shareholder meeting: "I'm concerned about the falling stock price. I own stock, but I don't own a single Nintendo product. I believe games are a waste of time. By the way, the reason I own Nintendo stock is because the name is nice, it's in Kyoto and it was listed in the year of my birth."
Iwata somehow managed to come up with a thoughtful answer: "There are people in this world who don't feel that games are a waste of time, so Nintendo continues to exist. We'd like to eliminate the thinking that playing games by yourself is negative, or when there's a crime you immediately tie it into games. We'd like to raise the social importance of games. We're working to expand the gaming population, yourself included."
This same shareholder asked a followup question: "During the Tohoku earthquake disaster, I believe people in the evacuation centers were lacking in exercise. Why didn't you bring Wii Fit to them? Why didn't you show off to the media that you're doing more for the victims?"
Iwata responded that while it is true that some may be able to use Wii Fit to recover from their lack of exercise, others might have lost loved ones and wanted to spend time quietly. So, they felt that it would not be good to send out product indiscriminately.
However, Nintendo did actually did ask the governing bodies of affected areas and sent needed items. They did the same for evacuation shelters. While doing this, they did not feel that they should show their actions off to the world, and had a policy of not involving the media.
Nintendo's policy in this area is actually so firm that Iwata said they wouldn't be including the response to this particular question in the official minutes of the shareholders meeting. The only reason I was able to post it here is because someone else provided a transcript.