Within the Nintendo Headquarters, the new president was just putting the finishing touches to a report. This report detailed the games that were being worked on, and those that were ready for the American branch of the company to localise. Upon finishing it, he attached it to an email and sent it. It was time to move on to the next thing that needed doing.
Half an hour had passed, and the president had contacted numerous teams within the company. The new console was coming on well, but he wanted a few changes made to it. He’d already written up those changes a few days ago and sent them. Now the project leader had requested a meeting. Acknowledging him, and the meeting room to be used, the president stood up and stretched. The walk to the meeting room didn’t take long. Sitting down in the chair designated for the president, the project leader arrived a short while later.
“Sir,” the man said. “I’m sorry to have to call for this meeting, but I’m a bit confused.”
The president indicated the man to a chair before speaking. “What is the problem?”
“It’s the changes you requested, sir. They seem to be exactly the same as what the plans already called for.”
“But-” The president held himself, knowing instant rebuttal was not the answer. “Have you checked both together?”
“I have, sir. The specifications are exactly the same.”
“Do you have a copy of the changes with you?”
The man brought his folder onto the table and removed the necessary paperwork. After a quick scan of the document himself, he handed it over to the president, who then looked down it at a slower pace.
“I’m not sure this is the right document…” the president said after a while.
The project leader gave a small cough before replying. “It is, sir. The addresses on it, and the times, all match up. This is the document you sent to me a few days ago.”
“But I called for more power. A proper controller at the front and centre!” The president again held himself from saying more. “Put the project on hold until I can be sure of this. I will send you the changes again within an hour.”
With the meeting at a close, the president returned to his office. Within a few minutes of being sat down, the telephone rang. Upon answering, he heard Bill Trinen’s voice.
“Good day, sir. We have received the new batch of games you requested us to start localising, but there appears to be a mistake on your part. The document was sent with Mr Iwata’s email.”
The president looked shocked at this, which turned to confusion upon checking his computer and seeing his own email was logged in.
“I sent it with my own,” he answered. “It must simply be a system error.”
Trinen said he just wanted to be sure, and ended the call. The president put the phone down and looked back to his computer screen. He was again shocked to see mention of Iwata again. This time, it was his email being used to send a message to him – the president.
It took him a moment to consider his options. It made no sense that an email would be sent from that account, but it would be of no bother to have a quick look before deleting it and removing the account from the system.
The message was simple, and informal. It simply read “I think you still have much to learn, Mr President. About this company, and its values.”
With a scorn, he deleted the email and moved into the administration of the system. Mr Iwata’s email was no longer in the system.
The president was now confused again, and subconsciously scratched his head while moving back to his email. His hand came down as he noticed another email from Iwata’s account. He knew he should have reported it, but something kept him from doing so. The name was friendly, familiar, and it wasn’t doing no harm.
Checking out the new message, he was slightly alarmed to see it was the same one. He became more alarmed when he noticed the time stamp of the email was the same as the old one.
Against his better judgement, he replied to the email. He had only wrote “What do you mean,” including all of the formalities, but started to wish he hadn’t replied at all. So when the next message came, he shuddered to think what it might be. It could be scam. It could be some hack into the system. It could now well be feeding viruses into the system and stealing vital information – about those projects currently in the works, and those yet to be announced. And could jeopardise the new console that had to be kept secret.
So when he opened the email to read “My old friend, there is no need for formalities between us. I only want to help,” he couldn’t help but gape.
Somehow, Satoru Iwata was still alive.
“How can this be?” the president sent.
“I poured my life into the digital world. In return, it has given me something. I am within the server of Nintendo. I am happy that you have the job, but couldn’t help but notice a few mistakes you seem to be making.”
“Have you been the one changing documents?”
“Please understand. I did it only for the benefit of the company. The NX project is meant to be the next step in our making fun entertainment as best as it can be. One of the first things you changed when you were promoted was how that fun is delivered. It cannot be so, I am afraid. The NX project is not meant to be a competitor. Rather, it is meant to be something new. Something no-one has really seen before.”
“So it should stay the way you planned it? For the company? But the people want us to compete.”
“And so they do, but only the vocal negative. I am sure the rest of the people, our fans, are happy with the way things are.”
The president leant back in his chair. It was great to be talking to his friend again, but he felt puzzled by what he was being told to do. The NX had to stay the way it was, but if he had his way, the company could be directly competing with Microsoft and Sony, and even take away some of their fans. He said so in his next message.
“And so you blind yourself to our values,” Iwata replied back. “Our core principle is not to compete, but to entertain. Money is important, but not as important as the ties we have to our fans and the unique position we find ourselves in. If we try to compete, we lose what makes us special.”
“So if the NX stays the way it is, will we claw back from the low sales of the Wii U?”
“I cannot say. But we will be remembered as those who innovated in a unique way, directly to the consumer, no matter if the talk is positive or negative.”
From the word ‘directly’, something slotted into the president’s mind. “What of the Nintendo Directs? How will they be managed?”
“The same as they always were. The exact details will, of course, be left to you. How you present them will be your own doing.”
“Thank you for your guidance, Iwata-san. I will take all that you have said with respect.”
“I am happy to guide you, old friend.”
“And if you present yourself again? What do I say to the staff? All your colleagues. Friends.”
“(Laughs). Just tell them, the spirit of me lives on within these walls. I must be going now. Kirby wants to visit Onett with me. Pay heed to what we have discussed, and use it well. We will talk again sometime. We have much more to discuss. Goodbye.”
The president read these words with a smile on his face. It was true that the spirit of his old friend was within these walls, in a way. And it was true that competing was not the Nintendo way. It gave him warm feelings to think of Iwata, though, and what he must be doing within the digital world with all the characters that he helped create and work on.
It was also occurring to him that if he worked as hard as Iwata did, and put as much passion into his work, he too could someday wonder the worlds he helped work on.
For now though, he had some work to be doing, and it started with getting the NX back to work.