Nintendo—yes, THAT Nintendo—is building a bedside sleep sensor to monitor …

30 Oct 2014 | Author: | No comments yet »

First Nintendo QOL platform is non-contact sleep and fatigue sensor.

The Japanese gaming giant on Thursday gave a few details of its plan to enter the healthcare business with a device that can sense how well users sleep. Earlier in the year Nintendo announced plans for a Quality of Life (QOL) ‘platform’ that would use non-wearable devices that are ‘not necessarily something you will use in the living room’.Tokyo – Japanese videogame maker Nintendo will develop a device to measure a user’s fatigue and map their sleep, Chief Executive Satoru Iwata said on Thursday, the first offering from the company’s newly created healthcare division. The device will be developed with US firm ResMed, which currently makes products to treat sleep disorders, and will be available in the financial year ending March 2016. Nintendo has teamed up with US company ResMed to work on a handheld-device that will track sleep and fatigue, with plans to launch it during the company’s next financial year, which ends in March 2016. “By using our know-how in gaming… to analyse sleep and fatigue, we can create something fun,” Nintendo president Satoru Iwata told a press conference in Japan, according to Reuters.

Nintendo, better known for its Mario video game franchise and Wii and Wii U consoles, has said it expects its healthcare division to turn a profit in 2015/2016. Although it is interesting that it seems to be an evolution of ideas first brought up via the Wii Vitality Sensor, which was announced at E3 2009 but never released – apparently because it only had a 90 per cent success rate.

Iwata refused to discuss the company’s sales expectations for the new device beyond saying that it may be offered via a subscription service rather than a one-off purchase. “We only start something new if we think we will be able to create a big market, but as I’m not able to discuss pricing plans and other details today I don’t think there’s much point in giving a figure for our projected scale,” he said. While it won’t be available until 2016, the QOL Sensor would be part of a services-based health business that Nintendo hopes could be even larger than its gaming empire, which has drawn criticism for failing to embrace the popularity of smartphone gaming over traditional consoles. “We have various kinds of know-how in making experiences fun and something that users want to continue, so we’d like to put efforts into this,” a Nintendo spokesman said. On Wednesday, the 125-year-old Kyoto-based company reported a surprising net profit of ¥14.3 billion ($132 million) for the six months to Sept. 30, up from a profit of ¥600 million a year earlier. Instead the details were released as part of Nintendo’s six month financial results, which yesterday beat analyst predictions and put the company on course for its first profit in four years. ‘At Nintendo, we believe that if we could visualise them, there would be great potential for many people regardless of age, gender, language or culture.’ The device uses technology created by US health company ResMed, although after a quick shift through their website we don’t seen anything similar to Nintendo’s device. ‘By believing that putting smiles on people’s faces is the goal of entertainment, the company has continued to develop, manufacture and market many different products.’

That’s likely to dampen down – for now at least – questions from journalists and analysts about whether Nintendo will start making some of its games available for smartphones and tablets.

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