As a publicly traded company, one of Nintendo's duties is to meet with investors and shareholders at the end of each quarter and at the end of the fiscal year. These high-level meetings are for Nintendo's President and Directors to outline the company's numbers and share plans for the future. These meetings also give people who have invested their hard-earned cash in Nintendo the chance to ask the bigwigs tough questions face to face.
In recent years, some have instead used this time to make total fools of themselves, so we've rounded up some of the silliest, dumbest, and strangest things investors have said and done. First off is a hilariously bad take from the most recent Annual Shareholders meeting that's been making the rounds on social media. With Nintendo partnering with Universal Studios on several theme park attractions around the world, one investor has an unusual concern.
"Do you foresee a synergy between Nintendo attractions under development in Universal Studios Japan with any products you have out for sale now? I am fearful that visitors might be satisfied with these attractions alone, and so sales of Nintendo products might fall, so I am curious what kind of outlook you have based your decisions on."
Remember how people stopped watching Disney movies after the first Disney World opened up? Yeah, me neither. This question is so silly I'm really not quite sure what to say about it. Riding a roller coaster and playing a video game are two entirely different experiences, even if they utilize the same IP. Nintendo executives have also made it pretty clear at previous investor meetings that they see ventures like movies, merchandising, and theme parks as means of expanding their brand awareness in a way that will boost sales.
Another investor at the same meeting asked a question so bizarre that Nintendo apparently decided to strike it from the record. Twitter user NStyles was in the room tweeting out each question and answer, but there's one major difference between his transcript and the official one Nintendo released. The following question (translated into English by Cheesemeister3k) does not appear in Nintendo's official account of the meeting:
"Every year's general meeting is after E3, so a video is played. The people overseas look like they're having fun playing, but why can't we stockholders play? Can you provide time to play after the general stockholder's meeting?"
Who has time for important business questions? I want to know why we're not playing Switch games right now! This sentiment is the polar opposite of an equally bizarre outburst from an investor at a 2014 meeting. In this scenario, an individual who spent their hard-earned cash investing in Nintendo, a video game company, infamously proclaimed "I do not understand video games" before calling for then-President Satoru Iwata to be fired.
"I do not understand video games and I even feel angry because, at Nintendo's shareholders' meetings, the shareholders always discuss things relating to video games or such childish topics as "what the future of video games should be," while I, for one, was flabbergasted that Mr. Iwata continues to hold his position although he had said that he would resign if the company's performance were bad*. I hope that Nintendo's shareholders' meeting will become an opportunity where the shareholders discuss the company's business operations from the viewpoints of capital gain and dividends."
To be fair, it's understandable that a shareholder would want to focus on capital gains and dividends...which Nintendo generates primarily by developing and selling video games. If Nintendo's going to make projections about what sort of profits they have coming their way, they need to have the products to back it up. I'm not sure a car company could explain to you how they're going to make money next year without ever mentioning cars. The strange anger towards video game discussion may also have stemmed from a previous question. Just a few minutes earlier someone else in the room had decided to use their brief audience with Nintendo's higher-ups to ask for free games.
"Shareholder special benefit plans are very popular in Japan these days. As most of the individual shareholders hold Nintendo's stock because they are fans of this company, would you please give us something related to Nintendo as a shareholder perk? I do not think hardware systems should be given to shareholders due to their high costs, but games like "Tingle's Balloon Fight DS" and "GAME & WATCH COLLECTION," which were presents to Club Nintendo members, could be good options."
I mean...it couldn't hurt to ask, right? This particular meeting turned out to be a treasure trove of ridiculous inquiries. In between "give me free Tingle" and "I don't understand video games and I'm angry" came this next two-for-one gem.
"After a PTA meeting the other day, someone told me that they wished the size of the screen of Nintendo's current handheld device could have been manually extended to become twice the size both horizontally and vertically. It would be more impressive to children playing with it and reduce their parents' concerns about the impact on their eyes. In addition, the Japanese government is planning to have special zones for casinos for the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020, but it is said that many people are unfamiliar with casino games. I think it a good idea to create an application in which users can learn how to play and practice these games."
Wow, okay, let's break this down. First, they'd like a new version of 3DS where you can stretch the screen out to be twice as long and also twice as tall, then collapse back down to normal size. That's...a bit of an ask, but hey, doesn't hurt to dream. The second question strikes me as the stranger of the two just in the way that it's framed. The investor wants Nintendo to make casino-style gambling games, but they phrase it as though they would be providing a much-needed public service. For the record, Nintendo's response opened with "Many thanks for your useful proposals." That's...one way to put it.
We like to keep tabs on how well Nintendo and other video game giants are doing in the market, but stories like these remind us why stock value alone (which is determined by the actions of people like the ones in this article) isn't a perfect indicator of success. Pokémon GO is a perfect example of this. Nintendo's stock more than doubled within two weeks of Pokémon GO hitting the market. People saw the insane profits of the popular mobile game and began buying up Nintendo stock like mad. There's just one problem: Nintendo doesn't get most of that revenue. Analysts estimate that Nintendo pulls in around 10-13% of Pokémon GO profits, and when investors realized this, Nintendo's stock plummeted back down.
At the end of the day, companies like Nintendo need investors to fund the games we all love, but sometimes they're a bit of a headache. At least they're good for a laugh!