The question is, does anybody care?
After the Wii U’s failure became clear, and Nintendo began to hit hard times, the late president of the company Satoru Iwata realized that Nintendo had all of its eggs in gaming- an unwise proposition at the best of times, and especially risky when gaming is such an unstable and fickle market.
It was because of that that Nintendo announced that it would be branching out into healthcare (possibly bolstered by the success of Nintendo’s healthcare products on Wii and DS). And so, the Quality of Life or QoL initiative was announced, of which the first product, a sleep sensor, was unveiled last year, with a launch date for Spring 2016.
But as that launch date draws nearer, and information on the product remains thin on the ground, analysts have begun to think that Nintendo may have quietly dropped plans to ever launch the platform at all, somewhat like the Wii Vitality Sensor all those years ago.
“I think it’s been pushed to the back burner,” says Lewis Ward, research director for gaming at IDC. “It’s supposed to be released in the US by the end of March , but I haven’t heard anything. … [However,] I do think Nintendo has always had an interest in ‘Blue Ocean’ markets and health care and the intersection with their hardware and their software is something they’ve viewed as an opportunity.”
Wedbush’s Michael Pachter paints an even bleaker picture for the health monitor.
“I think it’s probably dead – just like the Wii Vitality Sensor was before and they didn’t tell anybody,” he stated.
Pachter added: “They have been completely invisible as a company since [Iwata] got sick. The whole point of helping with lifestyle was getting people to buy more Nintendo devices – and I think they’re hurting so badly in devices that they’re trying to stop the hemorrhaging there. … I would say they’re probably focused on just getting their mobile initiative working. That’s far more important than [QoL].”
I can see how mobile games may have replaced QoL in terms of priority within Nintendo- especially since QoL was never too clearly defined to begin with. But with that said, Nintendo is a company that works on its own, short hype cycles. It is still pretty possible that they announce the device for a Spring 2016 release within the next few months.