But there are certain questions that need to be answered first.
It looks as though Nintendo really may be serious about sticking to the March 2017 global launch for the Nintendo NX- in the transcript of their recent investors meeting, Nintendo’s Hirokazu Shinshi, who is Director and General Manager of Manufacturing Division, has confirmed that the company is preparing to manufacture the NX- but that there are certain considerations, such as rising labor costs in China, as well as a move towards automation of the manufacturing process, which need to be considered before the process begins in earnest.
“Labor costs in China have certainly risen steeply over the last ten years or so. You see some uptrend in labor costs in other ASEAN nations too, so it is not as if this is happening in only China. That said, the jump in China stands out,” Shinshi-san said. “There is some talk that the rising labor costs in China are leading to more automation. The word “automation” brings robots to mind, but we should see the trend for automation in China in the same context as Japan’s past efforts to automate its manufacturing sector. You bring up the matter of Hon Hai, but that is not about the factories that make Nintendo products. So, although I can’t really comment, Hon Hai is working hard to cut its costs, and one way is to progress with automation using robots. I see this as a cycle that puts workers to use in more productive ways, rather than something leading directly to layoffs. The circumstances in China support automation in factories to boost productivity and counter rising labor costs.
“But regarding the manufacture of our products in this setting, let me just note that devices like ours, which are complicated and made in amounts that vary widely from month to month, do not lend themselves to the kind of automation that is easy to introduce for devices with simple structures, that are made in constant amounts. Are there more efficient ways of determining which processes to automate and how? Can automation deal better with changes? These are the kinds of questions we continue to address. We are in close communication with our partners who manufacture our products. We are now preparing to manufacture NX and hashing out details like the extent of automation. We hope to create the optimal production environment.”
Hopefully, they can sort out whatever their plans are quickly, and get around to beginning manufacturing of the NX soon. With the Wii U effectively withdrawn from the market, Nintendo now have no presence in the home console market until the NX launches- all eyes are now on their enigmatic new console.