Nintendo’s getting into the health biz

Nintendo revealed first details about its health-focused QOL platform, which stands for “quality of life,” announcing a new sensor that monitors and analyzes you while you sleep.

In a presentation, Nintendo described the QOL device as having “five ‘non’ sensing” features: It will be non-wearable, non-contact (meaning it doesn’t need to touch your body), non-operating, non-waiting and non-installation. Essentially, the device is designed to operate on its own, without much set-up.

The QOL device is designed to monitor a user during sleep. Using radio waves, the device reads a user’s movement, heart rate, respiration and fatigue, and sends that data to servers to be analyzed. The QOL system will connect with smart devices and “dedicated video game devices,” presumably Nintendo’s Wii U and 3DS systems, via the cloud. Services designed to improve health and quality of life, through diet and exercise, for example, will be part of the QOL system.

QOL Nintendo

Nintendo is partnering with U.S.-based ResMed, a manufacturer of “medical equipment for treating, diagnosing and managing sleep-disordered breathing and other respiratory disorders.” Its QOL device is slated to launch sometime in 2016.

Nintendo president Satoru Iwata announced the company’s plans to expand its business into the health market earlier this year, with the hopes that it can improve “quality of life through entertainment.”

“[D]efining a new entertainment business that seeks to improve (quality of life) creates various possibilities for the future such as ‘learning’ and ‘lifestyle,’ but it is our intention to take ‘health’ as our first step,” Iwata said at the time. “We wish to achieve an integrated hardware-software platform business that, instead of providing mobile or wearable features, will be characterized by a new area of what we like to call ‘non-wearable’ technology.

Iwata said Nintendo planned to go beyond what it attempted with exercise software Wii Fit, and was “considering themes that we have not incorporated to games for our existing platforms” with the aim to create a new market.

“What is generally good for health requires some kind of effort to be made by the individual,” Iwata said. “This is where our strength as an entertainment company to keep our consumers engaged and entertained comes into play, assisted by the non-wearable feature, which is the biggest differentiator of this new business field, as well as user experiences that integrate into people’s daily lives, all of which help us overcome this difficulty. If we do indeed succeed in doing so, we will be able to provide feedback to our consumers on a continual basis, and our approach will be to redefine the notion of health-consciousness, and eventually increase the fit population.

“While we feel that this is going to take two to three years after its launch, we expect the QOL-improving platform to provide us with new themes which we can then turn into games that operate on our future video game platforms, too,” he said. “Once we have established such a cycle, we will see continuous positive interactions between the two platforms that enable us to make unique propositions.”

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