CSR Report > Archive 2012 > Bringing Smiles to Our Consumers

CSR Report

Bringing Smiles to Our Consumers / To provide all of our consumers with safe and enjoyable gaming experiences, we strive to create the highest-quality products by learning from our consumers' comments and concerns.

  • Achieving Quality and Safety
  • Considerations When Developing Software and Services
  • Making Things Easier to Understand,  Easier to Use
  • Responding Effectively to  Consumers

Achieving Quality and Safety

At Nintendo, we emphasize safety and reliability in manufacturing products of the highest quality so that consumers of all ages can enjoy them with peace of mind.

Product Safety Principle
Safety and reliability are key factors
in creating high-quality products.
Quality Principle
Provide high-quality products
that meet consumers' expectations.

Strict Safety Standards

To ensure that our products are safe for everyone, especially young children, Nintendo has established its own design safety standards for product development. In addition to complying with the legal requirements for product safety that apply generally to consumer electronic products, we respect various other safety standards, such as the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008*1, the European Toy Safety Directive*2 and the Toy Safety Standards of Japan*3.

*1 Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008
This U.S. regulation restricts the use of phthalate compounds in products as well as the use of various materials, such as lead, on the surface of any product.
*2 Toy Safety Directive
This European Union (EU) directive regulates products designed or clearly intended for use in play by children under 14 years of age. Such products must meet strict safety requirements related to physical, mechanical, flammable, chemical and electrical properties.
*3 Toy Safety Standards of Japan
Safety standards established by the Japan Toy Association that cover mechanical and chemical safety, and flammability.

Framework for Product Safety Assurance

Nintendo Co., Ltd. established its Product Safety Committee, under the direct supervision of the Executive Management Committee, to ensure employees' thorough understanding of the Product Safety Principle and the Quality Principle. Through effective management, maintenance and improvement of Nintendo's Product Safety Assurance System, the Product Safety Committee ensures the safety of our products at every stage, from planning, development, production and sales, all the way through after-sales service.

System to Ensure Product Safety

The Development Stage

The Design Safety Review Committee consists of employees from several divisions, including Engineering, Quality Assurance and Legal Affairs. Their goal is to screen product designs for safety, particularly during the design and development stages. The Committee reviews reports and prototypes created by the product development departments to assess the safety of each product from a wide range of perspectives.

During the prototype stage, mechanical and physical evaluations include drop tests, temperature resistance tests, electromagnetic wave evaluations, flammability tests and tests for harmful chemical substances that might be contained in or eluted from the product. To perform these tests, we use a full range of testing devices at our facilities to ensure product compliance. We also require external agencies to certify product compliance as needed. Fiscal year 2011 saw no serious accidents or concerns related to product design.

Design Safety Review Committee - Review Items

  • Laws/Regulations
    Confirm that products comply with all applicable legal regulations
  • Safety specifications
    Confirm that products comply with additional safety specifications if applicable
  • Design safety standards
    Confirm that internal design safety standards are observed
  • Labeling standards
    Confirm the appropriate display of all required labels and notices
  • FTA, FMEA
    Confirm the completion of FTA*4 and FMEA*5 safety evaluations
*4 FTA (Fault Tree Analysis)
A system that analyzes the root causes of safety hazards, such as fire and injury, to develop appropriate steps for their prevention.
*5 FMEA (Failure Mode and Effect Analysis)
A method of improving product safety and reliability through analysis of how each failure mode would affect the product.
The Production Stage

We require our production partners to confirm that their products comply with Nintendo Co., Ltd. specifications by using prescribed testing methods to check their assembly processes.

The Shipment Stage

Assembled products also must pass a finished-goods test, after which they are inspected a final time before entering the market.

Stereoscopic 3D Display Considerations

The Nintendo 3DS system is a gaming device that enables users to enjoy 3D images without the use of special glasses.

3D visuals are created by projecting different images to the left and right eyes. However, perception of the 3D visuals can differ significantly from person to person. For example, for a person who has significantly different eyesight in the left and the right eye, the 3D image may be hard to see. For this reason, Nintendo has incorporated the 3D Depth Slider into the Nintendo 3DS system. This slider enables the player to adjust the strength of the 3D visuals. Lowering the 3D Depth Slider gradually diminishes the 3D effect of the visuals. When the Slider is all the way down, users can enjoy playing the game in 2D. This feature enables users to play any game at the level they find most appropriate.

In addition, some studies indicate that the vision of children aged six and under can still be developing, and that allowing those children to see 3D images by providing different images to their left and right eyes might affect their visual development. So that all consumers can enjoy the Nintendo 3DS with peace of mind, Nintendo makes it possible for all Nintendo 3DS games to be played in 2D display mode, and we also enable parents and guardians to restrict the display of 3D images on the Nintendo 3DS system using a Parental Controls feature. We are also working hard to ensure that consumers are aware of this information by displaying it in prominent locations, such as on the packaging, so that before purchasing a Nintendo 3DS, consumers can make informed choices as to whether their children should experience 3D images.

Furthermore, when a user takes a 3D image with the Nintendo 3DS Camera, he or she can easily adjust its 3D effect.

Nintendo 3DS

Maximize Consumers' Experience of "Fun" / Nintendo Co., Ltd. Yusuke Akifusa EAD Software Development Department, Entertainment Analysis & Development Division

I worked on the development of the camera function built into the Nintendo 3DS system.

In order for the consumer to feel that this is a "fun" product, it is important that they are able to instantly tell the device to do what they want it to do, and that the device responds promptly to the request in a way that is easy for the consumer to see.

The 3D adjustment function incorporated in the Nintendo 3DS Camera enables the user to intuitively make adjustments by using the touch-panel, and the device then quickly processes this request to respond promptly.

I will always strive to maximize the "fun" that consumers can experience in the software I design.

Employee Training and Employee Education Program

To ensure that all Nintendo products meet the highest standards of safety and quality, it is essential to educate all Nintendo employees about product safety. To make sure our employees are well aware of the critical importance of ensuring the safety of our products, Nintendo Co., Ltd. provides product safety training where necessary.

In fiscal year 2011, Nintendo Co., Ltd. provided product safety training for 116 new recruits.

As part of our employee education program, since May 1993, we have also issued the "Quality Assurance News," a periodic newsletter that provides all employees with additional information and updates on product safety issues.

Product safety training for new recruits

Product safety training for new recruits

Nintendo Co., Ltd. Increasing Consumers’  Smiles

At Nintendo Co., Ltd., we believe that, in order to enhance consumer satisfaction, a solid foundation of interdepartmental understanding is necessary. To this end, we set up the Smile-Spreading Project in fiscal year 2009. To deepen employees' mutual understanding, this project undertook various initiatives such as the Delivery Seminar, in which employees visited other departments to describe their own department's role in the company, the Internal Exchange Program, in which employees spent some time in another department to learn about that department's role, and the Group Discussion & Customer Service Window Tour, in which employees observed the work of the Customer Service Window. The overall response from employees was that participation in this project not only provided them with a good opportunity to learn about other departments, it also gave them a fresh perspective.

Results

* Please refer to PP.7 - 10 of the CSR Report 2011 to learn more about the Smile-Spreading Project.

Nintendo Co., Ltd. Sharing Craftsmanship Know-How With all Employees

At Nintendo Co., Ltd., our design and manufacturing guidelines incorporate a wealth of knowledge and experience, and aim to share craftsmanship know-how with related employees. In fiscal year 2011, we strengthened this effort by making our developers' craftsmanship knowledge and past experiences available on our corporate intranet so employees who are not directly involved with this area of the business can view this information at any time.

Considerations When Developing Software and Services

Nintendo believes it is very important to screen out inappropriate content and ensure safety not only when developing hardware but also when developing software and services so that consumers of all ages can enjoy Nintendo products with peace of mind.

Principles on Ensuring Software Safety

Nintendo continually offers new ways to play, such as using the entire body to manipulate the gaming system, or by using the Network. To this end, in order for the consumer to always feel and be safe, we have created comprehensive software development guidelines, which are updated and revised as needed, and are distributed internally among related departments.

Based on these guidelines, we have created a company-wide system that checks for the safety of our software from the earliest stages of product development.

Information on Appropriate Target Age Range

Before playing a game, one has no way of knowing what kind of content the game includes. Therefore, Nintendo provides ratings information according to the ratings system*6 used in each country or region.

For further improvement, starting in January 2010, Nintendo Co., Ltd. changed the color of the packages for Wii software sold in Japan to enable consumers to notice the age rating more easily. Now, Wii games rated for age 15 and over are black, while other games remain white. We use this method for Nintendo 3DS software packages as well.

*6 Ratings System
Ratings organizations review game content and set an appropriate age rating for each game. In Japan, the CERO (Computer Entertainment Rating Organization) age-rating mark is displayed.

For more information on the ratings systems used in each region where our products are sold, visit Nintendo Co., Ltd.'s CSR Q&A: Consumer Relations.

White-based package

Black-based package

* Nintendo DS software packages do not use color to categorize each age rating, but display the applicable CERO age-rating marks clearly on the package labels.

* The marks do not correlate to game difficulty level.

A Healthy Environment for Children

Nintendo has integrated Parental Controls into the Wii, Nintendo DSi, Nintendo DSi XL and Nintendo 3DS*7. This feature enables parents and guardians to restrict and limit their children's access to high age-rating software or online content.

*7 Parental Controls are not available for Nintendo DS software.

Nintendo of Europe GmbH (Germany) Cooperating to Make the Internet a Better Place for Kids

In response to a call for action from the European Commission, Nintendo of Europe became a founding member of the "Coalition to make the Internet a better place for kids," which was set up in December 2011. Nintendo took this step because we agree with the European Commission's philosophy of wanting to create an environment where children are able to safely enjoy the benefits of the continuous spread of the Internet. The Coalition is committed to achieving five main goals: simple and robust reporting tools for users, age-appropriate privacy settings, wider use of content classification, wider availability of and use of parental control, and effective takedown of material portraying the ill-treatment of children. Nintendo of Europe is an active member of the committee in charge of the effective takedown of such material.

Know More About What Your Children Play

Nintendo feels that providing ways for parents and guardians to become more involved in their children's gaming experiences encourages better communication. For this reason, we designed the Wii and the Nintendo 3DS to automatically record which game titles are played and for how long each day so that parents and guardians can be better informed about their children's gaming activities.

Eliminating Inappropriate Content
in Communication Features

Some software and applications are designed to enable user-generated content (UGC), such as user-generated images, text and music, which can be shared with other users. Such software encourages expansive communication by enabling consumers to express themselves more freely. However, in rare instances, some individuals could intentionally create an unpleasant situation for other consumers by distributing inappropriate content. To minimize inadvertent user exposure to inappropriate content, we are working together with our development partners to implement safeguards to exclude inappropriate content when using our systems.

The use of UGC has advanced even further on the Nintendo 3DS system. As a result, we have worked even harder to prevent unintentional exposure to inappropriate content on the Nintendo 3DS system. At the same time, we have improved strategies to protect individual privacy. For example, you can attach a message to a Mii*8 in the Nintendo 3DS system; then exchange that message in StreetPass*9, but safeguards have been implemented to make it difficult to include vulgar words or personal information, both in the name of the Mii and in the message.

Nintendo 3DS

On the Nintendo 3DS, the title of the game and the time played are automatically recorded in the Activity Log for each day.

*8 Mii
A character whose face can be designed to resemble yourself or someone you want to characterize. Mii characters can be used on the Wii and the Nintendo 3DS.

Mii

*9 StreetPass
When the StreetPass feature is turned on, it enables the exchange of game data between two Nintendo 3DS systems as their owners pass one another.

Making Things Easier to Understand, Easier to Use

At Nintendo, we work hard to develop products and services that appeal to the widest range of people, including males and females of all ages, regardless of their gaming experience level.

Making Things Intuitive

Quick and easy navigation of a new game world is one of Nintendo's highest priorities. With this in mind, we try to make gameplay as intuitive as possible, thereby minimizing the need for users to consult the operations manuals to figure out how to play a game.

Usability for Everyone

We work hard to design games that can be enjoyed by as many people as possible, regardless of age, gender or level of gaming experience. We also actively solicit consumer feedback and seek ways of incorporating that feedback in our product development whenever possible.

One example of our efforts to make things easier to use: the edge of the upper cover of the Nintendo 3DS is curved to make it easier to open. As a result, the upper cover can be opened from any point along its edge.

Nintendo 3DS

Since the edge of the upper cover of the Nintendo 3DS is curved, the cover can be opened from any point along its edge.

Creating Operations Manuals Everyone can Understand

So that all of our consumers can easily understand our operations manuals and package descriptions, we make every attempt to use simple, everyday language and terminology wherever possible. We also use multiple illustrations to make it easier for young children to understand our manuals.

In addition, we consider the readability of the electronic manual and provide users with two font sizes to choose from.

Responding Effectively to Consumers

We care a great deal about what consumers think of our games and have various consumer service channels in place, including telephone and online contact points, to respond to the wide range of inquiries and requests we receive from our diverse consumer demographic. Nintendo has established a system that enables the relevant departments within the company to share comments we receive from our consumers.

Customer Service Window

The Customer Service Window in Japan provides information and advice on issues such as product specifications and usage, as well as various campaigns. In addition, we established the Nintendo Technical Support Center to respond to consumer questions about various network services.

We have also set up similar customer service centers in locations around the world where we provide support in the local languages.

Our System for Sharing Consumer Feedback

Nintendo receives feedback from numerous consumers via telephone, Internet and mail. To make the best use of this feedback when developing new products and improving services, we have established a system for sharing consumer feedback among the relevant departments within the company.

Sharing Information About Safety and Software Quality

When we are informed of quality issues, we immediately confirm the facts and then quickly distribute accurate information to our consumers. We provide necessary information about product safety and information about defects or bugs on the Nintendo website and at retail locations.

A System for Responding to Consumers' Comments (Nintendo Co., Ltd.)

*10 CS Meeting
Customer Satisfaction Meeting

Health & Safety Information

For the Nintendo 3DS system, we have included a new application called Health & Safety Information. This application displays important safety precautions found in the operations manual, enabling users to review these precautions at any time on the Nintendo 3DS system, even when they do not have the operations manual with them.

Health & Safety Information

Health & Safety Information

Repairs and Maintenance

In Japan, the Nintendo Repair & Maintenance Center handles product repairs. This Center provides extensive repair services so that our consumers can enjoy our products for as long as possible. From the aspect of environmental conservation, we also believe that product repair is a vitally important service that helps reduce product waste.

Our overseas subsidiaries also have implemented their own repair systems to respond promptly to local repair requests.

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