Nintendo has announced that they have hired Duncan Orrell-Jones, former employee of The Walt Disney Company, to fill the newly created role of senior VP of network business. Duncan Orrell-Jones will take on the new position effective July 1 at the Nintendo headquarters in Redmond, Washington.
Orrell-Jones will be reporting directly to Nintendo of America President and COO Reggie Fils-Aime, who highlighted the commitment the company has in improving their network:
“Duncan Orrell-Jones brings knowledge and hands-on experience to Nintendo that will help us develop and implement long-term digital initiatives for our systems… By creating this new position we’re demonstrating our commitment to the expansion of our online business, and Duncan is the perfect person for the job.”
Orrell-Jones comes from his previous position at The Walt Disney Company. He worked there since 1993, acting most recently as senior vice president in the Disney Interactive Media Group and previously as the senior vice president and general manager for the Disney Interactive Media Group in Tokyo. There, he had his own 140-person team and looked for ways to expand the companies’ digital presence on multiple platforms.
Analysis: They say acknowledging you have a problem is always the hardest step, and Nintendo has already well and truly done that part regarding their online services. Not content to play second fiddle to the online offerings of Microsoft and Sony when it comes to the online component of their respective systems, it’s pleasing to see that Nintendo is taking the issue seriously enough to create a whole new position centred on their network capabilities.
I’m hoping that this is the start of a big digital push for Nintendo as they catch up to the company’s two competitors. At the very least, we can take solace in the fact that at their annual shareholders meeting this week, Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata himself confirmed that, despite considering the option, the company has chosen not to have a subscription-based online service like Xbox Live. Rather, they’ll support online play for free like PlayStation Network.
Sounds like a smart move to me, but that’s only if their online infrastructure improves. Making a service free isn’t really helpful if the service itself is broken or significantly inferior to the competitor’s offerings. I’m keeping my fingers crossed, however, that this won’t be the case moving forward.