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4 Ways Nintendo Is Moving Beyond Video Games

By Brett Schafer - Jun 26, 2021 at 7:13AM

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The Japanese entertainment giant is slowly expanding its business.

Ever since the late 1980s, Nintendo (NTDOY 1.21%) has been a dominant force within the video game industry. It continually puts out popular hardware devices like the Nintendo Switch and has built a deep library of entertainment franchises like Mario and Zelda. Historically, the company has not made many moves outside of video games.

That all may be changing with the company's new initiatives coming in the next few years. Here are four ways Nintendo is moving beyond video games, and what it could mean for the stock.

A kid looking at his phone and making a fist pump.

Image source: Getty Images.

1. Theme parks

Nintendo has partnered with Comcast's (CMCSA -2.73%) Universal to build four different Nintendo-based theme parks around the world. Dubbed Super Nintendo World, the parks will be located in Japan, California, Florida, and Singapore, all as subsets of existing Universal theme park locations. The park in Japan has just opened, while the other three are planned to open sometime within the next five years.

In Japan, the main attraction is a Mario Kart ride where people get to wear augmented reality (AR) glasses to feel like they are immersed in one of the game's famous racing circuits. The parks are not as developed as Universal's or Disney's, which have taken decades to get where they are today, but they look like a great place for families with young children to spend an afternoon.

2. Stores and merchandise

Nintendo has always sold some merchandise and partnered with other retailers to get its brands out into the world, but the company is now leaning into selling physical goods itself. This includes through its online store, but also in a growing number of physical stores around the world. With stores only in Tokyo, New York, and Tel Aviv, the growth has been slow, but there are indications some expansion is in the works. Five pop-up stores are opening in Japan this summer, which shows Nintendo's willingness to grow its physical retail offering.

3. Movies and TV

To move into video entertainment, Nintendo has partnered with Illumination Studios (another Comcast subsidiary), one of the top animation studios in the world. The two companies are working on a Super Mario movie that will launch in 2022, which could be a springboard for more movies or TV shows to follow.

Nintendo President Shuntaro Furukawa said this year that animation is something the company is looking at closely, and would likely move beyond just the Mario franchise. If Nintendo can start generating a steady number of movies and possibly TV shows as well, the business could turn into a consistent profit generator for the foreseeable future. Plus, with Illumination founder and CEO Chris Meledandri joining the Nintendo board, that is further evidence Nintendo is taking video entertainment seriously.

4. Augmented reality

In March of this year, Nintendo announced it is partnering with Niantic (a company it owns a major stake in) to build AR applications based on Nintendo's various franchises. Niantic is the company behind the hit Pokemon GO game, so it has some of the best AR technology in the world. The first game is based on the lesser-known Pikmin franchise and will be launching later this year.

Interestingly, the press release said these apps will try to be broader than traditional games, making them more interactive with Niantic's AR capabilities. For example, the Pikmin app is "designed to encourage walking and make the activity more enjoyable," according to the press release.

What it means for the stock

Nintendo is a slow-moving company, but as you can see, management has multiple initiatives to expand the business over the next decade. The stock currently trades at a market cap of $68 billion, and only $53 billion if you omit the cash sitting on the company's balance sheet. With $5.8 billion in trailing-12-month operating income, the stock trades at a cheap price-to-operating income ratio of nine.

If the company can execute on these new initiatives while also keeping video game profits steady, that operating profit number will steadily climb over the next decade, which would be great news for any shareholders of Nintendo.

Brett Schafer owns shares of Nintendo. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Walt Disney. The Motley Fool recommends Comcast and Nintendo. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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