Who Owns Nintendo?

  • The Master Trust Bank of Japan, Ltd. (Trust Account) is the largest shareholder of Nintendo, holding 194,104 shares, which represents an ownership stake of 16.54%.
  • The second-largest shareholder is Custody Bank of Japan, Ltd. (Trust Account), holding 63,983 shares and an ownership stake of 5.45%.
  • JP Morgan Chase Bank 380815 (Standing proxy: Settlement & Clearing Services Department, Mizuho Bank, Ltd.) is the third-largest shareholder, holding 63,741 shares and an ownership stake of 5.43%.
  • The Bank of Kyoto, Ltd. (Standing proxy: Custody Bank of Japan, Ltd.) is the fourth-largest shareholder, holding 48,802 shares and an ownership stake of 4.16%.
  • The fifth-largest shareholder is The Nomura Trust and Banking Co., Ltd. (MUFG Bank, Ltd. Retiree Allowance Trust Account), holding 42,109 shares and an ownership stake of 3.59%.
Products and ServicesNintendo is a Japanese multinational video game company known for producing and publishing video games and gaming hardware. The company offers a range of gaming consoles, including the Nintendo Switch, Nintendo Switch Lite, and portable consoles like the Nintendo 3DS. Nintendo also develops and publishes video games and franchises like Super Mario, The Legend of Zelda, and Pokémon.Nintendo’s core offerings include gaming consoles and video games, targeting a broad audience of gamers. Iconic franchises drive brand loyalty. Portable and home consoles cater to different gaming preferences.Nintendo Switch console, Nintendo 3DS handheld console, video games like Super Mario Odyssey, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and Pokémon series.
Revenue StreamsNintendo generates revenue primarily through the sale of gaming consoles and video games. Additional income comes from licensing its intellectual property (IP), merchandise sales, mobile games, and subscription services like Nintendo Switch Online.Revenue from console and game sales represents the core of Nintendo’s business. Licensing its IP for merchandise and collaborations adds to income. Mobile games and subscription services diversify revenue streams.Revenue from gaming console sales, video game sales, licensing of IP for merchandise (e.g., clothing, toys), mobile game sales (e.g., Pokémon GO), subscription fees for Nintendo Switch Online.
Customer SegmentsNintendo serves a diverse customer base, including gamers of all ages, families, and enthusiasts. The brand appeals to those seeking family-friendly gaming experiences and iconic franchises.Nintendo’s target demographic spans different age groups and gaming preferences. The brand’s family-friendly reputation attracts parents and children, while enthusiasts appreciate iconic franchises.Gamers of all ages, families seeking family-friendly gaming, enthusiasts of Nintendo franchises (e.g., Super Mario fans).
Distribution ChannelsNintendo distributes its gaming consoles through authorized retailers, online stores, and its own retail locations (e.g., Nintendo NY store). The company also sells digital games through its eShop platform. Mobile games are available on app stores.Multiple distribution channels ensure accessibility for customers. Physical and digital game distribution options cater to different preferences. Mobile games are available on popular app stores.Authorized retailers, Nintendo’s official website and online store, Nintendo eShop for digital game downloads, mobile app stores (e.g., Apple App Store, Google Play).
Key PartnershipsNintendo collaborates with game developers and publishers for third-party games on its platforms. The company also forms licensing partnerships with merchandise manufacturers and franchises like Universal Studios for theme park attractions. Nintendo occasionally collaborates with other game companies for cross-over titles.Collaborations with game developers expand the game library on Nintendo platforms. Licensing partnerships extend the brand into merchandise and theme park experiences. Cross-over collaborations create excitement and unique gaming experiences.Collaborations with game developers for titles like “Super Smash Bros.,” licensing partnerships for merchandise (e.g., LEGO Super Mario sets), collaboration with Universal Studios for Super Nintendo World theme park attractions.
Key ResourcesNintendo’s key resources include its iconic gaming franchises, gaming hardware expertise, software development teams, manufacturing facilities, distribution network, intellectual property, and a commitment to innovation in gaming.Iconic franchises like Mario and Zelda drive brand recognition. Expertise in gaming hardware ensures quality consoles. Software development teams create beloved games. Manufacturing facilities support hardware production. Distribution network ensures global reach. Intellectual property is a valuable asset. Innovation in gaming keeps Nintendo relevant.Iconic franchises (e.g., Mario, Pokémon), gaming hardware development teams, manufacturing plants, global distribution network, intellectual property portfolio, commitment to gaming innovation (e.g., motion controls, hybrid console design).
Cost StructureNintendo incurs costs in research and development for gaming hardware and software, manufacturing of consoles and cartridges/discs, marketing and advertising, employee salaries, game development, distribution, and licensing agreements.R&D investment in gaming hardware and software is essential for innovation. Manufacturing costs for consoles and game cartridges/discs are significant. Marketing campaigns promote products. Employee salaries are substantial due to technical expertise. Game development, distribution, and licensing agreements require financial resources.R&D for new gaming hardware and software, manufacturing of gaming consoles, marketing campaigns, employee salaries, game development costs, distribution expenses, licensing fees for collaborations.
Competitive AdvantageNintendo’s competitive advantage lies in its iconic gaming franchises, innovative hardware designs, family-friendly gaming experiences, and enduring brand loyalty. It offers a unique blend of nostalgia and innovation that appeals to gamers of all ages.Nintendo’s iconic franchises and innovative hardware (e.g., Nintendo Switch’s hybrid design) set it apart in the gaming industry. Family-friendly gaming experiences and brand loyalty contribute to its enduring popularity.Iconic franchises like Super Mario and Pokémon, Nintendo Switch’s hybrid design, family-friendly gaming experiences in titles like “Animal Crossing: New Horizons.”
Value PropositionNintendo provides gamers with family-friendly gaming experiences, iconic franchises, and innovative hardware. It offers a unique blend of nostalgia and innovation, appealing to a wide range of gaming preferences and age groups.Nintendo’s value proposition centers on delivering enjoyable and innovative gaming experiences. Iconic franchises offer nostalgia, while innovative hardware ensures diverse gaming options. Family-friendly gaming appeals to parents and children alike.Playing classic Super Mario games, experiencing the versatility of the Nintendo Switch, enjoying family-friendly gameplay in titles like “Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.”

Nintendo, a timeline

November 1947

  • Established as Marufuku Co., Ltd. in Kyoto, Japan as a manufacturer/distributor of Japanese playing cards (karuta) and western playing cards.

September 1949

  • Changed the company’s name to Marufuku Karuta Hanbai Co., Ltd.

March 1950

  • Changed the company’s name to Nintendo Karuta Co., Ltd. and took over karuta manufacturing operations of Yamauchi Nintendo & Co.

July 1951

  • Changed the company’s name to Nintendo Playing Card Co., Ltd.

September 1959

  • Moved the headquarters to Kyoto, Japan.

September 1961

  • Established the Tokyo Branch in Tokyo, Japan.

January 1962

  • Listed stock on the Second Section of the Osaka Securities Exchange and on the Kyoto Stock Exchange.

October 1963

  • Changed the company’s name to Nintendo Co., Ltd. (current trade name).

July 1970

  • Stock listing was changed to the First Section of the Osaka Securities Exchange.

April 1980

  • Established a wholly-owned subsidiary, Nintendo of America Inc., in New York, U.S.A.

February 1982

  • Established a new wholly-owned subsidiary, Nintendo of America Inc., in Washington, U.S.A. and merged the New York subsidiary into it through an absorption-type merger.

July 1983

  • Listed stock on the First Section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

November 1983

  • Established a new plant in Uji City, Kyoto, Japan (currently Uji Plant).

February 1990

  • Established a wholly-owned subsidiary, Nintendo of Europe GmbH, in Germany.

February 1993

  • Established a wholly-owned subsidiary, Nintendo France S.A.R.L., in France.

November 2000

  • Moved the headquarters to Kyoto, Japan (current location).

July 2006

  • Established a wholly-owned subsidiary, Nintendo of Korea Co., Ltd., in South Korea.

June 2016

  • Transitioned to a Company with an Audit and Supervisory Committee.

April 2017

  • Acquired shares of JESNET Co. Ltd. and changed its trade name to Nintendo Sales Co., Ltd.

April 2022

  • Transitioned to the Prime Market from the First Section due to the market restructuring of the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

Origin Story

Nintendo is a multinational video game and consumer electronics company headquartered in Kyoto, Japan.

The history of Nintendo goes back centuries. In 1633, Japan cut off relations with the West and banned all foreign playing cards because they encouraged illegal gambling. Successive games were introduced and then banned as Japanese card makers sought to establish their own home-grown card games.

One game worth mentioning is Hanafuda, which replaced numbers with months of the year and pictures to get around the ban. Although it too was eventually made illegal, Japanese citizens loved Hanafuda and continued to play it in secret. 

In the late 1800s, the government relaxed its laws on certain playing cards. One citizen who welcomed this news was 29-year-old Fusajiro Yamauchi, an avid Hanafuda player. He saw the potential in monetizing Hanafuda and founded a company called Nintendo Koppai in 1889.

Early days of Nintendo

Initially, Yamauchi sold hand-made pictorial Hanafuda cards made from the bark of a mulberry tree. Nintendo quickly experienced immense popularity in Japan as consumers appreciated the art and quality construction of each card.

Yamauchi ran the business for 40 years before retiring in 1929. The company was run for another 20 years by his son-in-law Sekiryo Kaneda before he too was forced to retire after suffering a stroke. 

This opened the door for Kaneda’s grandson, Hiroshi Yamauchi, who took the helm at the tender age of 21.

A new direction

When Yamauchi took the reins in 1949, his lack of experience was met with resentment by employees. He was also a ruthless leader, firing anyone who disagreed with him and having the final say on any new product idea.

However, Yamauchi did many things to advance the company during this tenure. He started selling western playing cards, the first Japanese company to do so in over 300 years. Nintendo also established the first such licensing deal with Disney to have its characters appear in card decks for party and family games.

When card game sales started to drop after the Tokyo Olympics in 1964, Yamauchi realized he had to pivot quickly. While inspecting the languishing playing card assembly line, he noticed an employee playing with a mechanized, extendable hand. Later dubbed the Ultra Hand, Yamauchi was so taken with the invention that he immediately ordered it into production. Nintendo would later sell 1.2 million Ultra Hands, announcing its presence on the toy market as a serious contender.

Electronic toys

The inventor of the Ultra Hand, Gunpei Yokoi, was also completing an engineering degree at the time.

Ultimately, his interests would steer Nintendo into the emerging electronic toy industry. Nintendo partnered with Sony to develop a home electronic version of popular arcade light gun games. In 1972, the company acquired the Japanese distribution rights to the Magnavox Odyssey – the first video game console. Five years later, Nintendo released its own video console called the Color TV-Game featuring six pre-programmed games.

By 1980, business was booming for Nintendo. It entered the North American market with Donkey Kong following soon after for the coin-operated arcade market. The highly successful Super Mario Bros. franchise was released in 1983 and continues to be updated to this day. 

The company has continued to innovate since the explosion in popularity of electronic games. Consoles including the Game Boy, Nintendo DS, Wii, and Nintendo Switch have all enjoyed prolonged success with gamers around the world.

Key takeaways:

  • Nintendo is a Japanese multinational consumer electronics and video company founded in 1889. Initially, the company sold hand-made pictorial playing cards for the popular game Hanafuda.
  • Nintendo pivoted into toy manufacturing after playing card popularity declined in 1964. Then-CEO Hiroshi Yamauchi noticed an assembly line worker playing with a mechanized extendable hand which he immediately put into mass production. The Ultra Hand would sell 1.2 million units.
  • The Ultra Hand inventor Gunpei Yokoi provided the impetus for Nintendo moving into electronic games. The company partnered with Sony to offer arcade games at home and also acquired the distribution rights to the first home video game console.

Shareholders of Nintendo:

  • The Master Trust Bank of Japan, Ltd. (Trust Account): The largest shareholder holding 194,104 shares, representing 16.54% ownership stake.
  • Custody Bank of Japan, Ltd. (Trust Account): Second-largest shareholder with 63,983 shares, representing 5.45% ownership stake.
  • JP Morgan Chase Bank 380815 (Standing proxy: Settlement & Clearing Services Department, Mizuho Bank, Ltd.): Third-largest shareholder with 63,741 shares, representing 5.43% ownership stake.
  • The Bank of Kyoto, Ltd. (Standing proxy: Custody Bank of Japan, Ltd.): Fourth-largest shareholder with 48,802 shares, representing 4.16% ownership stake.
  • The Nomura Trust and Banking Co., Ltd. (MUFG Bank, Ltd. Retiree Allowance Trust Account): Fifth-largest shareholder with 42,109 shares, representing 3.59% ownership stake.

Nintendo’s Timeline:

  • 1947: Established as Marufuku Co., Ltd., focusing on playing cards.
  • 1959: Headquarters moved to Kyoto, Japan.
  • 1961: Tokyo Branch established.
  • 1962: Listed stock on the Osaka Securities Exchange.
  • 1980: Nintendo of America Inc. established.
  • 1983: Listed stock on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.
  • 2000: Headquarters moved to Kyoto (current location).
  • 2016: Transitioned to a Company with an Audit and Supervisory Committee.
  • 2022: Transitioned to the Prime Market from the First Section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

Origin Story:

  • The history of Nintendo dates back to the 17th century, with the development of Hanafuda cards as a workaround for playing card bans in Japan.
  • Fusajiro Yamauchi founded Nintendo Koppai in 1889, initially making hand-made Hanafuda cards.
  • Hiroshi Yamauchi, his grandson, took over in 1949, diversifying into western playing cards and licensing deals with Disney.
  • The company pivoted to electronic toys in the 1960s, introducing the Ultra Hand, followed by video game consoles like the Color TV-Game.
  • Nintendo’s entry into the North American market with Donkey Kong in 1980 marked a turning point.
  • Iconic franchises like Super Mario Bros. and successful consoles like Game Boy, Nintendo DS, Wii, and Nintendo Switch followed.

Related Visual Stories

Nintendo is a Japanese consumer electronics and video company founded in 1889 as Nintendo Karuta – a manufacturer of decorated, hand-made playing cards. By the 1980s, the company made significant investments in a rising technology: video games. It then produced popular titles like Donkey Kong and, later on, Super Mario Bros. Today Nintendo generates revenues through video game franchise sales, e-commerce, and the Unfold System.
In 2018, Nintendo’s revenue was 1.055 trillion yen. The company’s revenue increased to 1.2 trillion yen in 2019. Nintendo’s revenue continued to grow in 2020, reaching 1.308 trillion yen. The company experienced a significant increase in revenue in 2021, amounting to 1.759 trillion yen. In 2022, Nintendo’s revenue was 1.695 trillion yen, slightly lower than the previous year but still reflecting strong performance.
In 2018, Nintendo’s net income was 134.09 billion yen. The company’s net income increased to 200.34 billion yen in 2019. Nintendo’s net income continued to grow in 2020, reaching 236 billion yen. The company experienced a significant increase in net income in 2021, amounting to 527.95 billion yen. In 2022, Nintendo achieved its highest net income in the given period, amounting to 530.5 billion yen.

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