Nintendo announced that it will halt development of a connected sleep tracking device that the company first announced back in 2014, according to a report in Wired.
Nintendo’s late CEO Satoru Iwata announced the sleep tracker, which Nintendo referred to as its “quality of life” device, at a meeting following the company’s 2014 Q2 report. At the time, Iwata said the device was expected to be released in early 2016.
He added that the device would measure a user’s fatigue based on their sleep data, but would add its own Nintendo features to make the offering more fun. Nintendo would work in partnership with US-based sleep apnea tracking company ResMed to develop it. The device wouldn’t be a wearable and would instead sit at the user’s bedside to make the tracking process frictionless, likely similar to Withings' sleep tracking system, Aura.
But at another investor meeting this week, Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima said they were no longer planning to launch the sleep device.
“In regards to the Quality of Life [device], which was not mentioned in any of today’s questions, we do not have the conviction that the sleep-and-fatigue-themed [device] can enter the phase of actually becoming a product,” Kimishima said in the meeting, which was translated by Wired. “We no longer have any plans to release it by the end of March 2016. On the other hand, we still believe there are things we can do in the general category of Quality of Life, and we will continue to study the possibility of expanding into this field.”
Nintendo has made a few attempt in the past to enter the digital health space.
In the fall of 2009, the company released a Nintendo DS game for adults called Personal Trainer Walking, which included a pedometer. Then, in March 2010, the company included a pedometer with the latest game in its popular Pokemon franchise. The device, called a Pokewalker, could virtually "store" a player's Pokemon, allowing the fictional creature to gain levels the more the player walked.
And in 2013, Nintendo announced a new activity tracking device, called the Fit Meter, which would be bundled with the Wii Fit U, the new version of the company's successful fitness game Wii Fit.
"With this Fit Meter, you can now check the estimated number of calories you burn while you are on the go," Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata said at the time. "The Fit Meter is not a pedometer, it's actually an activity meter that uses a 3-axis accelerometer to calculate not only the number of steps you have taken, but also your intensity during exercise.”
Although this wasn’t an effort from Nintendo, in September 2104, a small study published in Radiology found that patients with multiple sclerosis who played a high-instensity video game on a Nintendo Wii saw improvement in the microstructural changes of their brains, which in turn improved the participant's balance. While MS has many symptoms, one can be a loss of balance.