You might know this company better as Panasonic. Or you might be a retard.
What’s Matsushita about? What is the company’s History?
Known in the US as Panasonic, Matsushita is the largest consumer electronics company in the world.
Konosuke Matsushita, who established the first Matsushita Electronics Production Plant in 1918, founded the company. Beginning in a small workshop, Matsushita made a variety of devices, including attachment plugs.
Into the 1920s as the labor movement intensified in Japan, Matsushita developed the “Hotchi Kai” movement—company activities and social gatherings that helped promote communication and reduce stress among employees (reportedly, including Konosuke). Based on the slogan “We all walk together one step at a time” the Hotchi Kai movement incorporated its own flag, hat and repertoire of uplifting songs.
The Hotchi Kai reflects Konosuke Matsushita’s devotion to employee development… "Matsushita Electronics is in the business of making people before we make products."
1959 saw the birth of Matsushita Electric Corporation of America, who would serve as the principal North American subsidiary of Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. of Osaka, Japan. Two years later, the first products bearing the “Panasonic” brand name began appearing in the US market. The brand quickly earned a reputation for superior design & quality, which helped propel the company to success. Over the many years since, Panasonic and its product line have grown and diversified enormously.
Today, Matsushita operates in over 40 countries and has over 265,000 employees around the world and an International clientele. In North America alone, there are over 50 specialized Matsushita companies. Due to the wide variety of products each company has its own set of objectives; one sells robots, another manufactures DVD players. For the impressive full list of Matsushita/Panasonic operations & products worldwide. Check this out…
In recent years, Matsushita has done admirably in its steps for building an environmentally friendly industry. Matsushita was among the first Japanese companies to make environmental policy a priority. They quickly took action on the policy, eliminating numerous ozone layer-damaging substances from manufacturing processes. Matsushita has also garnered praise by implementing an all-e ncompassing product life cycle assessment plan, which will analyze new products & minimize the impact they will have on the world's environment. Matsushita also emphasizes energy conservation, recycling and pollution control measures.
In several countries, local Matsushita manufacturing operations greatly contribute to economy and society, offering sources of employment and the means for developing the region. All of these achievements can be directly traced back to Konosuke Matsushita’s philosophy.
What’s Matsushita’s Involvement with Nintendo and the GameCube?
On May 12, 1999, Mr. Morishita & Mr. Yamauchi announced the Matsushita/Nintendo alliance, as revealed by Howard Lincoln later that day at the pre-E3 Nintendo Press Conference. Lincoln then outlined Matsushita’s role with GameCube (then-“Project: Dolphin”), which still serves as a good description for what the alliance between the two companies is set to entail:
“First, Matsushita will develop, manufacture and supply to Nintendo a DVD disk drive for incorporation into the [GameCube] hardware unit. The software medium for [GameCube] will be DVD and this DVD software will be manufactured by Matsushita and supplied to Nintendo.”
This statement suggested the possibility that open-DVDs would be used, enabling DVD playback on the system. Nintendo later stated that this would not be the case and the DVD format has turned out to be a design proprietary to Nintendo.
“Second, [GameCube]'s technology will be integrated into various Matsushita or Panasonic branded DVD consumer electronic products, enabling consumers to play movies and music as well as [GameCube] games published by Nintendo and Nintendo's third party publishers.”
Lincoln originally suggested that the initial system will not play movies or music by itself but will be able to by virtue of integration with Matsushita products.
“Third, the Matsushita and Nintendo strategic alliance will enable the two companies to explore various ways of extending Nintendo's [GameCube] technology and Matsushita's DVD technology to other products.”
This probably refers to GameCube’s interactive nature having applications that the two companies will explore, both in the GameCube’s lifespan and beyond.
What is the Nintendo Proprietary DVD-Format that Matsushita is manufacturing?
The DVD format is a design proprietary to Nintendo, a measure to prevent piracy. Matsushita will produce this for Nintendo in mass quantities. Some people have been concerned about the size of the Matsushita disks &/or expressed disappointment that the discs would not include DVD-movie playback.
Here’s how Shiggy responded to questions on whether or not the new format would be big enough:
“It's not like 8cm disks are a negative thing. The 8cm question (laughs); people were always asking why it's not a regular 12cm disk, it's making me nervous (laughs).”
More information on Nintendo’s proprietary DVD format can be found in the FAQ’s DVD section.
What Are the Advantages of Nintendo’s Alliance with Matsushita?
Quoting Howard Lincoln’s pre-E3 ’99 announcements again:
“I mentioned before that [GameCube]'s software will be competitively priced at retail. Let me assure you that this is a critical objective for Nintendo -- as is the need for flexible and quick manufacturing turn around of [GameCube] software and strong and effective counterfeit protection. All of these objectives will be achieved under the Nintendo-Matsushita alliance.”
Howie was not foolin’ either; with its global & diverse operations, Matsushita is a very powerful ally for Nintendo. Matsushita can compete with Sony where Nintendo can’t, as an electronics company—and in that regard it’s just about as big.
Matsushita’s DVD-Nintendo GameCube Player?
For some time, it had been rumoured that the Mastushita player had been canned quietly, due to lack of interest. In fact, some had gone as far to say that it was only a smokescreen to combat the PS2's DVD hype.
However, at E32001, the PGC staff was delighted to meet this little fellow.
A beauty no? As you can see it's scarcely larger than a regular GC, and is a shiny shiny little box. We like shiny. Only a demo model was shown, and no mention of how the unit would further Matsushita's plans in spreading "Dolphin Technology". One good thing: this unit was announced for American release, probably sometime in 2002.
Are there other devices Matsushita might incorporate NGC into?
Because official plans have yet to be disclosed from either Nintendo or Matsushita, speculation can (and likely will) begin to run rampant as to how/if Nintendo games will work with Panasonic hardware. Sony has announced multi-media plans for its next-gen console, “Playstation3;” through Nintendo’s allegiance with hardware giant Matsushita, similar possibilities could be exploited over the Panasonic line of products.
There is also a rumor that Panasonic’s BlueTooth wireless technology may have been incorporated into the NGC Wavebird controller, although according to what we know, it is very unlikely.
Nintendo would probably be quick to re-emphasize that Nintendo GameCube is a game system, though for those who think that NGC’s “bare bottom” initial release forsakes the realm of multi-media applications it simply isn’t the case. Should Nintendo wish to pursue aspects outside of gaming (internet, electronics, hardware) it has a valuable partner in Matsushita.
Is there anything else Nintendo should thank Matsushita for?
Yes, there is one more thing that we know of. Matushita is manufacturing the Nintendo GameCube SD DigiCard, which will be used as a memory card for data storage. Learn more about the card in the Hardware Accessories section.