A conversation between the designer and the customer.
Over the last ten years, I have noticed that the most successful companies in the consumer tech space are the ones that are able to maintain a dynamic “conversation” with their customers, be it through regular OS updates, annual iteration/overhauls in product design, and though delightful features and functions that address customer needs and desires. Apple has established an annual rhythm; their conversations are both delightful and filled with a contagious passion.
It is the same with games. I am convinced that Nintendo will continue to thrive as long as the “conversation” between their game designers and the players remain as delightful as it has been up to now. Their established Mario/Zelda/Kirby/Pokémon IP means that they already share a common vocabulary with their fanbase, upon which to build more exciting and fun conversations. A more literal example of this conversation is their popular interviews, “Iwata Asks”.
What ramifications does this have for CEOs? Make sure that your engineers/designers are given the freedom to communicate effectively with the customer! Let them talk to the customers through thoughtful design choices. Be sensitive to the rhythm of the conversation that is always happening between them and the users.