Nintendo has always shied away from the mobile gaming market, instead favouring in-house platforms, first-party development and in general a more closed business model.
However, in light of the recent market failings of the new 3DS, the company is now being urged by shareholders to bring their flagship characters and games such as Mario, Metroid and Zelda to portable mediums such as the iPad and iPhone.
“Smart phones are the new battlefield for the gaming industry,” fund manager Masamitsu Ohki said in an interview with Bloomberg. “Nintendo should try to either buy its way into this platform or develop something totally new.”
Games on app markets are relatively cheap and easy to make, and compared to £30 3DS or Wii titles can go for under a pound a pop and reach a massive audience very quickly. Nintendo’s tradition favours the complex and enthralling experience, but with a market offering tens of games for the price of one of theirs, the company needs a change of ideas to avoid further financial blues of late.
However, President of Nintendo Satoru Iwata is adamant to keep Nintendo games on Nintendo platforms, in a display of what could only be called ‘console nationalism’. Although Ninty’s console nationalism has done them many favours in the past, recent events may prove this brave move one of foolishness.
Coupled with the imminent release of Sony’s frankly badass PSVita later this year, Nintendo should really work on sprucing up their approach before anything major goes down in the inevitable Christmas time game purchasing rush.
Could this be the end of a massively profitable run for a major player in the gaming market or a short blip in the long and proud history of one of Japan’s most acclaimed companies?