Nintendo watchers have wondered for years if the company will ever take advantage of its top notch first party games in the ever growing mobile market created by smartphones. But the company has remained adamant that its titles will only appear on Nintendo systems, believing that letting gamers play as Mario, Link or Zelda on a device it doesn’t control could lead to a less than stellar experience.
The Big N has however shown that it does pay attention to the mobile market, just not in the way that many fans and investors would like. The company recently announced Puzzle & Dragons: Super Mario Bros. Edition for the 3DS. Puzzle & Dragons was first released as a mobile title. Just one month after that announcement, company President Satoru Iwata has now dropped additional hints that Nintendo may be looking at additional opportunities to bring smartphone content to the 3DS.
“It is also possible to turn smartphone games from other software makers into 3DS-compatible games and offer them for relatively low prices. We intend to pursue a variety of options. Only those products and services that receive strong support from customers will survive.”
Iwata was then pressed by the reporter on what Nintendo is doing to take advantage of the expanding market for smartphone games. But the Nintendo president again doubled down on the company’s current point of view.
“In the past, I have opposed making smartphone and tablet versions of Nintendo titles. Prices for content aimed at smartphones and tablets are falling quickly. I am still wary of the category. We intend to develop products that will allow customers to identify with Nintendo products and make people pay attention to Nintendo games.”
Iwata did note that the company is working on an app that would let players download their Mii characters onto the smartphone to be used as icons on social media.
So it doesn’t appear that Nintendo is about to change its ways anytime soon. But some investors are chattering online that these developments are at least a sign of progress for the sometimes stubborn Japanese company. The fact that Nintendo was willing to license out Mario to a mobile game developer for Puzzle & Dragons is huge, as it implies that executives now feel that the mobile market is capable of creating top notch games. After all, Nintendo would never give its lead mascot to any company or game that was not worthy.
It would appear from this most recent interview that the company may also be exploring additional ways to license its characters to other companies. Nintendo badly needs this move to work out, as Nikkei reported that the company recently downgraded its forecast for group operating profit in fiscal year 2014 to 20 billion yen, half of its original estimate. Iwata told the publication that the company hopes “to achieve a profit suitable for Nintendo as early as fiscal 2016.”
The New Nintendo 3DS arrives in North America February 13 and will retail for $199.99. Puzzle & Dragons: Super Mario Bros. Edition arrives in Japan on April 29, 2015.
Source: Nikkei Asian Review