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"Pay 99 Cents To Make Mario Jump Higher," Hedge Fund Urges

| 26 Feb 2014 17:55
iPhone and Mario

The founder of Hong Kong-based Oasis Management is calling on Nintendo to make a big move into the mobile game business.

Nintendo's forward-looking policy on making games for smartphones is a definite maybe, with a hint of probably not but hey, you never know. Satoru Iwata said late last month that he's not ruling out the possibility, although the likelihood of seeing any Nintendo characters you might actually care about on an iOS or Android device seems pretty remote.

But Oasis Management founder Seth Fischer wants to see it happen, and he's written to Iwata to push the idea, saying that Nintendo has "arguably the largest library of casual games" at its fingertips.

"The same people who spent hours playing Super Mario, Donkey Kong, and Legend of Zelda as children are now a demographic whose engagement on the smartphone is valued by the market at well over $100 billion," he wrote.

Oasis Management owns shares in Nintendo but it's a relative small fry in the business, so it doesn't have enough pull to force the issue. It does, however, hint at growing dissatisfaction among shareholders with Nintendo's financial performance; after years of slapping around Microsoft and Sony, Nintendo suffered a dramatic downturn in its fortunes, first with waning interest in the Wii and then with the launches of the Wii U and 3DS, neither of which have come close to matching the popularity of their predecessors.

Fischer had previously contacted Nintendo with his ideas last June and said he was prompted to reach out again by Facebook's recent $16 billion acquisition of Whatsapp. "We believe Nintendo can create very profitable games based on in-game revenue models with the right development team," he wrote. "Just think of paying 99 cents just to get Mario to jump a little higher."

Source: Wall Street Journal

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