Despite Apple and two-thirds of the big three creating their own gaming phones, Nintendo is sticking to the DS as its only portable device.
It’d be really cool to talk into Mario’s shoes and listen to friends through his mustache, but Nintendo squashed any dreams of a future Nintendo phone this week. It’ll be the only company on the block not in the cellphone space, with Microsoft launching Windows Phone 7, Sony’s PlayStation phone evidently coming to life, and Apple’s iPhone already taking over the world.
Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime recently talked to Forbes about Sony and Microsoft jumping into the cellphone market, and emphasized that Nintendo also dipping its feet in wouldn’t make much sense. He pointed out that the DS already allows for voice chat in certain games, so the handheld already has the partial functionality of a phone.
Nintendo’s aim is to create a gaming device that can perform multiple other functions, such as becoming a shopping assistant, rather than a phone that can also play games. Fils-Aime said that Nintendo will keep adding unique features to “take away more and more time from competing devices,” but Nintendo’s handhelds will “always lead with games.”
He also puts the upcoming Nintendo 3DS above the average smartphone thanks to its 3D display. “3DS content will be dramatically unique to our platform, because I don’t think a smartphone manufacturer will invest to put a 3D parallax screen in their device and not have the content to bring it to life,” Fils-Aime added.
Thanks to the gaming capabilities of the iPhone and iPad, Nintendo has called Apple the “enemy of the future.” However, rather than slapping Mario’s face on a phone to compete, Fils-Aime says Nintendo’s content will give the company a “long-term competitive advantage” over products such as these.
Nintendo’s philosophy has traditionally been only about creating gaming consoles, even skipping out on putting a DVD player in the Wii as was standard in competitor’s consoles. Nintendo appears to run its own race, rather than jump in on what other companies see as the future. There’s something about the allure of Nintendo as a hardware manufacturer that makes me want to see what kind of phone Nintendo would be able to put together, but I also think it’s pretty smart for the house of Mario to stick to what it knows.