It would be illogical not to make something for mobile, given that it’s outsold dedicated consoles by a large margin, says Iwata.
If you’re a Nintendo fan, then you know its policy on smart device development is murky at best. At one point it was allegedly going to bring demos of its console games to smartphones, then it said it wasn’t making games for smartphones. Now, the latest word from Nintendo’s mountaintop: yes, it might make games for smartphones. Satoru Iwata’s seen the sales figures, and smart devices have outsold dedicated game systems by a large margin. It would be “illogical” not to pursue a smart device market.
“I have not given any restrictions to the development team,” said Iwata, “even not ruling out the possibility of making games or using our game characters.” But if your next thought is its-a me, its-a Mario, wipe any such blasphemies from your mind. Nintendo wants to leverage itself as a hardware and a software maker. It doesn’t see that happening if it starts putting its crown jewels on someone else’s machine, though it does see some benefit to licensing its IP to outside companies, preferably having Nintendo’s characters appear in something other than a video game. That increases global exposure to Nintendo’s characters while not going head-to-head with Nintendo’s products. On smart devices, it would prefer to focus on “achieving greater ties with our consumers,” and intends to release something this year that, it hopes, will do exactly that.
What will that something be? A game, an app, something else? Right now it sounds as if not even Nintendo knows for sure. Iwata promises it’ll be valuable to consumers and unique to the Nintendo brand, but as for what it actually is, all Iwata’s prepared to say is, wait and see.