Feb 12th, 2015


While mobile and console gaming are very different markets here in the West, in Japan the popularity of the smartphone as a mobile gaming device has nearly eclipsed the home console. Week after week we see stagnant sales from both the Wii U and the PlayStation 4, while the Nintendo 3DS continues to dominate and hold up well despite being an independent platform. It’s not hard to see why Japanese investors would want Nintendo to consider releasing smartphone apps or games.

President Satoru Iwata has long been resistant to the idea and Japanese publication Nikkei further reports that it’s a topic often brought up in the face of Nintendo’s ailing business. Iwata says as long as he is in charge of the company, it will never embrace smartphone gaming, but that companion apps could become a focal point in the future.

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.

For example, some Nintendo game consoles incorporate Mii, which creates a digital avatar to represent players. It would be fun for players to use their Mii characters as icons on social media. We are currently developing an application that will allow users to do that. The app will be announced around the time our full-year results are released.

It’s hard to imagine Nintendo delivering on these companion apps however, as a Miiverse app designed for smartphones was promised shortly after the service launched and we’ve not seen a dedicated app for either iOS or Android. Of course you can access the site through a browser, but that’s not nearly the same as an application that has all the same functions as the Wii U version of Miiverse.

What do you think? Should Nintendo embrace mobile culture?

local_offer    Nintendo  Satoru Iwata  wii u