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Why Nintendo Will Never Go Mobile

by Thomas Nixon
Nintendo

Doesn’t it bug you when you ask someone if they play video games and they respond with, “Oh yeah, TOTALLY! I play Angry Birds all the time!” No. NO. WRONG. Or is it? If you mention Angry Birds to someone, I’m pretty sure that they would respond saying that they knew what it was rather than if you asked any old person if they had heard of something like Kid Icarus. A travesty? Yes, that may be. But, the mobile industry is certainly doing something right. And we’re seeing HUGE companies head that way. Take Sega and Square-Enix, for example. Sonic the Hedgehog is dominating the App Store with hits like Sonic Jump and Sonic Dash, which are iOS exclusives. We’re also seeing ports of Sonic 4 for the iPhone and iPad which were also on the Wii Shop Channel. Square-Enix ported the entire DS masterpiece The World Ends With You completely and 100% for iOS, so where’s my Nintendo games? Super Mario? Where’s Zelda? Hopefully staying away from mobile devices for as long as possible.

Nintendo

 

Nintendo Will Never Go Mobile On Phones

It’s no surprise that the Wii U sold below expectations. So with gaming on mobile devices becoming increasingly possible, wouldn’t it make sense to shift over to a successful means of playing games? No. NO AND NO AND NO. Nintendo’s very old-school, which I admire. I’m very much the same way. For years, gamers have understood that you must own Nintendo hardware to be able to play Nintendo games. Nintendo is also all about branding and has cited two very specific reasons as to why it will never leak over into the mobile industry. That’s why they said-

 

“Performance is temporarily getting better, you can’t get a true feel for Mario on smartphone or tablet, and this would also lead to a decrease in brand value over the long term.”

 

BRAND VALUE. Nintendo’s all about that. Why would Nintendo offer up such a legendary IP such as Super Mario to various systems? Simple, they wouldn’t. Mario is, as I said, arguably the most legendary name in the gaming industry and it all comes down to equity. Clearly, Mario is a well known brand so it makes absolutely no sense to place him on iOS. Mario will always generate more money than something like Angry Birds simply because it’s Mario. Also, how would Nintendo be expected to stay in the gaming business if it were to give away its most famous IPs to one of its rivals? No sense. NONE. I feel as though that’s a perfectly fine business decision, and I honestly have a TON of respect for it.

If you didn’t know by now, the big N’s developers are perfectionists. I can confidently say that I have never once in my life played a bad Mario platformer. And that’s because the controls are so crisp and feel just right. The games are designed to be played with a controller (or WiiMote) in hand and have been addressed as such. I mean, Masahiro Sakurai of Smash Bros fame SPECIFICALLY designed Super Smash Bros Brawl to be played with the GameCube controllers and worked tirelessly to get the game just right for that exact control scheme. Clearly, Nintendo is all about that indescribable “feel” of playing a platformer or slashing through enemies as Link. So, playing it on a tablet is just undoubtedly wrong.

Now, in my opinion, selling out to mobile devices is a sign of weakness and would show that handheld devices like the 3DS would be leaning toward becoming obsolete. Nintendo is incredibly prideful of their work and products. Satoru Iwata even admittedly said that Nintendo would make profits from mobile games. Moving to these mobile devices would showcase Nintendo’s struggle in the industry and would call for the virtual white flag. The day that Nintendo sells out to mobile devices is the same day that handheld devices will die out. Why even buy a 3DS when you can get a game on your phone?

I’ll leave you with one last example. Capcom and Mega Man. Mega Man is extremely popular and cherished among gamers. Some may even call his games the best! But look at what happened when Capcom went and loaded up the iOS with games like Mega Man 2 and Mega Man X. We hadn’t seen a home console release of the blue bomber in an extremely long time and many fans thought that the franchise had died. Thank goodness we can rely on our favorite company Nintendo to bring him back the way we was meant to be through the upcoming Smash Bros. How fitting! I personally never want to see Nintendo games as something available on the App Store. I wholeheartedly admire Nintendo’s pride in making games on their own consoles and will continue to buy them in such a manner as the years go on.

What are your opinions on mobile devices? Do you want to see Nintendo shift into the mobile scene?

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1 comment

Avatar of mohseen lala
Mohseen Lala August 3, 2013 - 10:39 pm

I agree and disagree with you on this a issue. I’m on board with the
idea of Nintendo keeping its best franchises glued to its own handhelds
and consoles. No argument from me on that end. You’re over 9000% right.
However,
I do not agree with you on the matter of Nintendo completely ignoring
the mobile gaming market, which is as I see it, a huge potential source
for income and good PR Nintendo is pissing away simply becasue of its
pride. Which may I remind you, is the current reason for its rapid
downfall. 
Anyway, my point is, Nintendo could use the mobile
market to branch out with some new IPs, there’s only so much Mario I 
can stomach, even Naughty Dog had the common sense to end Jack and
Daxter/ Crash Bandicoot once people had their fill of it. Nintendo could
bring a new game IP, perfectly and obsessively articulated for
smartphones and devices, and rake in a ton of cash.
Nintendo never
takes risks, it never puts itself out there, never provides fresh
experiences. That “play it safe as humanly possible” policy is costing
them an arm and a leg right now, just as it did Square Enix this
generation. If old is gold, let me tell you this, it’s fool’s gold my
friend.
Putting a game on IOS doesn’t make it Apple’s, the developer’s brand takes all the recognition home. 

Anyway, that was my two cents; I need coffee.

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