It’s a tough time to be Nintendo lately, and a recent report by Bloomberg suggests Nintendo’s shareholders are angry about their business model. It’s no secret that sales of Nintendo’s Wii and 3DS gaming consoles are struggling as of late. And with the gaming industry less-than-impressed with the upcoming WiiU console, it appears shareholders want to see Nintendo take the business in a slightly different direction.
Seeing exponential growth in mobile gaming, Nintendo’s shareholders want Nintendo to begin developing games for mobile platforms, such as Android and iOS, in hopes of capturing a significant portion of this undertapped market. Though for now Nintendo seems to be balking at the idea, it’s puzzling as to why they’re doing so. As mobile smartphone devices continue to penetrate the market (with as many as 50% of new handsets purchased being smartphones), the same casual gamers that made the Wii console such a success are getting their fix of casual games by playing the likes of Angry Birds or Plants vs. Zombies on their Android or iOS devices.
With this trend toward mobile gaming, it’s unclear whether or not Nintendo will enjoy the same level of success with their upcoming WiiU as they’ve seen with the original Wii console. If casual gamers start replacing their gaming consoles with mobile devices, the stockholders may have a point; there may be a strong impetus on Nintendo to change their business strategy, if they’re going to continue to stay relevant in the gaming industry.
Nintendo’s games are household names, and you don’t have to look too far to find someone who grew up on the popular Mario or Zelda Nintendo games. Nintendo could make a killing by simply revamping some of the already-existing games from these series and optimizing them for tablets and smartphones. How many of you out there really wouldn’t pay $5-$10 to be able to play the Ocarina of Time on your device?
Sure, there are emulators out there that already allow you to do this, but Google is slowly but surely removing these applications from the Android market. Staples from the earlier days of Android such as NESoid, SNESoid, Gameboid and newer services like PSX4Droid and N64oid all were pulled by Google in recent months.
Better yet, what if Nintendo fully embraced mobile and jointly developed Android and iOS versions of the games they were working to bring to the Wii and 3DS? Would you pay $15-20 for a hot, new, high-quality Nintendo game? Depending on the game, I sure as heck would, and I bet several of you out there would as well.
So what do others in the industry think Nintendo should do?
VentureBeat is taking the side of the stakeholders, arguing that Nintendo should fully embrace mobile if they are to succeed in the next generation of gaming. They go on to argue that Nintendo could take a two-tiered approach, saving the awesome games for the 3DS, where gamers are willing to spend $30-40 on a game, and build mobile games starring lesser-known characters, such as Wario and Bowser, for iOS and Android.
I agree that Nintendo should still invest time and money creating unique game experiences for 3DS. But the company needs to sell on the iPhone and Android too.Sean LudwigVentureBeat
TechCrunch is staunchly in Nintendo’s camp on this one, arguing that the shareholders are simply panicking as though they were Wall Street traders and that Nintendo can survive on the nostalgia and maintaining exclusivity on the Mario and Zelda games they’ve made so popular.
So what are shareholders really saying? To use a sports analogy, they’re telling Nintendo to trade their best players because of a down season. Nintendo’s real treasure isn’t the hardware or even the software, per se. It’s the good will, brand awareness, and nostalgia associated with their top games. Nintendo has more console exclusives than any other device manufacturer and they’re going to keep it that way for as long as they can, investors (hopefully) be damned.John BiggsTechCrunch
Honestly, I can see this one going either way. Though I think we can all agree that having Nintendo-backed games hit Android would be a welcome boost to Android gaming (and a time where we’d finally see games hit the market that are worth $10+), it is unclear whether or not Nintendo truly needs to go mobile in order to survive.
For now, it appears Nintendo is less than enthusiastic to move into the mobile market, other than what they’re doing with the 3DS. Perhaps in time we will see our beloved Nintendo games make their way onto Android, but I don’t think we’ll see this anytime before mid-2012 (if at all).
Where do you guys stand on this? Would you like to see Nintendo port some of its more popular games to Android? Would you be willing to spend $5 – $10 for a beloved Mario or Zelda game? Would you be interested to see some new Nintendo games developed specifically for Android/mobile? Let us know in the comments.