With development costs for 3DS software as much as triple that of DS games, does mobile gaming pose a threat to Nintendo's business plans? Following Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata's comments on mobile phone manufacturers and popular social utility networks at this year's Game Developers Conference, 3DS project leader Hideki Konno shares his thoughts on what Nintendo will or will not be competing with.
In an interview conducted by Gamasutra, Konno spoke about the many alternatives to the digital games provided by Nintendo's own download services:
So now in terms of one dollar games, or free games, or whatever that is out there in the market, I mean, really, we're not going to be competing with that... We're not going to try to match that; we're just going to continually strive to not just maintain, but increase, the quality of the entertainment that we're providing, and let it sort itself out. Again, we're not worried about competing at a price point level.
Believing that this is Sony, and Microsoft's opinion on the matter as well, Konno offers a high-production game like a Call of Duty title as an example of how the consumer will get what they pay for. If such a game was made available for a low purchase price, Konno admits he'd be excited but also skeptical:
I just don't think that you could make a game that's immersive and as big as, let's say Call of Duty, or any other large title, and sell it at that price point; it's just not possible... The only way that you're going to get a game at that price point is if it's a limited version with limited levels or something," he said. "They're going to have to reduce it to sell at that price. So that other game — because the content is valuable — it's still going to be a viable product at a higher price point.
Noting that if Nintendo released one of its big titles at a cheap price like say ¥100 JPY, the number of sales needed to make a return would be "insane". Recognising that mobile gaming is a different market to the one that Nintendo platforms are competing in, Konno addresses his hopes and wishes as a developer, and as a consumer:
As a game developer I've put my heart into what I create, and I'm hoping that what I'm putting out there is something that people will be engaged by and entertained by... And as a consumer, I want the same thing. If I go and I see a game that interests me and I think I want to play it, I don't mind the fact that I have to pay a reasonable price for it... I'm not trying to say that I think games on cell phones are a bad thing; I'm not trying to say that they're worthless, or have no value at all. I'm just saying that they're just different.