In the days of the Game Boy, the idea of a portable telephonic device that also contained a powerful games console was a complete pipe dream, but here in the 21st Century the smartphone market undeniably overlaps with Nintendo's handheld consoles. Never one to be bullied out of its own game, Nintendo has conducted considerable research into mobile phones — research that's still ongoing.
Satoru Iwata responded to a frankly fantastic question pitched at a recent shareholder Q&A that began:
I own some shares but I do not have any Nintendo products. Basically, I think "Games are a waste of time" and, therefore, I would like a product that has value added to it so that even I would buy one.
Undeterred, Iwata touched on Nintendo's thoughts on the smartphone situation, discussing the pros and cons and revealing Nintendo is still yet to decide if it will head down this route:
If we had never considered combining a mobile phone and a handheld device, we would be negligent, but on the other hand, mobile phones are subject to monthly fees and we need to consider how well this would fit with game devices or how we should balance these aspects. Adding to this, mobile phone companies are generally divided by countries and when running a business on a worldwide basis, we need to consider in what conditions can we partner up with mobile phone companies around the world. Please understand that we are still researching these areas.
Last year we reported that Nintendo and Nokia developed a phone concept that failed to get the board's approval. Do you think a Nintendo smartphone would fare better these days?