News Article

Iwata: We Must Make Smart Devices Our Allies, Not Our Enemies

Posted by Orla Madden

Nintendo President addresses the rise of mobile in recent investor Q&A

Nintendo President and CEO Satoru Iwata has spoken during an investor Q&A this week about the challenges Nintendo faces with mobile gaming on the rise.

Iwata noted that devices like tablets and smartphones shouldn't be compared with traditional systems, as dedicated gaming consoles offer “unparalleled fun” that mobile games could never match.

Iwata wasn't totally negative about smartphones and tablet devices, however; he was prepared to admit that these mobile formats have played a fantastic role in sharing content — such as Nintendo Direct news and upcoming software — via the likes of Twitter and Facebook:

For instance, those who are interested in the Animal Crossing series, but are not aware of Nintendo Direct might have seen a tweet about the video and the link to it on their Twitter timeline and actually accessed it on their smartphone. In this context, smartphones are nothing but our friend.

Above all, we have two things to do: to offer consumers gaming experiences which smart devices cannot realize and to actively try to make smart devices our allies, not our enemies.

What are your views on this topic? Does Iwata have a point when it comes to the difference in the quality of gaming on traditional and mobile platforms? Can Nintendo ever harness the power of Android and iOS to help promote its games? Let us know in the comments section, as always.


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User Comments (66)



Hokori said:

Actually yes! Use the smart phones to advertise, as long as they don't make games for the system



nintendoMAN said:

nintendo app for the smart phones. great. invade the phones with advertisements for games!



Rockmirth said:

I like how you get the games on smartphones today, just download a game that takes like 1 min before you can start playing is awesome! but i dont want low quality games like angry birds (no offense) on my 3ds



TysonOfTime said:

Meh? I don't see any need for an effort made on this front...

Maybe a Nintendo App that has trailers, news, Nintendo Directs and stuff? I guess that'd work well...



MrWalkieTalkie said:

Well they do plan on linking Miiverse with phones too to see what people are playing and talk about games.



ReshiramZekrom said:

Yeah! We need an actual official app on smartphones. Maybe an Nintendo Channel app?

I don't have a smartphone (or an iPod Touch, which is basically an iPhone without the phone) but maybe I could trick someone into downloading it... plays evil laugh track on CD



LztheQuack said:

I don't get the unnecessary hate for smart devices. Nintendo fanboys act like it's the plague.

Anyway, a Nintendo app that promotes games might be a neat idea. Or a Pokemon app!



zipmon said:

I remember reading they're gearing up Miiverse for access on smart phones too, which would be great!



R-L-A-George said:

Maybe exclusive emulated demos for 3DS only games? Smartphones are not my enemy, I just find it a bit sad that iPhone games have made the perception of the gaming industry kind of shallow.



rayword45 said:

I'd say a Nintendo Channel would be decent, but there would have to be more appeal then just trailers.

Maybe a short minigame?



R-L-A-George said:

@rayword45 Well in Nintendo Channel on Wii they have DS demos and they also used to have flash emulator in the videogame site that demoed the game.



Gioku said:

I like the idea of a Miiverse app, or a Nintendo Channel or something of the sort. They can just make companion apps for stuff, that'd be great!



DreamOn said:

Nintendo needs door to door salesmen. Come in the home, demo the devices, hand out some eshop DLC promo cards and fulfil console orders. Bam. Or an advertising app on the app stores that people will happen upon but I'm not sure how influencing that would be.



ewaugh said:

the games on the app store r what is bad not the phones but the iphone is still a piece of ...



rayword45 said:

@ewaugh There are plenty of quality games on the App Store/Play Store. The catch is you have to search. World of Goo is a port, but still awesome. Karoshi is pretty fun.



Bankai said:

It's awesome to see Nintendo take a full two years to actually do what I've been saying all along.

So progressive.



WesCash said:

This is Nintendo we are talking about. 2 years is relatively quick for them.

A Nintendo smartphone app that provides info about games and news would be useful to a lot of people. And a good way to get more folks interested in actual game consoles again.



MrWalkieTalkie said:

@TheHermit Didnt they used to do that in commercials when Wii came out? With the asian men in business suits come to someones house and say "Wii would like to play"



Hokori said:

@WhiteKnight I thought you wanted them to sell there products on iPads not advertise them? This is ok, as long as they don't sell there games on iPad



bezerker99 said:

I play chess on my phone, that's about it. The Nintendo Entertainment System has better games to play imo.



Bankai said:

@HarmoKnight that's because you rarely read what I actually say, and just react to what I say.

From the start I've said that the best approach to mobile for Nintendo is as an advertising forum. If Nintendo were to acquire a small mobile development studio - 20-30 people or so, and set them the task of creating branded apps and, yes, minigames featuring Nintendo's characters, not only would those apps be profitable in their own right, but they would encourage smart phone and tablet owners to consider buying consoles for the big-budget Nintendo games.

That's about the point in my argument where "fans" have a cry and assume that minigame development would result in Mario Galaxy 3 being developed on the iPad. Now that Nintendo itself has said this kind of approach is a good idea, though, I fully look forward to every fanboy backflipping and acting like this is the greatest idea ever.



DreamOn said:

@MrWalkieTalkie I never saw those commercials but that's cool.

I want a Nintendo made telly with 3D and buttons and camera and google maps and a music app that'd replace my iPhone in a jiffy.



DarkKirby said:

I would like to take a picture of myself and things in Animal Crossing and show it to people on Twitter. That is my example of working with social networks, allowing and making this process easy.



Freelance said:

I've always said that mobile games and handheld games can co-exist but everytime I say that, I get flamed. Why is that? What is so wrong about it? Oh well.



Moonhillwat said:

"As long as Nintendo doesn't make games for smartphones." - some person near the top of the comments.

Excuse me, why not? I don't see a single reason why Nintendo shouldn't. It will only reach out to people with smartphones and help bridge the gap, not to mention that it could help them develop an interest in other Nintendo games. Sounds like a win-win to me.

Also, remember all the mini games for New Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario 64 DS? Nintendo could fix those up for smartphones, sell them individually, and make a killing.



Bankai said:

@Usagi-san He didn't. He did, however, say that Nintendo will use phones for marketing, and if you look up the concept of "gamification," there are a whole load of ways that Nintendo could creatively entertain, while also informing, its audience. Using games is proven to be one of the most effective ways of advertising now.

I see no reason whatsoever that Nintendo should not acquire a digital agency for gamification purposes.



DrMonk said:

I agree that the quality of smartphone/tablet games generally does not compare. I have dozens and dozens of games on iPhone and iPad that I got free or cheaply, and yet only a handful that have held me for more than an hour. There are rare instances where they work just as well, but they are really limited by both the control interface and the expectations of consumers for cheap and disposable games.



Bankai said:

Dr_Monk: Here's a suggestion for you then; try downloading a smart phone or tablet game that costs more than $10.



Sean_Aaron said:

I'll echo the sentiment that Nintendo Channel as an app would be an excellent idea as would a Miiverse app. Though we have little detail at this time I suspect it will allow communication outside via tweet, Facebook post or email; something that would provide a fuller experience would be better.

And I'll also echo another poster about Pokemon getting the full treatment. I don't think that other Nintendo franchises have as broad an appeal as Pokemon. I'm sure there's parents out there who would rather not get their kids a DS just for that (almost the only thing my daughter plays on hers any more); on the other hand I'd have to fight her for my iPad...



TwilightV said:

Isn't it already confirmed that Miiverse will be accessible to some extent by mobile devices?



GameLord08 said:

It has been confirmed that Miiverse will reach smartphones/tablets, PCs and the 3DS in the near future, so essentially that's what Iwata here is saying - it's not anything new. He's just endorsing the idea further.

On the issue of smartphones/tablets not being able to provide quality gaming experiences, he is sorely mistaken. Sure, mobile platforms aren't all that heavy in that area (seeing as they're overshadowed by poor navigation and an overwhelming flood of crap), but if you take the time to look hard enough, you will find so much sweetness with brilliant gameplay and intuitive control strategies. It's not necessarily unseating handhelds as of now (especially not Nintendo), but it's offering a hearty experience alongside handhelds.

There's a reason a lot of renowned console third-party devs are embracing smartphones and tablets.



goldgin said:

I think it's time for nl to evolve its comment system. Too many conments on a simple topic reduces the will to post.



R-L-A-George said:

@Blizzaga It would make people think you don't have to buy a nintendo system to get Nintendo Games. However releasing a sort demo emulator wouldn't be bad. Releasing demos of eshop exclusives and retail downloads. Though full version iOS and android games would defeat the purpose of Nintendo Games being exclusive.



Hokori said:

@WhiteKnight You just contradicted yourself... ADVERTISING is the only thing I want, but you went around talking about mini games... Mini games is advertising yes, but I mean just full blown trailers and Nintendo Directs, not games since they wouldn't actually work out, and demos wouldn't work either since the controls would be different from iThing to the actual system



Hokori said:

@Blizzaga I said that because as is, people arnt buying the 3DS to play legal emulations of GB games, but instead they don't give a single cent to Nintendo and just play those for free on iPad... Yes they get the Nintendo stuff, but not give credit where credit is due



GameLord08 said:

@HarmoKnight: I know tons of people who bought a 3DS solely to play Virtual Console games for the nostalgia, and I've seen many of them on this site.

Anyway, what I'd love to see Nintendo do is create unique Nintendo IPs on mobile platforms, not bring over their mainstream stuff. They could acquire a small development team (so as not to disrupt internal console development) to create new things for mobile platforms - that way, they can provide different experiences on different platforms, yet still maintain their prrimary exclusivity on their hardware. If anyone will be able to fully utilise combined touchscreen/motion controls in a completely intuitive and innovative way while setting an example to this industry, it's Nintendo.



Hokori said:

@GameLord08 And I know a ton who do it the way I said.... but I'm glad you know people who are better minded then I do, I wish more people would stop thinking about getting free stuff via illegal means, the only free games I got were those 27 games from ninty themselves (20 ambassador, pokedex 3D, ExciteBike, Xevious, Kid Icarus, Swapnote, SMK, Pilotwings)



Bankai said:

@HarmoKnight. I didn't contradict myself in the slightest, and frankly, when I comment I really couldn't care less what you think or want.



Hokori said:

@WhiteKnight This is the part I mean "If Nintendo were to acquire a small mobile development studio - 20-30 people or so, and set them the task of creating branded APPS and, yes, MINIGAMES featuring Nintendo's characters"
And that was after you said all you wanted was advertising, yes apps and minigames are advertising, but like I said a Nintendo Direct app would be all they need, not some flashy new IP that we've been wanting on OUR system or a Mario party.
Also I'm not trying to fight I'm trying to understand so please respond in a possitive manner... arigoto



Bankai said:

Harmoknight - games can be a form of advertising. Nintendo could leverage its brands like Mario and DK as mini games to promote those brands to non-gaming consumers with iPhones.

As I said before - look up concepts like 'gamification.' there is no reason for Nintendo to not use the mass audience for phones and tablets to further promote its brands and, in turn, sell extra consoles.



aaronsullivan said:

MiiVerse on my iPhone and iPad ASAP. With the features that make sense there anyway.

I do wonder if Nintendo could start tying apps playable on other devices to Nintendo hardware ownership. I don't know. Somethings gotta give eventually. I'd also enjoy a Nintendo hardware attachment to iPhone or specific Android Phones that ALSO allows for genuine Nintendo software to be played... many compromises and difficulties with something like that, though. I'm just not sure how long the separate game device can coexist with these smart phones without a giant hardcore/casual divide emerging.

So far, I think Nintendo is making the right choices, though.



Araknie said:

That's what i always tought Nintendo is not in competition with smart phones.

If you think so go play Super Maria Land. XD



erv said:

They are competition alright. They just can't provide a huge part of the complete experience, with all the restless quick app switching instead of just enjoying gaming quality time.

It is there where nintendo should harness them as media, and compete with them on games. They'll win it out as long as there's significant more immersion and fun on their system.



Ernest_The_Crab said:

@WhiteKnight Haven't seen you in awhile. It could work, using minigames to advertise but they've also got to make sure not to dilute their brands. Mario does come to mind but honestly he could use a break for now. Unfortunately, he's also the best IP to be advertising with.

Didn't Iwata mention something about buying games for the eShop from our mobile devices awhile ago? He might be making these comments in preparation for the release of that app.



Azooooz said:

Nice thinking from Nintendo, in my opinion. As everybody said, they should use smart devices to advertise instead of publishing games.



TrueWiiMaster said:

A Nintendo Channel app would be awesome. I'd love a convenient way to access news and videos, though I think they should keep all games and demos limited to their own systems. Plus, didn't they already confirm some sort of Nintendo App in the video with the action figure? You know, when one guy was drinking coffee while following what his friend was doing on the Wii U?

One thing they could do with smartphones is make use of Nintendo Zone. I don't know about anyone else, but I haven't found much use for it. I'm not going to stand in Best Buy to watch episodes of Pokemon. Why not make 4G phones (the ones that can connect other devices) Nintendo Zone hot spots, maybe exclusively with one service provider? I mean, that would be possible right? You can already use them to connect to the internet with your DS/3DS after all.




I agree that console games always have and likely always will provide the best gaming experiences out there, however it cannot be denied that mobile gaming using a smartphone is on the rise. I don't think it will ever replace consoles, so I see no harm in using them for apps, as many people have suggested Nintendo Channel app would be well suited to an iPhone, or the Mario Kart Channel would be great to check stats(as would Wii Fit/Plus/U)



FonistofCruxis said:

@WhiteKnight Many casual gamers are satisfied with just playing on their smartphones for a few minutes and not playing anything else so if Nintendo did release mini-games on the app store, there's a chance some people might just buy the mini-games and not the games these mini-games are supposed to be advertising.



scrubbyscum999 said:

Nobody has said they hate smartphones, just no games on them. Of course Nintendo should use them for advertising, news, and what not. They shouldn't jeopardize their monopoly on their exclusive titles, which they won't.



Bankai said:

@59 and Nintendo would never have been able to convince those people to buy a console. So at lease then Nintendo would have made $0.99 from that customer.

And, importantly, kept the investors happy. The investors give Nintendo more money than you or I could ever do.



Hokori said:

@WhiteKnight But it might also make it so people stop buying the real consoles because they'll be like "Mario for 99 cents OMG I don't have to waste my $ on 3D Land or Galaxy 3" and before you say anything Nintendo works hard and spends a lot of $ on making there games meaning .99 wouldn't give them much despite the investors. Here's a plan sell VC G&W games, NES, GB, and SNES games for $4, $8, $8, and $12 respectfully on iThings that way if someone want to save $ they'll have to buy the legit system



Henmii said:

"try to make smart devices our allies, not our enemies"

Friendship is give and take, and you can be sure that Apple and co only want to take! Just let them rot!!



DarkNinja9 said:

yeah i agree a nintendo app that only shows trailers,news and nintendo direct stuff other wise they will ruin it i wouldnt want to see games for the phones from nintendo -_-




Nintendo is a game publisher and like other game publishers, they should feel free to be able to publish games for smartphones, as well as their own consoles. They could cross publish smaller games across smartphones and the eShop for smaller experiences. Anyone ever tried Paper Airplane Chase? Games like that could be great on mobile devices, and would provide additional revenue for Nintendo as well.



MAB said:

Iwata uses investor meetings to leave nice meaty portions of troll bait give this man a beer... Keep up the good work mate



SCAR said:

"Man, I really want to look up Nintendo stuff on my smartphone, and all I have is the internet browser... hmmm, maybe I should pay that $1-5 for that app that lets me dl demos, trailers, and other MONTHLY goodies like free DLC of sorts. Wait a minute, now that I think about it, my smartphone has shared Wi-Fi capabilities that can help me connect my 3DS or any other device, even if I'm at home so I can claim the FREE goodies only that app provides as a service, and dl them quicker using my home Wi-Fi!"

-Me(in the future?)

@WhiteKnight I know that some people have already had this idea(including you), but I still don't have a smartphone, and I don't really need one really. It would be nice, but this was Nintendo's idea obviously as a COMPANY decision to allow this. It wouldn't have mattered if you had this idea before smart devices, because they weren't there to even comprehend. 'Nuff said... you know?

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