News Article

Rumour: Nintendo Helping Developers to Convert Smartphone Games to Wii U

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

A smart idea, or a bit phoned in?

As a new financial year picks up steam, and with Nintendo no doubt co-ordinating efforts ahead of a major Wii U marketing push in the coming months, we're likely to see a variety of initiatives to assist the home console. One that's being reported by the media in Japan is that Nintendo's providing developers with tools that'll allow quick, easy conversions of smartphone titles to the system.

In one sense this isn't surprising, as there have been repeated noises from Nintendo about not only supporting smaller developers, but providing the infrastructure and pricing freedom for a variety of projects. Satoru Iwata has spoken about new offerings in free-to-play and subscription models being on the agenda, while there's been a lot of positive noise about Unity engine and Web Framework support, all with the intention of welcoming any and all developers interested in working on the system. We've also seen one former smartphone game on the Wii U eShop, with Neko Entertainment doing a rather good job of sprucing up and enhancing Kung Fu Rabbit.

These fresh comments, attributed to "company sources" by The Japan Times, refer to "professional-use conversion software" for moving smartphone games onto Wii U, potentially taking down development barriers of catering a game engine for the system's infrastructure. If a number of smartphone developers did take this on it could lead to a greater momentum for the eShop, and potentially bring quickly ported games more naturally suited to the GamePad and its touch screen, rather than the TV. That latter part is speculation, but we wouldn't rule out Nintendo looking to utilise the controller as a more stand-alone device in the home, to diversify content and help attract gamers more familiar with phones and tablets.

It may be that this new tool, if it's as reported, could simply speed up development of some kinds of games that would find their way to the eShop naturally. If smartphone developers do get attracted to quick and easy ports to another platform, however, it could see a shift in the eShop's dynamic.

We'd love to know what you think of this report, and its potential impact on the Wii U eShop in particular, in the comments below.


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User Comments (88)



Wiidsguy said:

I'm happy to hear if this is true. One if they are helping out that is just neat to hear. Two the more games the better. Also there are some really fun smartphone games that I would love to play with buttons and a d pad. Hope this news is true.



dumedum said:

either way, the GamePad is only at its beginnings. In the future there will be multiple gamepads and possibly some sort of amplifier to play further, who knows. It is an incredible screen.



AlternateButtons said:

Hmmm.....VERY interesting. And quite ingenious actually. If this is true then it could DRASTICALLY improve the eShops popularity, especially if its games are eShop exclusive (as in not sold in retail) Imagine Angry Birds on Wii U? I personally hate the game but it could be a big hit with Wii U owners who just want some casual play. And of course, it would appeal to the casual gamer crowd immensely with the easy, mindless games its bound to dish out. I think this would absolutely help Wii U sales and eShop sales. Here's hoping this one is true!



Zyph said:

I don't like how some people say that Nintendo is already pushed to the point of desperation because of something like this. I mean c'mon, this must've been in the works for some time now and it's a good business opportunity for them. It's great they're reaching out to different kinds of developers out there that they can potentially do good business with, with or without the sales momentum they wanted for Wii U.



robbleshague said:

Would love Wii U versions of some of the iOS shooters. Raiden Legacy, Blazing Star and all that.

Ooh, and a Wii U Ridiculous Fishing too - With the gamepad held vertically and the TV screen remaining above water.

Getting pointlessly jazzed about games that likely won't happen is a pastime of mine!



MrWalkieTalkie said:

Nintendo games, 3rd Party games, Indie games, and now even Tablet games! The Wii U is becoming the perfect system for all games out there!



rjejr said:

If this is big or not probably depends on the pricing. If Nintendo insists that .99 cent games need to be $9.99 then it won't help. I think I've played every ititeration of Angry Birs (not the new "Friends" one yet) but I'm never ever not ever going to pay $30 for it. Or even $20 on sale.

So yes, bring on the games, the more games the better, but they have to be fairly - equally - priced. And free if need be. The only game I played this weekend was Puzzles and Dragons which is free but strangely addictive.



Ichiban said:

So instead of crafting some new ip's, Nintendo is wasting its time and resources getting mobile phone games ported to the Wii U?!
Ugh....i miss the SNES era Nintendo....



Smitherenez said:

@Squiggle55 I was thinking of the same thing. But since the games get ported over to wiiU hardware, the developers will be able to use buttons instead.



tsm7 said:

This is widely being reported as a "desperate move" by Nintendo to help their "flagging system. While, I don't think Nintendo is in complete panic mode, I'm fine with this choice. It may lead to more gamepad only games that were shown at e3 and then never spoken of again. However, I hope they still scrutinize games whit quality control because there is a lot of crap on phones.



Nintendo4Lyfe said:

I hope that rumor is true. Nintendo is truly pushing the envelope in more ways than one. The Wii U is, IMHO, the Super NES of 2013!



IxnayontheCK said:

@rjejr Thats gonna be the thing, people arent gonna want to be paying $10 for something was orig .99 A slight increase to maybe 2.99 but 7.99 or above ain't happening...



sonicfan1373 said:

It is nice that they are doing this for the eShop (if the rumours are true that is). I am hoping to see Plants VS. Zombies on Wii U and a newer version for the 3DS but seeing how PopCap is now owned by EA I really do not hold out much hope of that happening (plus EA is probably working on adding micro-transactions into Plants VS. Zombies 2 which would be a waste).



DualWielding said:

I've said it many times already, Nintendo expected NIntendo Land and the gamepad to take off like wii-motes and wii-sports U now that they realize that's not gonna happen they are panicking and trying everything to see if something can take the console off...



citizenerased said:

I'd love it if this works out, I pick indie titles over multi-platforms 9 out of 10 times. That being said, Nintendo fans don't seem to eager to get online or support third parties, so maybe it's just a nice bonus rather than a console-saving measure.



MrWalkieTalkie said:

Nintendo isn't desperate, they're getting with the times. They know that people want more hardcore titles, and they're working on getting them. But they also must continue to appeal to casuals. And they can't ignore the popularity of smartphone games, so instead of competing with them, why not work with them too?



jorgem696 said:

This sounds great especially for the kids who always get a bunch of apps that they dont even play in the app store and imagine the e'shop it's going to be great



SteveW said:

I disagree about "the more games the better". People complained about all the shovelware on the Wii, do you not realize that the IOS market is 99% shovelware? it could hurt the e-shop overall if we are flooded with crap. I have an ipad and there are definitely some good games but they are in the minority.



aaronsullivan said:

Once developers are approved have bought Wii U Dev kits anything developed with Unity ( — there's a fairly large percentage of mobile games that are-- is going to be able to transition to the Wii U with few technical issues. It will more be a matter of matching to the platform gameplay-wise and maybe upping the fidelity of the visuals.

I understand the concern over shovel ware, but follow a site like TouchArcade for a few weeks. There are interesting and high-quality games every week. Often multiple and almost never none. The biggest thing holding those games back is lack of traditional controls for the games that would benefit from them. If Nintendo is careful enough, there is a gold mine there.



Luis_Gimpy said:

@MeowGravy @MrWalkieTalkie
They have several IPs in the works im not allowed to talk about because i dont know. but im sure they have their research team building quality games. this obviously proves they know how to code and make fabulous options available to their customs. also, dont buy the games if you don like them. wait for the first party stuff. you know they will be good.



Dpullam said:

I'm completely fine with this as long as the mobile games have the content to back it up. As almost everyone knows, quite a few mobile games are meant to be picked up and played for 5 minutes while waiting for a bus rather than be played for extended sessions. As long as we get some lengthy games as well as pick up and play games I encourage Nintendo's strategy for the Wii U. Oh, and it helps if the games don't suck too.



shingi_70 said:


Oh snap your right. I mean who in their right mind would something built off of Madden 2012 just with roster changes. Its not like a new madden game is coming this year for current gen consoles as well as next ones as well.




shingi_70 said:


You mean the finical state of the company that will put the game on
Xbox 360
Windows phone
Blackberry 10
Next box

Yet somehow doesn't have enough capital to do a cheap ass port to Nintendo systems like past iterations.



aaronsullivan said:

Resources are being spent on this, to be sure, but it's the kind that can pay off immensely over the years. This is less about ongoing development as it is paving an easier way for more developers to bring games to the Wii U. In other words, it's the kind of spending that is a tiny, tiny fraction of internal game development.



aaronsullivan said:

EA tried pretty hard to find a successful in-road to Wii with all of it's Sim games and then Nintendo spurned them somehow after the "unprecedented partnership" thing. EA seems to be making a big gamble that Wii U will tank. So far, EA must be feeling pretty good about its decision. I hope they are wrong.



GraveLordXD said:

@Sony_70 they will for sure make money off the other systems probably loose money porting it to the wii u with a smaller install base than all the other systems and nothing is mentioned about it being on nextbox or ps4 yet so what are you talking about? If it was Microsoft they would just throw cash at them to make it happen, my point is EA can't afford to loose anything right now so why gamble with the wii u?



SteveW said:

I've been reading Toucharcade for a couple of years. They do pick out some of the better games but for every good game there are about 100 bad games released that they don't bother with. People don't realize the huge amount of garbage released every day until you use appshopper or something that lists all the releases real time.

The few "quality" games release on Wednesday nights, most of those I don't even care for because I'm not into endless runners, etc... The rest of the week is mostly garbage that is made with game makers, etc...

Sure, IOS has a lot of good games, currently 1,181,386 apps total but with 99% of them being crap how many good ones will we really get? the major game publishers for ipad, EA, Rockstar, Gameloft, etc... are already able to make Nintendo games when they want to... so who exactly is Nintendo helping? hopefully some worthy companies. I also don't want all the fremium crap.



shingi_70 said:


Its pure logic. Both the 360 and PS3 got madden sorts games upon launch that while being more stripped down compared to the last gen games had online play and a big visual upgrade.

This is the same EA who has all but confrumed that Battlefield is going to be on next gen consoles as well. We already have news that the Tiger woods series was shuttered so a next gen version could be worked on.Ea has had PS4/Durango Dev kits since roughly around E3 2011.

It also wouldn't be Microsoft or Sony paying since this was on EAs roadmap for a while and the Wii U wasn't. Almost every major game coming up will be on every platform and EA is known to rest the series since next gen gets here. (Though it won't be such a great extent this time).



xtndedPlay said:

People are citing this as desperation by Nintendo. Nintendo has stated they want to be the center of the home entertainment. I do not see PS4 or Nextbox able to pull this off with their hardware. Think about it, a single unit that can play console, eshop & tablet/phone games. This is also a way to reach back out to the casual gamer with tablet/phone games while being able to pour resources into hardcore and 1st party. I agree with others who have stated that it will be nice to have physical controls on tablet/phone games where they have been needed. Imagine the Final Fantasy 2 sequel back on a Nintendo system. RPG controls on tablets/phones are not very good. Customers will get this without having to purchase yet another specialized gaming phone/tablet or a special attachment for already owned tablets. The hardware is already in the Wii U to push the software and accesses a library that even Ouja/Steam cannot by having access to Nintendo 1st Party and cell/tablet market. If support is there, this is a win for Nintendo.



marck13 said:

Desperation? What are those people talking about? It was clear from me from minute 1 that this opportunity will be explored as well. The Wii U is THE console that will right cut into the smartphone market and less the other way around!



GraveLordXD said:

@Sony_70 EA was also in a way better financial situation when the ps3 and 360 launched back in 2005-2006 now they have to pick and choose and to them apparently madden on wii u don't make sense business wise either way I COULD care less madden to me is a dying franchise and EA is a dying company let me just dig one big hole and bury them both



shingi_70 said:


The term is couldn't care less.

Any who EA still makes a lot of money and with good cost cutting measures and a few hits they can stay at #2 behind Activision. Also Madden is far from a dying franchise, its not at FIFA levels but no one expects it too be and the game still makes a lot of money.

Also I find it odd how gamers talk about companies profitabilitesa despite not knowing that much. I mean going by what I hear from gamers every company not Activation/Nintendo or Microsoft should be dead.



GraveLordXD said:

@Sony_70 I did say to me that madden is a dying franchise being my own opinion because it's the same damn game every year and I fixed my post for you just to make you happy thanks for telling me how to say it (my way) and yeah EA should be dead also my opinion



SteveW said:

If Microsoft were just a game/console company they would have been dead years ago. Sometimes I think they keep throwing money at their console business for just reputation alone, they want to be at the top regardless of the cost. Nintendo has to earn their success in the console world.



shingi_70 said:


But madden isn't a dying series. I won't Argus it being the same thing every year because I agree on a base level it is (which is why I buy sports games every single year expect FIFA 13!) But the series isn't dying. I'd call it stagnate at nest due to this being such a long generation and no real hype in RL football right now. Plus EA needs some competition and hopefully not having a Wii U game means they get the NFL lisence took away from them..

My feelings for EA aside I don't think they have done anything deserving of death and millions of probable good people losing their jobs.



Farmboy74 said:

As already mentioned price is going to be a factor here, no one will pay double the price they would pay on android & IOS. Also anyone who wants physical controls for these games has already a number of solutions and some smartphones can connect to your TV already giving you another "console". I don't know who this is aimed at.



SteveW said:

I used to love EA but I really think it's time for them to go away... they have done nothing right lately (Sim City's DRM for example) and their future is scary...



shingi_70 said:


Mist of the top teor smart phone games are $4-$10 which is inline with the eshop pricing model. I'd pay full price for some of gameloft games and even pay for the ones free on mobile platforms to get rid of the microtranstion junk.



SteveW said:

No TV solution works well... airplay is just horrible for games, way too much lag. I do like the bluetooth controllers like the 8 Bitty (the NES like icade controller) but only a few games support it. Somehow adding 15 lines of code to your game to support it is too difficult for most developers.



GraveLordXD said:

@Sony_70 yeah in all honesty I wouldn't want people put in that situation losing jobs that's not good for anyone and stagnant is a better choice of words for it , I haven't played madden since 2009 and have a feeling I haven't missed much



Farmboy74 said:

Yeah Kung Fu Rabbit got a number of tweaks namely Hd resolution, physical controls and they removed the IAP'S.


At last count there were about 100 games that worked with the Icade (according to touch arcade forum), with android controller support getting up to decent numbers as well


Agreed on the IAPs, one of the biggest cons going. Ruined many a good game.

But any game can be configured to physical controls on IOS (jailbreak) or android providing your desperate enough



shingi_70 said:

Downloaded real racing 3 on my nexus 7 and the IAp were near offensive. I deleted it and bought Real Racing 2 for $5 so I wouldn't have to deal with that.



SteveW said:

Yeah but out of the 280 games I own there are only 2 games that work with it (only 100 games out of hundreds of thousands supporting something isn't good support). There are tons of new games that would benefit with it but the developers usually just say "I'll think about it"....



LittleIrves said:

If they curate the shop and promote the few iOS/Android ports that are high-quality, this could be a great option.... the one thing Wii U has that other consoles don't is the GamePad. And with the 2nd screen in your hands, it makes sense to offer a variety of short, cheap titles people want to play in-between commercials or while watching TV. Can't do that with XBLA or PSN games.

So if Nintendo can have the longer, substantial "traditional" games on their system PLUS the shorter, throwaway titles (for an adequate price) then they cover two markets at the same time. This is not desperation; this is a smart and savvy business decision. Hope it pans out.



JuanitoShet said:

SMAAAAART move, Nintendo. I look forward to this. If done right, it could spell success. :B



bunnyking said:

This is how it should have been in the beginning, I don't know why my Wii U doesn't support Java or Flash 5. This is something that should have been integrated since the start, and it would have given this system a huge boost, especially if Nintendo fronted the tools to game developers and gaming sites like



bunnyking said:

Also it was mentioned that cell phones and tablets may dominate the portable gaming market by 2017. I think it already does. Perhaps Nintendo's next portable console will be more tablet like. I think the gamepad was a great start but do we need joysticks and buttons anymore?



Farmboy74 said:


IAP in Real Racing 3 are offensive, so offensive I didn't even consider downloading it, sticking with Real Racing 2 which I've had sometime now


If your on IOS I suggest the touch arcade Icade compatibility forum list. For example Blazing Star, Raiden Legacy, Warblade, Meganoid, Alien Breed.


Touchscreen gaming does work for games built around touchscreen, but for FPS, third person shooters and fighting games for the love of god we need joysticks and buttons!



BestBuck15 said:

I agree, I think Iwata has lost the plot and I hope he resigns soon because the direction he is bringing Nintendo is ridiculous, all he cares about is the casual gamer.



UnseatingKDawg said:

@bunnyking: "Do we need joysticks and buttons anymore?"

I would thinks so, considering that you can't have true analog control with a touch screen; Super Mario 64 DS is a prime example. Might be dated, but it's still a good example.



ecco6t9 said:

This is a great move. There are a number of fantastic iOS/Android games that would be more enjoyable with buttons.



Wiidsguy said:

@SteveW sorry. I did not know I would have to say the more good games the better. If nintendo is helping devs bring games to the eshop I would think they would be helping good games come to the platform. Also I would be careful about what we call shovelware one man's trash is another man's Zelda or Mario. People will buy what they want and enjoy many different things. I will stand by that the more games the better. But I will say the more good gamesis always better.



ledreppe said:

Sounds like a smart move on Nintendo's behalf, drawing in the tablet and smartphone drones to the Wii U gamepad with some tablet style games. I wouldn't mind trying a few of them myself.



MadAdam81 said:

@ferthepoet They were so desperate they built a time machine to start this during console development. This is not something you can do in 6 months.

Some smartphone games or developers I would love to see on Wii U - Fruit Ninja, Kairosoft games, Kindle and other ebook readers, Temple Run, Angry Birds (and sequels and spin-offs - Bad P9iggies would translate very well), Death Rally and Star Traders (off the top of my head).



MadAdam81 said:

@BestBuck123 Consoles are being replaced by smartphones & tablets as the number one gaming device. If Nintendo can cater both casual and hardcore gaming markets, they will be king once again.



GamerJunkie said:

These games cost .25 cents and .99 cents on indie steam bundles and on google play store.

Why would I buy them on Wii U for probably $5-20?



Boofonater001 said:

If they only do the top mobile games like Angry Birds and Temple Run. I think it could turn out to be a great oppertuity for Nintendo.



Henmii said:

They better get lots of great third-party RETAIL games on the console!!



BestBuck15 said:

I totally disagree with that opinion and I for one won't ever be replacing my consoles with a smart phone, which I have but do not play games on. I think its complete BS all this talk about smart phones and tablets replacing consoles. Sony & MS don't seem to bothered about it, its only Nintendo that's obsessing. Iwata probably has kids that play on iPad so he thinks its the way forward. I hope he resigns soon.



MadAdam81 said:

@BestBuck123 I think stats show already that people in general play more games on smartphones and tablets than consoles, and all console sales are going way down as people buy a tablet INSTEAD of a console. One thing that will help the Wii U is that it is cheaper than many smartphones & tablets, and if it does many things a tablet can do as well as a top line gaming console, then it could open the Wii U to an even bigger casual market than the Wii, while getting the attention of mega hardcore gamers.
If done right and the winds blow the right way, the Wii U could smash all sorts of sales records when people catch on. If done wrong, it could be seen as something that does both hardcore & casual wrong.
Wii U AU$300, iPad mini AU$378, many Android tablets with lower performance than a Wii U - $300 to $800.

If Sony & MS weren't worried, they wouldn't be making their consoles play music & videos and have a whole bunch of smartphone type apps, as well as copying a whole bunch of Nintendo innovation with poorly done motion control schemes and PS4 having a touch screen on its controller, as well as a touchscreen on their handheld.
While Xbox gets a bunch of social apps that are nothing compared to Miiverse, I'd rather the Wii U get a whole bunch of great quality games designed for smartphones (and get more sales than most PC and console games).



banacheck said:

The whole point people buy PSVita, 3DS, Mobiles, Tablets because they are portable, no mobile player will buy a Wii U to play a mobile games on. And watching Blu-Ray movies, music CD, internet on a console is yesteryears idea, which Nintendo seems to cater for. I can bet anyone now the way Nintendo are going there in for a rude-awakening.



BestBuck15 said:

Your making me laugh, there are no quality games on smart phones and no one will be buying Wii U to play crap mobile phone games they can get on their phone, its not going to happen. Console gamers like proper games. Probably the reason Nintendo are doing this is because they are strugling to get 3rd party developers on board because 3rd party developers know its very hard to make money on a Nintendo console. People buy Nintendo consoles to play Nintendo games.



MadAdam81 said:

@BestBuck123 No quality smartphone games? There are some really great pixel art strategy games that are $5 and millions of people sink 100's of hours into each of them. There are many smartphone games that are better than a lot of console downloadables, you just have to know where to look.

@banacheck there are many people who do 90% of their tablet game playing at home, and have their smartphones for on the go.
Less people are buying consoles and are buying tablets instead, part of it is portability, part of it is because they can't afford to buy both things and part because tablets do a lot more than consoles. If you don't believe me, research it on the internet. In fact, you could probably find a bunch of articles about it on this site.



Araknie said:

It's a rumor, are really asking for our opinion on a rumor?

Just stop posting them, i'll start with stop reading them.



MadAdam81 said:

@BestBuck123 Not all of them are casual games (especially some of the pixel art RPGs and strategy games), and the Wii U's eShop only has casual games, and a few retail titles are casual games too, which is why I think it's going to help strengthen the console, as much of the third party casual games are fairly weak.
The Wii U also seems like its going to be much stronger for hardcore gamers than the Wii was, so hopefully we will get the best of both worlds.



bunnyking said:


I agree with you 100%

The term Casual gaming as opposed to Hardcore gaming has always bothered me. It's like stating one type of gamer is inferior to another when in the end it's all a game.

Beyond the type of device you use to play games I think the lines are becoming blurrier and blurrier and you are either a gamer or not. Nitpicking whether you play COD on an XBOX 360 or PS3 or wether you use this kind of a device or that is really not giving gamers credit as what they are and that is gamers.

I've played everything and to me it is the most insulting when people even mention the term casual when describing a person who has kids and works 40 hours or more a week and can only play limited amounts on weekends or a child who only has access to a PC from the library that they log onto for a few hours a day.

To me, they are all gamers.

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