News Article

Nintendo Feels That Working On Smartphones And Tablets Would "Decrease Brand Value"

Posted by Damien McFerran

"You can’t get a true feel for Mario on smartphone or tablet"

Once upon a time — year ending March 31, 2009, to be precise — Nintendo managed to post a profit of 555.2 billion yen. Those days feel like a lifetime away now, what with the Wii passing into memory and its successor — the Wii U — struggling to sell in meaningful quantities.

Given Nintendo's current position compared to where it was a couple of years ago, its unsurprising that many "industry experts" are calling for the company to abandon its hardware-focused approach and bring its impressive portfolio of titles to smartphones and tablets, arguably the "growth sector" at present.

One Japanese analyst has even gone as far as to predict that if Nintendo was to take such action, it would see its profits increase "2 or 3 times" over.

However, Nintendo continues to resist such claims, and in response has said:

Performance is temporarily getting better, you can’t get a true feel for Mario on smartphone or tablet, and this would also lead to a decrease in brand value over the long term.

We certainly agree there — one of the biggest issues with touchscreen-only devices is a lack of precise control; we simply can't imagine playing a Mario title on a device which lacks physical inputs. Nintendo would have to simplify the controls, which will surely result in a more shallow experience overall.

Whatever your perspective on this matter, it's a debate which is set to run and run until Nintendo can turn its fortunes around or the mobile sector collapses.


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User Comments (80)



Ronoh said:

We should not expect individuals with a strong background in finance and business to understand why gamers are so passionate about Nintendo products the way they are now.



ricklongo said:

I absolutely, 100% agree. This is why, 20 years from now, Nintendo will still be around: they know their strenghts and play to them. Getting a temporary sales boost in exchange for a long term loss in brand quality perception is just not worth it to an established company that is here for the long haul.



MAB said:

I have a Galaxy S4 with no games on it at all... I guess phone gamin' just isn't ma thang, you know what I'm sayin'



CrazyOtto said:

Anyone that thinks Nintendo is going to start making mobile phone games is just as deluded as the guys that started to petition to bring The Last of Us to the PC.



DePapier said:

"Once upon a time — year ending March 31, 2009, to be precise — Nintendo managed to post a profit of 555.2 billion yen. Those days feel like a lifetime away now, what with the Wii passing into memory and its successor — the Wii U — struggling to sell in meaningful quantities."

The following year was the first time in Nintendo's history that they didn't post a profit. Yet I don't see people even suspecting Sony to be in danger were the PS4 not to launch successfully, even though Sony had to sell their NYC HQ last fiscal year to stay profitable.



fushimushi said:

Indeed I agree with Nintendo in this matter. Bringing there games into smartphones would definitely destroy the experience. I can't even imagine myself playing Pokemon and Mario franchise on a smartphone......



theblackdragon said:

@CAM290: perhaps, but I'm glad to see they're sticking to their guns on it. They're right, working on smartphones and tablets would decrease the value of their brand. If you want to play Nintendo's first-party titles, buy a Nintendo console. If they start providing Nintendo brand first-party games for smartphones or tablets, what would be the need of buying their consoles?



fushimushi said:

@MrSRArter Absolutely right..... Most decent games on smartphones nowadays, require internet connection either it's wi-fi or data plan. It's even more worse if there is such a person who actually wants to play Pokemon on a smartphone.



XCWarrior said:

Stay away from mobile gaming. Much like Facebook gaming, it will come to a crushing halt eventually. I remember when my timeline was everyone playing games. Not anymore. People stopped. They will with smart phones too. And the games they do play on their phones are either free or $1. There's no real money to be made there.

Long live the 3DS and the future 4DS!



GN004Nadleeh said:

I never liked the phone games and trying to play super Mario world emulated on an iphone is exactly why I sold it and got a 3ds xl. nothing beats a game made only for a certain console or handheld but it seems everyone is all port happy these days



TheAdrock said:

Yeah so don't use traditional controls. With some creativity N could make smartphone titles that work well for that platform. It doesn't REPLACE a console but why not explore some options. ??



Windy said:

Yes Nintendo is wise to keep the games Exclusive to their Hardware.



Windy said:

@Fazermint Thats my problem also. There are some good games on Android and Ipad. But The touchscreen pad ruin the Experience Most of the time



DiSTANToblivion said:

Good on Nintendo for sticking it to the useless mobile gaming market. The sooner it dies off the better...



stealth said:

FYI they are making profit now with 3ds, and given the strong holidays nintendo will get massive profit



belmont said:

I agree with Nintendo in this.

The day games like Peace Walker, Golden Abyss, RE Revelations, Mirror of Fate, Ghost of Sparta, Crisis Core, Blazblue et al will be available in mobile phones I will quit gaming



Kirk said:

I basically agree with Nintendo.

I know it could make a lot of money doing this, certainly in the short term, but I don't see how it could do it without basically taking away attention and sales from it's own consoles for the most part.

Regardless, whatever happens I don't what Nintendo to stop making consoles and first party exclusives entirely.

I mean look at what happened to the once might Sega when they took that route...

That wouldn't be good.



Funbunz said:

Not too long ago, weren't all the industry "pros" calling for Nintendo to abandon the 3ds, because they'd never be able to compete with smart phones? I have no games on my smart phone at all. But I sure love my 3ds for gaming.



banacheck said:

I think doing this would only hurt Nintendo in the long run, good to see Nintendo saying no.



Erock said:

Actually it would be a good idea for Nintendo to enter the smartphone market. Create their own tablet/smartphone game developing company that also includes 3DS & Wii U's eShop. If you download the the app & enjoy it, then purchase the 3DS or Wii U to play the full version. They could create that studio with all new IP's.



Mahe said:

Smartphones and tablets just don't have good controls. No buttons and imprecise touch controls? Even good mobile games suffer from the poor responsiveness. Mario wouldn't work on them at all.



Will-75 said:

I played games on my iPhone 5 for the first month I had it now I dont play them at all, I play daily on my 3DS and have for the last two years I have to agree with Nintendo they know what they are talking about .



Shworange said:

Oh god. Could you imagine a Mario game with dumbed down controls like a Mario infinite runner? My blood just ran cold.



theblackdragon said:

a Mario 'infinite runner' style game? We've already got that via the Mario Clock anyway, lol. :3



erv said:

Good. As long as they understand this, they will stay around.



FineLerv said:

I still haven't played a game on my iPhone that has had the lasting impact of a console game. Yes, they are technical capable of making the same games but the interface always dictates the game design on any system.



Shambo said:

Nintendo wouldn't be what it is now, and I'm sure every true gamer likes Nintendo best as it is. Once fully recovered, they will improve on their slight -given the natural 'circumstances'- issues, but being proud of their products is one of their many strengths.



hYdeks said:

totally agree, and stop suggesting Nintendo to go into things that are less profitable! >< Going backwards, yay, that's definitely the way forward ¬¬



anders190 said:

I wonder sometimes if a Nintendo-branded/developed smartphone/tablet would have worked better for them or if the whole concept is the issue.

I would actually consider a Nintendo smartphone that had physical buttons and quality games on it, if one was available next time I was looking for a new smartphone. Having both a Nexus 4 and 7 I really can't say I like touch-only games. But taking the Gameboy/3/DS concept further and doing some hybrid smartphone/tablet DS would make me interested.



idork99 said:

This is old news! Nintendo bringing their games to smartphones?! Not going to happen. Let me quote a couple of famous people to end this ruckus. First, the late and great Steve Jobs said,

"If your passionate about software, you need to make your own hardware."

Which is exactly what both Apple and Nintendo do! And to finish my argument, here is another quote from Iwata from 2009 in which he says,

"The Nintendo DS brand offers an experience that mobile phones—no matter how smart the phone—can't match."

That is all I have to say.



AVahne said:

Phone gaming is nothing to scoff at and it will continue to grow in different ways. But I do agree that Ninty should keep their games away. They're a massive platform holder and have no reason to go mobile at all.



Hunter-D said:

"You can’t get a true feel for Mario on smartphone or tablet"

Amongst other things.

Keep sticking to your guns, Ninty.



BigBabaWaba said:

People forget what a phone is supposed to be - a device to call people with!People play games on their phones out of boredom and convenience, not because they are legitimate gaming platforms. This mobile "gaming" fad is an abomination to true game developers and I pray that it will die out . Oh and while I'm on the topic, a big F-U to the developer of Angry Birds!



GiftedGimp said:

Even if Ninty decided on entering the smart device market they might aswell just shut up shop all together.
In numerous interviews Ninty have repeatedly said the desigh thier hardware to meet game idea's they have. Once they have to make thier game idea's match other peoples hardware then thier creativity will be restricted, making them be like every other development house around.
I want Nintendo games on Nintendo Hardware, I wan't that innovation and creativity that make Nintendo different to everyone else.



kyle5 said:

as much as i would would love to see pokemon on mobiles and tabs i think it would kill the dedicated devices like 3ds and vita, as phones get better all the time why buy and carry a 3ds when one device can do it all and if nintendo did release mario and pokemon games for the mobile platform i would buy them and still use my 3ds as it still has buttons and is just a better and more comfortable gaming device



billychaos said:

The worst decision Nintendo could ever make is putting their franchise on other platforms. Well it happened in the past and it was ugly...very ugly...Zelda CD. Plus Nintendo makes good games because they are designed for specific hardware. Imagine what a Lego City port would be like... (boring).



Undead_terror said:

Phones are good for endless runners and over head shooters, other then that touch screen controls suck.



unrandomsam said:

It wouldn't decrease the value.

For the old Nintendo stuff overall they would likely make more money just having it readily available.

iOS has legitimate Genesis (Megadrive) / Dreamcast / Metal Slug / SNES stuff. (SNES only the Classic Square stuff like Secret of Mana / Chrono Trigger / Final Fantasy III/IV).

The controller support added to ios7 was the last thing it needed.
Probably cheaper overall to buy a current ipad and all the games you want that are really good than to buy the same number of quality games on Virtual Console.

(The fact that old games look better on a good 4:3 CRT is also an issue that affects the Wii U). The Ipad is also 4:3 pretty much unlike anything else.)



LAA said:

Why is this always talked about!?
It doesnt make sense!
Have you seen god of war, uncharted and the likes on mobile?
No, nintendo wants its franchises to draw people into getting their consoles, they have NOTHING if they dont have their franchises exclusively.
Dont get me wrong, it does offer benefit, such as having a much larger user base to potentially buy their game, therefore increasing profit to nintendo and more users playing, etc.
But then it also means less people will potentially buy their consoles.

I fully support nintendo for not bringing it over, partly because I dont want to acknowledge mobile as a gaming platform, only for certain types of games. A game like mario is a game that I dont think would work on mobile.



unrandomsam said:

@billychaos Those CDi games are more like the Cartoon. I quite like them. More in common with something like Dragons Lair.

@Undead_terror Both Android and iOS (From ios7 onwards) support proper controls. Overhead shooters are too easy with that type of touchscreen control. They are perfect for stuff like point and click adventures.



unrandomsam said:

@LAA Excluding DS games (That I cannot put up with on the 3DS screen because of the terrible scaling). iOS has more games I want to play than the 3DS and at a lower price.

Jet Set Radio
Crazy Taxi
Gunstar Heroes
Metal Slug X
Metal Slug 3
Final Fantasy III
Final Fantasy IV
Chrono Trigger
Sonic CD

Doesn't have the scaling problem the 3DS has which makes sprites look awful.

iOS is also likely to be where all the stuff from the XBLA goes to after the 360 stops being something people still buy stuff for.

I hate the way Apple is generally so closed but all the rest of the console makers are just the same so if you just see it as another console it is fine.

If Nintendo gets those games and they are the best version then I will get them on 3DS. But I have no interest whatsoever in none 3D classic NES games. Or junk indie games.



b23cdq said:

They could put demos on there, if the controls work. Pokemon would probably do fine. Offer the first 10% of Pokemon X/Y for free, and when the demo is over, put a note that says the full game is available for Nintendo 3DS.



Caryslan said:

@BigBabaWaba Why is the world are you cursing out the developers of Angry Birds? What is their great crime in the world of gaming? They had a successful series of games that were popular enough to spawn merchandise with the Angry Birds plastered all over them.

Why do people hate them so much? As far as I remember, I don't think they have ever said anything bad about Nintendo.

So, why all the hate?



brucelebnd said:

gaming on mobile devices kind of reminds of when the gaming market crashed back in the early 80s. I know it isn't exactly the same situation but one comparison can be made

back then the market was flooded with horrible games and today the vast majority of phone games are terrible. they have absolutely ZERO quality control. don't get me wrong quality can be found but new and original games are few and far between. the best mobile devices are offering are usually just retro reboots. I know somebody will probably list a dozen good and innovative games but they're still buried in a mountain of shovelware.



JuanitoShet said:

The thing we can all agree on is that no matter WHAT Nintendo goes through, or what they do with their consoles & software, there will ALWAYS be someone out there throwing doubt & gloom-&-doom stories and criticisms their way. Those people just can't help it, it seems.

No matter, us loyal Nintendo fans feel & know for a fact that it would take much more than all of this negativity to take Nintendo down. Though unfortunately, all of these stories do get tiring and annoying to listen to.



Kirby3ds said:

Well there's a lot of shovels are everywhere but if Nintendo wants moble, put it on the 3ds.



gaby_gabito said:

I love how Nintendo chooses quality gameplay over an easy buck. That's hard to find nowadays with major gaming companies.



Geonjaha said:

You know what smartphones and tablets don't have?
Buttons. You know; those things that are pretty much necessary for any complexity in game design. (Unless you want awkward on screen buttons - aren't they a laugh) Porting to other systems would be one thing, but Nintendo games on smartphones and tablets with their current control methods? Nope.



Midnight3DS said:

High precision games, probably. The lines will continue to blur, though. 'Gaming' phones/tablets, I'm guessing. This notion won't go away, and I'm sure Nintendo knows it.



ecco6t9 said:

Nintendo has and always will do their own thing, And this confuses investors who want to make a quick buck off of them.




This is beyond obvious. Anyone that wants Nintendo to dev for other platforms is just sad that they have to buy a Nintendo console they don't want for games they do want.



strongest_link said:

It might not be surprising how little video game industry analysts seem to actually know about video games, but it is perplexing how short sighted they can be.



Samurai_Goroh said:

Nintendo games on Nintendo consoles only. Consoles that are tailor-made for specific games and not the other way around. Games that leave a lasting impression, games that define whole genres. This is Nintendo's key strength, whoever believes Nintendo should develop for 3rd party hardware has no clue about games.
Plus, it isn't a given that they would profit more by having games on smartphones and tablets, not even on the short term. The people who buy Android games for €1 are not Nintendo's target audience. Better have 100 million users willing to pay €50 for proper games, than 300+ million who want them for free or €1 maximum.



Marr_the_Great said:

@XCWarrior You are 100% correct. Most mobile gamers I know of spend nothing on games for their phone/tablet so Nintendo while Nintendo would make some sales, the profits would range between minor to an actual loss.

I'm looking forward to the 4DS now too. Leave it to Nintendo to innovate technology that allows you to SEE THROUGH TIME then use it for video gaming.



sinalefa said:

Thanks for calling things like they are

"industry experts"

Sega puts lots of games on smartphones and that hasn't made them immensely rich.



triforcepower73 said:

I would have made a meaningful comment if everything that I'm thinking hadn't already been said a few times already.



AugustusOxy said:

The tablet popularity will eventually die down. They will be replaced by phones, and even then, eventually it will all be snuffed out by the next big thing. Nothing to freak out about. Just need to start focusing on making depth filled experiences on handhelds and leaving the quick play stuff to smartphones/tablets.



jayclayx said:

I dont think the tablet game market will die down as somebody said but I do think compare mobile games with dedicated console games is like compare apples with oranges, Nintendo got popularity with the original wii just because at that time in 2006 mobile games on phones and tablets were not popular as today, today people spend their money on apple store and google play on their devices and Nintendo knows that, the fact they made the wii U controller like a tablet is not a coincidence, Nintendo said they didn't plan to compete with tablets with their new console but c'mon its clear this is their intention, most of people who bought a cheap console to play casual games 6 years ago now they are on mobile games and Nintendo should focus on compete with real console games like ps4 and xbox instead of talking about mobile games.



xevious said:

I would quit buying new Nintendo-products if they'd start developing games for smart phones.



Rekiotsu said:

I agree completely, I hate when companies like Square Enix are porting their franchises and old games to smartphones and tablets. It brings shame for those old classics and makes them feel cheap even they once were incredible high quality games and still are in their original platforms or on virtual console.



dimi said:

Turn based games like Pokemon or Final Fantasy can work like a charm with touch controls. Mario no. Mario temple run (mario always running, you just chose when he jumps) could work but thats not true Mario.



Holyfire said:

Because the moment a piece of software from Nintendo releases on another platform, ppl will assume Nintendo is cracking under pressure, and instantly ppl will stop buying their systems. Their hardware sector would diminish quickly and make life very tough for them. Who wants games on phones anyway? They're so simpleton , they can barely harnrss attention for even hours



Holyfire said:

Nice post. Agreed 100%
There's probably 100s of 1000s of small time devs out there makinh games on Android that are getting nowhere. As games that sell for free usually dont make much money. And phones n tablets are so limited



TromaDogg said:

It's all just extremely wishful thinking from mobile game developers who just want Nintendo to develop for mobiles so that mobile gaming becomes even more popular and therefore increases the audience for the other games made by the other developers. Nothing more. It'll never actually happen.



BabyLogey said:

Really the only game I could see Nintendo making for phones and make it feel like a regular game in the series would be a WarioWare game. But it would probably be almost like a port of WW: Touched, so it's not gonna happen.



BigBabaWaba said:

@Caryslan I didn't mean to be crude but my ire is well placed. Read this.

So to you success equals legitimacy? Have you ever played Angry Birds? I have. It's boring. Since Angry Birds is the most popular phone game I feel as though they're in a way spearheading this whole trend to mobile gaming which I personally detest. The more popular these games become, the more influence they're having on the videogame industry as a whole. So my main point remains: cellphones are calling devices first and foremost and their ability to play games is secondary. Rovio is an upstart company that has the gall to insult Nintendo with nothing but this 1-hit wonder to back them up. So why are you so quick to defend them?

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