Last week's dismal news regarding Nintendo's financials has triggered a wave of comment and debate, with many industry experts earning their keep by offering several different scenarios for getting the Japanese giant out of the hole it currently finds itself in.
However, the general consensus seems to be the same: Nintendo needs to move to other platforms to properly exploit its massive catalogue of characters and thereby generate the kind of profits required to keep its shareholders happy.
While many feel that Satoru Iwata should abandon hardware altogether — a notion which has predictably gone down badly with lifelong Nintendo fans — Tomoaki Kawasaki of Iwai Cosmo Holdings thinks that bringing its famous franchises to smartphones could in fact trigger a rush of interest in Nintendo's dedicated systems:
Nintendo should offer Super Mario or Zelda games on smartphones and tablets and raise money. If such games become popular, some people may want to play it on Nintendo’s machines.
BGC Partners' Amir Anvarzadeh delivers a similar message:
Nintendo has a treasure trove of highly recognized characters. They could make billions in carefully devising a strategy that could exploit its strength in content without the price destruction that would come from abandoning its hardware.
It's certainly an interesting approach — Nintendo could leverage its massive library of popular games with cheap (but highly playable) mobile releases while continuing to produce dedicated hardware, which would naturally host its most accomplished games. The hype generated by the low-cost, low-risk mobile releases could then result in new customers, keen to experience more of the same on a home system.
However, this approach isn't with danger. Not every console maker (or publisher) which has expanded to mobile has enjoyed bumper success, and there is of course no guarantee that Nintendo's games would appeal to a market raised on the likes of Candy Crush Saga and Clash of Clans. Moving to mobile could cheapen the Nintendo brand and cause ill-will amongst seasoned fans, as well as spread Nintendo's already strained development resources even more thinly.
What are your thoughts on this approach? Could Nintendo potentially use the massive mobile market to attract new players to its dedicated systems and generate much-needed capital? Or should it continue to focus on its own consoles and ride out this particular storm? Share your feelings with a comment below.