News Article

Nintendo Confirms Dedicated Development Team for Smart Device Services

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

"I have not given any restrictions to the development team"

In his recently completed Investor Briefing, now translated into English, Satoru Iwata has confirmed plans to utilise the Nintendo Network ID system more effectively, highlighting an objective to one day remove the ties of the IDs to hardware and deliver the much-requested account-based system. In terms of smart device services, Iwata-san has made clear that the company won't simply move games to smart devices wholesale, but that a development team has been briefed to put together entertaining services for release this year.

To begin with the Nintendo Network ID and integrating smart devices with current and future hardware, Iwata-san said the following.

The traditional definition of a video game platform imposed a restriction in which we were unable to connect with consumers unless they purchased a Nintendo system. Given that the competition for consumers’ time and attention has become fierce, I feel that how we will take advantage of smart devices is an extremely important question to answer. However, in order to be absolutely clear, let me emphasize that this does not mean simply supplying Nintendo games on smart devices. Taking advantage of smart devices means connecting with all consumers, including those who do not own Nintendo’s video game systems, through smart devices and communicating the value of our entertainment offerings, thus encouraging more people to participate in Nintendo platforms. I will elaborate on this point later.

As I just illustrated, we will manage our relationships with our consumers through NNIDs in a uniform manner, and connecting with our consumers through NNIDs will precisely be our new definition of a Nintendo platform.

In other words, our platform will not be bound to physical hardware and, instead, will be virtualized.

Iwata-san highlights that the company still believes that retaining its connection between its own software and hardware is integral to ongoing business, and therefore will not bring core game content to smart devices. Intriguingly, it was made clear that the planned services will aim to entertain as well as serving the purpose of promoting hardware, with a dedicated team responsible for development.

We will use a small, select team of developers to achieve it. Also, we recognize that attracting consumers’ attention among the myriads of mobile applications is not easy, and as I said before, we feel that simply releasing our games just as they are on smart devices would not provide the best entertainment for smart devices, so we are not going to take any approach of this nature. Having said that, however, in the current environment surrounding smart devices, we feel that we will not be able to gain the support of many consumers unless we are able to provide something truly valuable that is unique to Nintendo. Accordingly, I have not given any restrictions to the development team, even not ruling out the possibility of making games or using our game characters. However, if you report that we will release Mario on smart devices, it would be a completely misleading statement. It is our intention to release some application on smart devices this year that is capable of attracting consumer attention and communicating the value of our entertainment offerings, so I would encourage you to see how our approach yields results.

Also, there is one more thing that I would like to mention about utilizing smart devices. With respect to services previously released on dedicated video game systems that are, however, capable of improving usability and consumer experience when they are implemented on smart devices, we will try to actively shift their focus to smart devices. This is to say that we will no longer spend an equal amount of resources toward providing the same service both on and off device, but will instead concentrate on the one that has greater purpose as well as room for improvement.

That latter paragraph suggests that the company will be more open to smart device-suitable ideas being prioritised for that market, when they're more appropriate systems than Nintendo's own hardware.

What do you think of these comments on the Nintendo Network ID's increased future integration across devices, and the establishment of a dedicated team to work on services for smart devices? Let us know in the comments below.


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User Comments (71)



antdickens said:

Hmm, so better Miiverse and eShop like smartphone apps? That would be welcome. I wonder if they'll do anything beyond that, like an accompany Wii Fit app to help track progress through the day.



10000mario said:

Sounds great, Advertise on one thing that millions of people have, hopefully this will work.
Also I hope I can make eShop purchases from my device, and start the download. That would be cool.



Cevan said:

I'm hoping for a Mii Creator app you can use to create Miis on, then transfer them to your Wii U/3DS.



Olmectron said:

@Cervan That is really and easily possible. Just because they already let us share Miis through a custom QR Code.



Gustaf89 said:

and now kotaku is reporting that nintendo would make games on phones, deem journalism



PrincessEevee9 said:

If Miiverse is going to be one of their main marketing strategies I sure hope they stay away from the stupid people there.

This announcement in the way it was presented was unexpected but delightful. Here's hoping there's more good tidings in the near future.



Yoshis_VGM said:

I'll gladly take a Miiverse and eShop app, along with maybe a dedicated video app or a Nintendo news feed app. Whatever they come out with, I'll gladly download it.



TheRealThanos said:

I guess that 2014 is going to be an interesting year for Nintendo supporters indeed... I know I am...



TheRealThanos said:

Just imagine the possibilities: being able to set up your game of choice with your smart device while at work/school/on your way home in public transport (no advocate of smart device usage in cars, UNLESS you are the passenger) and then only having to switch the Wii U on when you get home to start it!
Combine that with the enhanced and faster startup of the GamePad that is going to be implemented, and you don't even need to switch on your TV first...



DualWielding said:

first good news Iwata gives in a long while, but when?, we need account system like yesterday, it's pathetic it took him so long to realize that they need to start working on account system...



DrMonk said:

The last paragraph sounds to me that app-like services that would have a greater purpose/flexibility/reach on smart devices will be developed for that platform instead. In other words, if there was a way to make an app like the Animal Crossing Plaza app more effective, have greater use, and market the game more effectively on smart devices then they will shift development to that platform. However, if, using the same example, the Animal Crossing app's core functionality/vision would be limited by removing it from a dedicated Nintendo platform then maybe development focus would remain on the dedicated device. Essentially, they don't want to develop the same app for different platforms, but will rather choose the most effective platform to focus development on. Iwata seems to make it clear that this does not include their traditional game software, although game-like experiences (think gamification or minigames) could be possible on smart devices.

Overall I think it's a pretty smart approach, and of course hope it works out for them. It will be interesting to see if they can get the attention of non-existing Nintendo customers on smart devices though (if the experience is compelling enough... but how do you do that without games?)...



Funny_Moblin said:




FJOJR said:

An app that has videos for every Nintendo franchise that has had a show in both English and Japanese.



Funny_Moblin said:

Seriously, some people send things to others that they regret, that may be against Miiverse rules...sure, people can unfriend others, but the messages are never erased, as becoming friends again reveals all the messages. I speak for all the Wii U Miiverise users who worry every day about permanent bans. Nintendo, please forgive people. It's honestly stupid how you can't delete private messages.



RedYoshi999 said:

I worry about the wording Iwata has used here. "One day" doesn't give much hope for an account system to be implemented any time soon, instead making it sound years away. I'd like to see an eShop app, that would be handy.



MitchVogel said:

The main thing I took away from this is that the unfiied account system is finally happening. It's no longer an idea or a possibility, they are actively working on it!



XFsWorld said:

@Cevan Creating Miis on your phone is nothing. Just do it on your 3DS and send your creations to the WiiU. Simple. I want to access eShop on-the-go...not create Miis on-the-go.



JoeyZXD said:

@10000mario I believe I read in an earlier article that Nintendo was planning on letting you make purchases from a smart device. I've noticed the red light on my Wii U occassionally turns orange, maybe it's downloading something? It would be awesome if you purchased a game from your phone and it downloaded immediately to your Wii U or 3DS!



CoreyCannabis said:

While we're doing all this fun stuff, maybe dump the friend codes too and just let us have one Nintendo Network ID for Wii U, 3DS, smartphones, and whatever else they decide to put out next. Integration is nice, and streamlining your service across all your gaming gizmos and whatnot will only add to consumer confidence.
We certainly are in an exciting time to be Nintendo fans!



Tsurii said:

@ferthepoet Do you honestly think, that they came up with those business plans just now?

It takes at least like a year to develop plans like that. Why Do you think it takes so long before new consoles are even announced? Stuff like that is nothing you come up with and start developing from one day to another



Tsurii said:

@JoeyZXD the console is doing this once in an hour. The Wii U's searching for updates, when the light turns orange iirc



kereke12 said:

OK as long as they don't be stupid enough there games on Mobile. I don't care what they do in mobile They should just do an app for Miiverse, Eshop, Nintendo Videos. Or Just do a Nintendo app, that lets you do everything like shopping, looking at videos, checking Miiverse and so on. Like Playstation does.



booopn said:

Have they used xbox live before? As a service Xbox Live is way ahead of anything Nintendo is doing and perhaps even what they are proposing. There are no games on xbox live for smart phones, but the ease with which you can buy is certainly really well done



jmax said:

@Gustaf89 The news is not entirely wrong, though. Nintendo has now said that they will have a dedicated development team for mobile platforms, and that those teams have not been given "any restrictions". Content that is created could very well be game software, although Iwata was very quick to point out that this does not mean "Mario on cellphones". Kotaku isn't wrong, really. Nintendo very well may have certain mobile applications / games that are developed - but with the goal of bringing users back to their dedicated platforms. I suspect that you might find clever little mini games to unlock exclusive trailers, and things like that - although I'm hoping that they can be even more creative.



SphericalCrusher said:

There's plenty of uses for this, and I know Nintendo will make the best of it. For example, the Assassin's Creed 4 companion works wonders for playing that game — I can do so much in the app while at work, come home, sync it, and get all of that stuff. Doing more things like that for larger Nintendo games would be great. I would love a mini new IP game on there also, maybe as a 99 cent or $1.99 game. I look forward to hearing more about this.



Gustaf89 said:

@jmax but the way they are reporting it's just for the clicks.. look at their article and look at this, the difference is abysmal



Peach64 said:

I don't really see how his will help. To advertise to people not using Nintendo hardware, you need to get them to download it... but why would they download an app that just assists the Wii U they don't have? The only people that are going to be interested in miiverse and 3DS shop are already Nintendo owners.



IceClimbers said:

In other news, Zelda A Link to the Past is finally coming to the NA Wii U Virtual Console tomorrow alongside Ninja Gaiden.



c1pher_c0mplet said:

Not holding my breath but this news is still interesting... Hopefully, "one day" in regards to the account system doesn't equate to "eons from now." Says a lot that it's taken recent unfortunate events to finally get them to start considering stepping into the contemporary digital age...



DerpSandwich said:

Dude. Put a demo or a stripped down version of Animal Crossing on iPad and you'll sell about a jillion 3DS's.



Romeo said:

please... no games
i don't want them to waste time on inferior smartphone-games....

of course i want nintendo to do well and i also want all these "doom and gloom"-artiles to stop (soo annoying), but smartphone games? hopefully not

  • if they were to do sell well (which they would)... -> more inferior smartphone games, DLC, etc. in the future

Wii U + 3DS XL <3



unrandomsam said:

@Romeo Why do you want them to waste time on inferior 3DS hardware ? (Anything the 3DS can do a modern tablet can do at a better resolution and 60fps with a nicer screen. Support the WIi U Pro Controller).



SCAR said:

Interactive cartoons with Mario or Pokemon. That's what I think this means. Kind of like that Raving Rabbids show. Or maybe a camera app...

Maybe it will be a Mario sound app. I know they've sold toys where it makes Mario sound effects(i.e. coin, jumping, etc.). Now they can do those things digitally.



M0rdresh said:

I've somewhat translate this into "will not publish traditional Nintendo games on smartphones and tables, but will establish their presence on these platforms to promote Nintendo devices and software".



tripunktoj said:

Its been a long tiem since they confirmed Miiverse and eShop on smart devices at some point in the future, but as I undetrstand it now they will maybe move things like Pokédex 3D, Nintendo Video, Pokémon Global Link, Nintendo TVii and maybe even a revived Swapnote to smart devices, while coming up with some new apps that could add to the game experience (like an app with access to exclusive Mystery gifts for Pokémon X & Y or special gold Miis for StreetPass Plaza)

I anticipated something like this account system when Iwata talked about a change in the business structure, I hope we also get some kind of reward or compensation for people who bought games twice or more (same Wii, WiiU and 3DS VC game)



DualWielding said:


Actually yes, having an account system is something Nintendo could do in a couple weeks if they want....they have all the infrastructure, the NNID is actually an account system.... the only thing holding them back is that they want people to send the systems back to them as evidence that the users are not trying to doubling their games by cheating the system...... the technical part is mostly done, Iwata stuborness was the isseu



Goginho said:

I'm trying to think of useful and productive ways Nintendo could tackle this approach. Sadly, my creative juices aren't flowing at the moment, and I can't think of anything they could do with this. I really hope they get this right, and that it doesn't end up being a hinderance more than anything, such as having mini little, gimped out demo versions of games available on their respective systems, only to end up being a bad example of what the game has to offer, and thus giving the potential consumer a wrong picture of the game, making them not want to buy it...hmmm..I'm thinking of an example of this: Maybe something like putting some Animal Crossing on the phone. Obviously not the whole thing, merely a little section you could go through and do some stuff. Cleary the full game is much more in-depth, but something like putting a teeny little demo of it would get people questioning the content of it, and they'd probably say no at that point.
lol I know, vague example, but what I'm trying to say is Nintendo need to get the message across when they start with this, they need to make sure people rediscover Nintendo, see what they're all about again, get consumers wanting more. Put a really fun and interesting Mario level, and say in the end, "this and so much more, with intuitive controls to enhance the overall experience...etc..".



Rin-go said:

It seems that it will be possible to carry the account over to future devices. Then their account system would be better than what the other two seem to offer in that regard.



Tsurii said:

@ferthepoet ah I wasn't talking about the system itself, but the fact, that you said something like "they just realized, that - and so on".

I'm pretty sure Iwata was aware of the whole situation for a LONG time. But he had absolutely no reason to tell the public about this stuff, simply because most of us have no idea how the whole company works or how companies in general work. The only peole, he had to inform are their investors, because those have to know way more than us since they're...well investing into the company.



Romeo said:

@unrandomsam is this supposed to be a fuc**** joke?
what about the buttons (controls)?

and what about the size of the games?
most App Store games don't even require 1GB.... + think about all the new adjustments they'd have to make when developing games for other platforms.. like iphones, ipads, androids, etc.

and what about physical copies?

there is NOT one single game in the app store which comes close to a real 3DS game.....
tablets are great for stuff like mahjong, solitaire, etc., but not for real video games...

stop kidding yourself



WarlockNem said:

I imagine them utiIizing smart devices by maybe putting minigames for download in app stores that will only get people to want to play full on Nintendo games on Nintendo's devices. For example a small downloadable game app based solely on the Captain Toad levels from SM3DW. Not necessarily those same levels but a whole new game with the same concept. Then an app that let's you access a unified account based eshop and browse Nintendo related news is a great idea also.



Sean_Aaron said:

I'm still trying to figure out why the 3DS doesn't have a login screen like the Wii U does after registering a NNID with it - wasn't part of the point of that update to give a more similar look and feel to the two devices?



aaronsullivan said:

Hardware attachment eventually going away. Nintendo IDs for even people that don't own hardware (so they can step right in when they do purchase). The door is open for actual NEW games on mobile devices as part of the mobile strategy NOT just simple service extension apps.

That's solid change that makes sense and is very welcome. It's a good start.



Nintendude789 said:

Pretty nice. I just hope Iwata fire almost ALL babysitters, er I mean Administrators from Miiverse.



ericwithcheese2 said:

I think that those embarrassing missed projections and revenue losses have finally done something good... it lit a fire under Nintendo and they seem to be more forward-thinking than normal. Finally openly acknowledging a need for a unified account system and talking about possibilities of smartphone apps (Sony and Microsoft have had them for a long time) is a good thing.



joeb1kenobi said:

I know it's not a new concept, but I can see a more robust version of streetpass via mobile device being an interesting and possibly fun way to advertise current and upcoming releases. Nintendo would have to focus on making a reason for non-nintendo owners to want the app. I guess that's Nintendo's current challenge "what can we do to get consumers, especially in the west, to want to become a part of the nintendo culture".



Ren said:

so basically the message is. "please understand that our crack team of database engineers and web development interns has woken up from a nice nap and will be joining us in the current century for exciting consoles basics using emerging technologies like 'the internet' and 'handheld mobile devices' , which we are currently researching at the best buy down the block. We look forward to an age where people can instantly send each other 'electronic mail' with no hassle,( just a 17 digit friend code.)"



coolvw93 said:

Great to see this idea coming up, though i would like to see what the ps vita and ps3 did, buy a game (ie: metal gear solid) on the psp and be able to play it on the ps3. But do it with VC games, like if i bought super mario bros on my 3ds vc, let me use it on my wii u too.



audiobrainiac said:

Would be cool to shop on the eshop from my iphone and then trigger/purchase downloadable games/content without even being home haha.



Emaan said:

A desperate Nintendo is always the most creative Nintendo.

I'm interested to see how all these changes play out.



JaxonH said:

Alright people. Network based accounts are coming. Not sure when. Might not be this year even, but they ARE coming. So chalk up a victory and be happy.

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