In March Nintendo announced its partnership with DeNA to bring its IP to smart devices in apps and games. It was a fairly drastic shift in direction, with the talk turning from apps that would have the sole aim of directing consumers to Nintendo hardware, to directly acknowledging the need for big-hitting franchises to have games on iOS and Android.
The expectation in some areas has been that a number of games would follow quickly by the end of the year - the markets have boosted Nintendo's share value due to the prospect. Yet Satoru Iwata has outlined a rather more steady approach in his financial results briefing - just one smart device game is planned by the end of 2015, but more notably there are only plans to release around five of these titles by the end of March 2017. The focus will be on quality, not quantity.
We will start the service for the first game application by the end of this calendar year. Internally at Nintendo, we have executed several organizational and personnel changes in order to properly operate the smart device business, and we will make further changes before the first release.
As we confirmed on March 17, all of our IP can be considered for a smart device game. On the other hand, since the game business on smart devices is already severely competitive, even with highly popular IP, the odds of success are quite low if consumers cannot appreciate the quality of a game. Also, if we were simply to port software that already has a track record on a dedicated game system, it would not match the play styles of smart devices, and the appropriate business models are different between the two, so we would not anticipate a great result. If we did not aim to achieve a significant result, it would be meaningless for us to do it at all. Accordingly, we are going to carefully select appropriate IP and titles for our smart device deployment.
Regarding the number of the titles, you may want to know that we will release approximately five titles by the end of the next fiscal year, which is the end of March 2017. You may think it is a small number, but when we aim to make each title a hit, and because we want to thoroughly operate every one of them for a significant amount of time after their releases, this is not a small number at all and should demonstrate our serious commitment to the smart device business.
We will strive to expand this business into global markets at a steady pace so that eventually we will entertain hundreds of millions of people all around the world. We are aiming to make this one of the pillars of Nintendo's revenue structure.
That's a fairly modest turnaround, though the optimistic viewpoint is that Nintendo's more interested in making the right moves onto smart devices, rather than throwing apps at the wall and seeing what sticks.
What are your thoughts on this? Do you agree with a slow and steady approach, or do you think Nintendo should aggressively release a higher number of games on smart devices? Let us know in the comments.