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Nintendo once stated that it wasn't competing with smartphones and didn't view them as gaming devices, but in recent months that stance has changed. The company's top brass is keenly aware that the 3DS is fighting against the likes of the iPhone and iPad for the attention of gamers, and we're even seeing a degree of crossover in the software which appears on both platforms now.

There's still room for "The Nintendo Difference", however. Speaking to Kotaku, Nintendo of America's Scott Moffitt and Bill Trinen outlined the key differences between the two services.

Moffitt is adamant that the battle comes down to quality and quantity — the App Store has loads of games, but they're not all worth playing:

With software, as with most things, there's a distinct difference between quantity and quality. The website recently calculated that there are currently 139,000 different games actively available on the [Apple] app store. One hundred and thirty-nine thousand. Huge number. That number is way too big to wrap your head around, so I try to think about it this way. If I wanted to spend just fifteen minutes sampling each one of those games, I'd be at it non-stop for four years. That's a ton of caffeine.

Obviously there are good games available for mobile platforms. But the point is, the Nintendo 3DS has a record of quality that's hard to challenge.

Trinen is keen to point out that some of the games on the 3DS eShop are totally unique to the system and couldn't work on the App Store:

The stuff you're seeing on the 3DS eShop, it's all kind of... unique ideas. Anything from Sakura Samurai, which is a game I'm a huge fan of that came out over a year ago on the eShop, and is kind of one of those examples of some of the early unique content from independent developers to something like Dillon's Rolling Western, or Mario & Donkey Kong.

And in each of those games, they each have a tremendous amount of depth, just in terms of the volume of gameplay, but they all also have really great precision controls that are really hard to do on other mobile devices. But really, the content that we're looking at, it's all about, 'what are the unique ideas that really leverage the hardware?' And that, to me, is why you would want to come and play games on the 3DS. They're gonna be unique experiences, they're gonna be things you can't play elsewhere, and [they're] gonna have a whole lot of content.

How do you think Nintendo is doing in the battle against Apple and Google? A lot of people predicted that the rise of tablets and smartphones would spell the end of the company's dominance in the handheld arena, but the 3DS market is growing all the time. Is it possible that the people who spend money on iPhone games aren't the same people who would necessarily purchase a 3DS? Let us know your perspective by posting a comment.

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