Nintendo Still Has No Interest In Smartphone Development
September 15, 2011
Nintendo's top brass has said on numerous occasions during the past year or so that the company has no interest in developing mobile games for third-party smartphones. No Super Mario for iOS. No Kirby for Android. You'd think that people would just accept that and let the matter rest, but the stockholders and the press are persistent. There's quick cash to be made in cranking out a quickie Legend of Zelda port for iPhone, right? As it turns out, Nintendo has a very good reason for not wanting to abandon ship and become a third-party publisher on someone else's hardware. Joey Davidson at TechnoBuffalo has the story.
The company feels that they’re in a long-term beneficial situation by exercising their in-house hardware development capabilities. By keeping their own software on their own hardware, they are ensuring that their games will always be limited to consumers that buy their consoles.
Consider it like, perhaps, HBO. HBO sells their shows and movies at a premium price. They do not license their content out to streaming services like Netflix. In order to watch an HBO product, like The Wire or Boardwalk Empire, you have to actually buy it from HBO by subscribing directly to the service or purchasing the seasonal releases. Their content remains an exclusive premium, and consumers have to buy into their entire model in order to enjoy it. Sure, they could turn a quick profit by licensing it out to streaming services like Netflix, but then their content loses its premium nature.
Look at Sega as an example of a once-hardware manufacturer dealing software to other platforms. As soon as the Dreamcast kicked the bucket, Sega started putting their content elsewhere.
I have to agree with the company's stance. While I do have a number of games on my iPhone, 99% of them come across as the empty calorie fast food equivalent of handheld gaming. Nintendo products are worth more than the usual $1 app. As soon as Nintendo takes the easy money and goes down the third-party route, the company will cease to be what it is. It will lose its innate Nintendoness. Why anyone who enjoys the company's portfolio would cheer for such a day is completely beyond me. Is anyone really happy with Sega's current direction compared to that company's path twenty years ago when it was thriving in the console market with its own hardware? For more on this issue, be sure to listen to Episode 62 of Power Button in which Joey Davidson, Brad Hilderbrand, and I discuss Nintendo's position on the matter.