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Nintendo: Apple 'absolutely' more a threat than Microsoft

updated 08:40 pm EDT, Mon October 25, 2010

Nintendo says iPod more threat than Xbox

Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime made a rare admission for the company and said in a recent interview that Apple was a bigger threat to its share of gaming than Microsoft. Despite the Xbox 360's recent lead, he explained that the iPhone and iPod were "absolutely" larger threats in the near future. Apple had a similar effect to Farmville or other entertainment in that it consumed free time that wouldn't be devoted to a Nintendo system, the executive told Forbes.

"I compete with Zynga, I compete with surfing the net, I compete with the newspaper," he said.

He painted iOS devices as good for casual play, but explained that Nintendo's edge was in-depth gaming. About 14 of the 20 bestselling games of current-generation consoles are for Nintendo systems, and some are consciously deep titles like the Japanese RPG Dragon Quest IX that Fils-Aime had personally played for 150 hours.

Publicly, Nintendo had previously tried to downplay Apple's effect, but inside leaks have hinted that the DSi maker considers Apple its main enemy, ignoring even its 15-year-old rival Sony. DS sales have plummeted in the past year even with price cuts and newer revisions like the DSi XL. The six-year-old hardware may have contributed to fatigue with the existing platform, but the iPhone and iPod touch are widely believed to have damaged Nintendo's share by leading many to choose a multi-purpose Apple device over a separate gaming system and a phone or media player.

Both Nintendo and Sony are known to have lost gaming revenue share to Apple between 2008 and 2009, just after the App Store launched and games became one of the driving factors behind the iPod touch. The trend may continue into 2011 as the 3DS has been delayed into late winter.

Microsoft in contrast has no handheld gaming outside of the games hub inside Windows Phone 7 and, while individually more successful than Nintendo's usual bestseller the DS, can't affect its combined output compared to the broader reach of iOS hardware.

by MacNN Staff



  1. jpellino

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Then again

    in gaming, Tamagotchi is more of a threat than Microsoft.

  1. Salty

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Solution? Does this mean that Nintendo's going to build a powerful cartridge based mp3 player?

    The problem is that I can either have a DS in a bag I carry with me, or I can have my iPhone which slips in my pocket. My iPhone is also my phone, my web browsing device, my audio and video player and camera and camcorder.

    I enjoy my Wii but to be honest I've only bought two games for it, where as I recently purchased Sonic 4 for my iPhone. I could have gotten it for the Wii, but the thing is it was one tap on my iPhone... setting up my Wii to use WiiWare is a bit more effort.

  1. chas_m




    As a general and long-time fan of Nintendo stuff, I'd just tell them to forget it -- the handheld game-player market belongs to phones and tablets/iPads and that's just kinda it.

    Game over, dude. :)

    Having said that, I think it's awesome for a CEO to admit to spending 150 hours playing Dragon Quest IX. Bet he gets paid more than I do to do that too! :)

    Focus on making the next Wii as incredible as the last one was, and stop draining resources on a portable when you could be writing incredible games for the iPod Touch.

    (cc Sony!)

  1. Radovich

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Nintenda is right

    Does Apple threat Nintenda with what, "iPad seen as next great portable video game device"(article of ifunia ipad column), Sony and Nintendo were both a little too quick to dismiss the iPad as "a bigger iPod touch" that offered "no surprises" and in an incredible display of disingenuity from PlayStation marketing platform. Nintenda is right! The App Store ecosystem and in particular the existing billing relationship with customers is a massive advantage for iPad.

  1. SockRolid

    Joined: Dec 1969


    But Microsoft does sell toys

    "Microsoft in contrast has no handheld gaming outside of the games hub inside Windows Phone 7..."

    You could say that KIN and WP7 are toys. So using them should count toward "free time that wouldn't be devoted to a Nintendo system," right?

  1. rbodgers

    Joined: Dec 1969


    If I were a Ninendo Shareholder

    If I were a Ninendo Shareholder, I'd be pretty happy to hear SOMEONE at the company finally admit this. Because it's pretty obvious. Good on him.

  1. SockRolid

    Joined: Dec 1969


    "Hardcore Gamers" = dying breed.

    Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony are doing their best to milk the "hardcore gamer" market. The 18 to 34 year olds who would rather play video games than watch TV (and who can blame them, really?)

    More and more, "hardcore gamer" means "customers who have bought our game console." And according to the analysts, Xbox 360 and PS 3 are fighting for a distant 2nd place behind Nintendo's Wii. (Ars Technica:

    Why? Because Nintendo has a great controller and because their console isn't as expensive and complicated as PS 3 (and expensive and failure-prone as Xbox 360.) Wii may not have the same resolution or framerate as Xbox 360 or PS 3 but it doesn't matter. Playability matters most.

    As set top boxes (Apple TV, Google TV) and even TVs without external boxes (Samsung internet@TV) start to be able to run apps, many of those apps will be games. Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft had better think about porting some of their hit games to iOS, Android, and whatever Samsung is running in their TVs.

  1. Foxypaco

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Microsoft's version of Minesweeper is the best game ever!!

  1. coffeetime

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: But...

    Minesweeper rocks. It makes any Windows worth buying!

  1. chefpastry

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Physical gamepad

    I think that once someone makes a physical gamepad for the iDevices, the DS and PSP will really be finished.

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