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Investors push Nintendo to make iPhone games

updated 08:10 am EDT, Thu August 11, 2011

Nintendo faces pressure to port to iOS

Nintendo has been facing calls Thursday to drop its policy of developing only for its own systems and support the iPhone. Following a steep 3DS price cut to make up for slow early sales, Stats Investment Management fund manager Masamitsu Ohki argued that Nintendo should either "buy its way" into the iPhone's platform or else make something of its own. He along with others is believed to have seen the Pokemon wing's plans for an iPhone game, and Nintendo's refusal to follow suit, as a sign of a disconnect with the mobile strategy.

"Smartphones are the new battlefield for the gaming industry," Ohki told Bloomberg, while MF Global FXA Securities had made a call to sell the stock claiming the company had given up creative thinking and was "behind the times."

Commons Asset Management president Tetsuro Ii was meanwhile complaining that Nintendo was making poor use of a $10 billion-plus cash reserve for strategic moves.

Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has so far steadfastly clung to Nintendo's policy of making games only for its own systems. Ironically, the company often takes an Apple-like approach and usually believes only its unique combination of hardware and software works best. Apple has cut deeply into Nintendo's profits, however, with many who would have once bought a DSi or 3DS getting an iPod touch or iPhone that consolidates their gaming with many other tasks.

Nintendo was getting some uptake for the 3DS in the wake of the price drop. In Japan, Tokyo's famed Yodobashi Camera had a significant line of people queued up to buy a 3DS after the price cut. It's not expected to produce the same effect in the US, though, and may simply see the 3DS take over from the DSi as Nintendo's mainstream handheld.

The company's long-term fate may depend on the Wii U. Original Wii sales were key to record performance and console dominance from 2006 up until mid-2010, but the company is hoping to replicate some of the advantages of tablets and fend off the iPad in the home while sticking to its fundamentals as a console maker.

by MacNN Staff



  1. lamewing

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Cash grab

    These investors are looking purely at a potential cash grab. Simple fact, the iOS devices an run games but controlling those games simply does t work as well because iOS devic es don't have physical buttons. I understand the investors' fears but just because there is a correlation beetween the rise of iOS sales and a decrease in Nintendo sales doesn't mean there is causation.

    The people who play iOS, for the most part, are not the people who play Nintendo DS (and Sony PSP) games. iOS gamers want cheap, quicky games while traditional handheld gamers want a deeper gaming experience. I have tried the ports (Final Fantasy 1, 2, 3 and FF Tactics), and in every case the PSP and DS gaming experience was better due to the physical buttons. FF 3 did look nicer on the iPhone, but it didn't improve gameplay.

    While iOS devices may steal sales from traditional handhelds simply due to a customer's limited fund restricting them to one purchase, I don't believe for a second that the games are equal on an iOS device. Nintendo's problem this time around is that people are tied of the Wii and expected great new things and instead got an overpriced gimmick in the form of 3D instead of truly contemporary handheld gaming device.

  1. burger

    Joined: Dec 1969



    While I agree that existing games are tailored to physical buttons, I think there is a huge opportunity to provide revenue for game franchises that are currently tied to the Nintendo platform. Imagine how many people would jump at the chance to buy a Mario game on the iPhone, even if it wasn't the full blown experience that you could attain with the console. The ability to provide licensed versions of these popular titles to such a large audience is the best way to ensure a future for the Nintendo name. The fear of cannibalizing sales is causing the company billions in revenue.

    As stated, they don't have to be the same games to directly compete. Provide games that stay true to the experience of the brand, but don't attempt to compete with it and they can realized the opportunity.

  1. hayesk

    Joined: Dec 1969


    DS games

    many DS games have already been made to take advantage of touch controls. There are a couple of Zelda titles that only use touch. And they don't require fine manipulation of a stylus.

  1. macnnoel

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Imagine if Nintendo created a $100 gamepad and $150 gamepad and cartridge accessory for the iPhone. Instantly they've cornered the market for those looking for physical controls. There are many children out there who can pull at their parent's purse to make the purchase happen.

    I don't think Nintendo would do it though, since Apple is nothing more than a mutant virus according to Acer.

  1. BigMac2

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Dedicated mobile gaming near end of life

    I think dedicated mobile gaming device is approaching the end of the road, any new mobile phone got more horse power than a DS or a PSP while being cheaper for hardware and software. The new Sony PSP is a castrated cellphone that don't offer anything special from a cellphone or tablet beside a game controler, something really easy to add to any already existing mobile device. Ask a kid right now what it would choose between a Nintendo 3DS or a iPod touch (or any tablet).

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