Nintendo Interested In Smartphones And Social Networks To Promote Business

By Ishaan . August 3, 2011 . 10:00am

Pokemon le Tap, an iOS/Android game in Japan

At an investor Q&A for the first quarter of Nintendo’s ongoing fiscal year, Nintendo president, Satoru Iwata, was asked if he would consider licensing Nintendo properties out to other companies and also offering Nintendo games on multiple platforms, beyond Nintendo’s own game systems. To the former, Iwata replied he wouldn’t.


Licensing out Nintendo’s properties to other companies might bring in short-term profits, Iwata says, but it would also pose the risk of their properties being “depleted” by licensees. For this reason, Nintendo aren’t interested in licensing their properties out.


Iwata then tackled the question of expanding to multiple platforms, and his answer to this was a little more complicated.


While Nintendo aren’t interested in bringing their games to non-Nintendo consoles, they are interested in using devices like smartphones to promote their business indirectly. “It is meaningful that we should ask ourselves the question about a closed circle where Nintendo platforms only connect to other Nintendo platforms,” Iwata told investors.


Iwata gave an example of a scenario where a player might use a Nintendo console to send a message to his friend’s smartphone, asking to join up for a game, stating that Nintendo are “very interested” in how to make use of smartphones and social networking services for their business.


“We are currently drastically changing our way of thinking regarding networks, which might have looked very closed before,” Iwata stated. “We would like to respond to the changing times in this way, and our basic policy is to keep the value of our software assets and to do business in a manner where these assets are not easily depleted.”


While it may sound that way, partnering with external service providers to promote Nintendo software isn’t an entirely new concept to Nintendo. On DSiWare, they offer a piece of software titled Flipnote Studio, which allows users to create flipbook-style animations. To help create a Flipnote Studio community, Nintendo partnered with a Japanese web services provider named Hatena, which allows users to share and comment upon Flipnote Studio animations.


The image above is of Pokémon le Tap, an iOS/Android game in Japan. The game is being published by The Pokémon Company, which is a Pokémon marketing & licensing front free to make its own decisions regarding how to promote the franchise. It isn’t an indicator of Pokémon games moving to non-Nintendo platforms.

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  • They should be interested in bringing their games to non-Nintendo devices. Maybe that will do something about all those shameless copies of their games on there.

  • SetzerGabbiani

    The shareholders pretty much forced him in to this line of thinking.  Yamauchi must be pitching a fit right now.

    Anyway, he is correct about licensing diminishing the Nintendo brand, I’m glad he’s standing strong on that point.  Sega diminished itself in this way when it left the console business.

  • I’ll say it again, Nintendo looks at Apple as a competitor.  This should not surprise anyone when it comes to casual gaming.  The mobile industry is chock full of it and Nintendo’s been focused on that knowledge for some time now.

    So color me surprised when Pokemon is iOS/Android.

    No clue what Ninty’s thinking.

    • Just to be clear, Pokémon as a series is going to stay on Nintendo systems. Occasionally, there may be something like Le Tap, which is released purely as a marketing effort by The Pokémon Company. 

    • Suicunesol

      I’ll believe it when iOS gets a d-pad.

  • Goodnight, Nintendo.

    • I don’t really think this is a bad thing, unlike their competitors Nintendo’s focused solely on gaming, they haven’t any other networks to promote their games, they could even go as far as give demos of their games to mobile devices and get them interested into buying the real game, but in the worst case scenario possible their demos would be used by Gameloft to develop more clones of their main franchises 

  • Syltique

    As one of the few people that doesn’t endlessly sing the praises of the social network and smartphone bubbles, I’m not personally that convinced that this will benefit their business in any way.  But this is what everyone else keeps raving about, so I suppose it couldn’t hurt for them to try.

    • I’m totally with you. I’ve never touched Facebook, and I have the most basic of basic phones (that I barely use). Even if it’s just simple integration with phones, like the “texting a friend to join a game” example, I think that’s giving too much to smartphones. It’d probably require friend codes anyway (just kidding…or maybe not, who knows).

      I mean, what do you want phones to do next, breathe for you? I want this trend to end as quickly as possible.

      • Syltique

        I don’t get it either.  “If only Nintendo had a Facebook page, their business would be saved!”

  • “Iwata gave an example of a scenario where a player might use a Nintendo
    console to send a message to his friend’s smartphone, asking to join up
    for a game.”

    Uh, email?

    • Leave it to Nintendo to offer old technology and stuff and try to present it like if it were a great novelty. They’ll anounce the excitement that can be achieved through online gaming next.

      • I’m not sure why Iwata is being so vague. If he’s saying that they want to add email or SMS functionality to their consoles, that’s great. No one would have a problem with that. The vagueness makes me think he’s just trying to make Nintendo seem “innovative” without committing to anything in particular.

      • punkchobit

        “Leave it to Nintendo to offer old technology and stuff and try to present it like if it were a great novelty.”

        That’s what they’re doing with WiiU/RemotePlay

  • sandra10

    I was expecting Nintendo branded phones or something where VC games would be available.

  • TomSkylark

    While I welcome a Nintendo that doesn’t view the internet as incapable of anything but doing “bad things” to children, a lot of the ideas proposed here seem fairly “meh.” 

    While it’s been fairly limited in some respects, the “Dream World” website for the most recent Pokemon games seems like an idea that’s actually worth developing and expanding upon. Granted, that’s specific to a franchise with particular, and heretofore criminally under-developed, needs for gameplay connectivity, whereas a lot of Ninty IP’s don’t particularly seem like they’d benefit from online beyond what one can do on the other current-gen systems.

    At the very least, and most obvious, Ninty clearly needs to address infrastructure since the online features for games like SSBB and Mario Kart have been so, well, iffy. In terms of broad strokes, they should get rid of friend codes, give us all dedicated Nintendo logins for the Wii U and 3DS (since we already have them for Club Nintendo anyway), do whatever inevitably shticky marketing tie-ins they feel they need to do, and call it a day.

  • At least they are finally adapting.

  • punkchobit

    “Iwata gave an example of a scenario where a player might use a Nintendo
    console to send a message to his friend’s smartphone, asking to join up
    for a game”

    I’d prefer it if you could do that from the 3DS itself.

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