Nintendo To Dedicate A Small Team To Smartphone Development

By Ishaan . January 29, 2014 . 7:41pm

Nintendo will not be bringing their games to smartphones and other smart devices, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata stated during a financial results meeting with investors and analysts today.


“Many people say that releasing Nintendo’s software assets for smart devices would expand our business,” Iwata stated. “However, we believe that we cannot show our strength as an integrated hardware-software business in this field, and therefore it would difficult to continue the same scale of business in the medium- to long term.”


That said, Iwata continued, Nintendo will dedicate a small team of developers to take advantage of smart devices with the intent of promoting their own software.


“We would like to, instead of directly expanding our business on smart devices, focus on achieving greater ties with our consumers on smart devices and expanding our platform business,” Iwata stated. “However, creating stronger ties with consumers would require them to engage with our offers frequently. As we know that this is not an easy task to achieve, we will use a small, select team of developers to achieve it.”


“We recognize that attracting consumers’ attention among the myriads of mobile applications is not easy, and as I said before, we feel that simply releasing our games just as they are on smart devices would not provide the best entertainment for smart devices, so we are not going to take any approach of this nature,” Iwata elaborated.


He continued: “Having said that, however, in the current environment surrounding smart devices, we feel that we will not be able to gain the support of many consumers unless we are able to provide something truly valuable that is unique to Nintendo. Accordingly, I have not given any restrictions to the development team, even not ruling out the possibility of making games or using our game characters.”


Iwata was careful to point out once again that this doesn’t mean Nintendo plan on bringing their traditional software to smartphones.


“If you report that we will release Mario on smart devices, it would be a completely misleading statement,” Iwata warned. “It is our intention to release some application on smart devices this year that is capable of attracting consumer attention and communicating the value of our entertainment offerings, so I would encourage you to see how our approach yields results.”


It would seem a report earlier in the week by Japanese business publication Nikkei wasn’t off the mark—Nintendo will be releasing apps and mini-games on smartphones to promote their consoles and characters.

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  • Brimfyre

    Mario on Smartphones????? kidding. Pretty much what was expected. I imagine that small team will be pretty darn small as it seems they are already stretched pretty thin.

    Just makes it seem like, “Here are five interns we are letting make apps to get our investors to shut the hell up.”

  • TheExile285


    I guess this is Ninty trying to get investors to pipe down but damn.

    • Heisst

      What’s the issue? It’s not like they’re gonna make games on smartphones.

  • JustThisOne

    Makes sense. I understand they’re very serious about their brand, but when you’re not doing so good – you’ve got to try something new. This is… a step forward, I think. Or at least towards something.

  • Slickyslacker

    Exactly what I expected.

    No matter how much one may bemoan this: Iwata is staring directly down a business-perspective tunnel, with his company’s deficit looming grandly above his head. He knows precisely how not to lose his core consumer base, while still endorsing Nintendo’s products as much as possible. It’s a simple fact that everyone owns a smartphone: both in the East and the West. Streamlining advertisements for Nintendo’s consoles and games directly to the world’s most popular handheld device is what they ought to do.

    Look at what Square Enix did: they put their games on smartphones, see how well that turned out? Iwata is refusing to resign his products to the level of mobile phones, while smartly promoting them in an easily accessible way.

    Now, get back to work on Zelda U. Not to mention Metroid Dread (come on now, it’s perfect for the console!) and perhaps even a new Star Fox title, if they’re feeling generous.

    • Square is loosing at the same time core fans from consoles, let’s see wich fans will stick in the end with Square : core fans or whales ?

    • fairysun

      The problem with Square is, they butchered their legacy when they released their product on Smartphone (e.g.FF VI) and charge with ridiculous high price. Who are their target? The original fans will not buy it because of the butchered version. The casual gamers will not buy it because of the high price.

      • CirnoLakes

        Do not speak for everyone. There are plenty of people who like the port of Final Fantasy VI and think it’s great.

        I’m tired of people acting like the mobile version is a great shame for Square Enix, objectively bad, and universally disliked.

        I, for one, much prefer some of the new sprites in the mobile port.

  • ronin4life

    I feel like they made several announcements… of announcements to be made later.
    Not a horrible thing to do SOME of the time… but they need to get some real info out NOW.

  • DanijoEX ♬ the Cosmic Owl

    Not sure what to say or whether it’s a good/bad thing…

    • Kumiko Akimoto


  • revenent hell

    I kind of applaud Nintendo on this yet I feel bad for them at the same time….
    Its nice to see a company NOT throw out smartphone ports or “mini” games and such one after another just because they are cheap and easy to make instead of console games just because they sell well in select countries.
    Its refreshing to see a game company maintain standards with games and yet its sad to know that they wont make a cheap and easily milkable game for those devices and gain the extra income.
    SE seems to focused on these games and Nintendo wont even consider it……Two very different extremes.

    • Kumiko Akimoto

      Actually I wouldn’t mind if they started producing more smart phone games for that reason and spread out their console game development.
      Because it makes sense to make things that are fast ,affordable and decent with a good growing market but also keep on development with your biggest ips.

      • revenent hell

        I don’t begrudge the smartphone i-whatever games because they are a trend and while I don’t see them as a draw for major gamers it is an easy income and they could probably use it at this point. (frankly they just aren’t popular where I live)
        My sole worry is that if they did run with this trend they would turn in to SE and focus more on these types of games rather than console type games….. And that’s NOT a good thing

        • Kumiko Akimoto

          But SE does focus on it’s console games just as much as it does the smart phone ones. Their consoles games are always big and always take a long while to produce.So them having more original smart phones and ports is kinda naturally considering things. Plus they’ve probably been the mobile scene for a long while now as it was always stronger in japan than in the west

          • revenent hell

            Not in my opinion. They roll out more games for mobiles than they have anything else. Remakes and ports of games don’t count as “new” to me since they aren’t. If they took the incentive and created “new” GOOD games that they took with releasing mobile games XV would have been released long before the XIII saga.

          • Kumiko Akimoto

            I said that of course they are making more mobile games because it’s cheaper but their main stuff takes longer to make which is why there is an imbalance between the two types of platforms.
            That and besides the remakes and ports which they have ported to consoles before mobiles games they’ve come up with original titles specifically for mobile platforms.
            So it’s not like they just do rehashes all the time and it’s not like they’ve forgotten about their big money makers

          • revenent hell

            Yes but you missed the sarcasm. If you read it and overlay extreme sarcasm you will get it the XV comment was probably the best clue there. Its apparently been in development hell for ten plus years considering how long its taken to get off the ground running.
            Not to mention they throw out games like the XIII saga fairly quickly…. Makes one wonder how and why….[insert more sarcasm]

  • konsama

    Ouch, i can assure many people like to bash nintendo, but man listening to this actually tears one’s heart. :/

  • Natat

    I feel like, as if this was the beginning of the end. Not sure exactly of what, but this is still quite a vexing feeling.

    • revenent hell

      Its not all that dismal buddy.
      Nintendo isn’t exactly bankrupt and fiscally while they didn’t live up to their expectations they aren’t truly doing “poorly”.
      If they thought theu needed the cheap income they would follow SE and make the phone games and whatnot. They are obviously doing well enough that they don’t have to…yet…But I get your sentiment

      • Natat

        Yeah I do realize that I’m probably blowing this way out of proportion. I hope I am anyway. It’s still unsettling though.

  • Mike G. Moran

    All this basically means is “We’re letting some guys play with smart phones. We told them to not make games but we’ll see what happens.”

    We really have no idea what’s going to happen if this is a transparent statement.

  • MXC

    So the way I see it they will start making smartphone games which is not bad. But depending on how they choose to profit form this is what worries me. My only hope is that they don’t choose to port like crazy like a certain other recently smartphone interested company. Please let their be a new IP or something.

    • revenent hell

      Did you read the article?
      They will be putting out advertisements for games NOT games themselves (as of now) for these devices…..
      Please re read the article.

  • MogMoogle

    I can’t help but hear Iwata’s voice when I’m reading his quotes. XD

    • Great! Now I’m doing it, too. xD

  • Wow. I was expecting Nintendo to announce the Nintendo Phone or something, but this…this is still a step in the right direction for them in terms of getting on the mobile market.

  • tubers

    Baby steps I guess.

  • KuroNathan

    I think Miaut was the one who mentioned yesterday that when nintendo denies something is going to happen, they’re going to announce that they’re doing it the next day.

    • Tylor Boreas Makimoto

      Yeah, I still remember the XL. I just bought a Midnight Purple replacement, too.

  • Guest

    Works for pokemon.

  • LonelyGuardian

    So is this a possibility or is it illegal due to copyright/pricing standards/ whatever– Could Nintendo release NES/SNES/GBC/GBA games for smartphones alongside the eshop and simply charge a slightly higher price for the smartphone game than the one on the eshop? In this regard it would allow for those with 3ds/WiiU to be encouraged to buy from the eshops due to the slightly cheaper options, while simultaneously allowing entrance to Nintendo’s franchises for those who only own smartphones. This will bring in profits from both sources, and shift any opinions that NIntendo doesn’t listen to fans. Also, what about extending this same idea to Steam or a site like it? Several gamers emulate due to no longer having the particular console, or the game never arriving in their region, so why not take advantage of a site like this, or even create their own for the PC/LInux/Mac users?

    • Laer_HeiSeiRyuu

      They wont be putting old games on smartphones

      • LonelyGuardian

        I agree they won’t, but Nintendo needs more options, and that is one if it’s not illegal.

        • Laer_HeiSeiRyuu

          That option would undermine their overlying strategy

          • LonelyGuardian

            I must’ve missed it, but what is their overlying strategy? I thought it was simply to sell games, keep the company prosperous, and bring happiness and fun to people through those games. If the smartphone idea is erroneous, then what of them creating a site for PC/Linux/Mac and providing past games there from the VC that would link to one’s N network account?

          • Laer_HeiSeiRyuu

            Nintendo’s avenue of long term profit centers about the ecosystem they create, going mobile may make them money in the short term but it wont do anything for their long term approach and vision and it would undermine their current software strategy by moving people out of their ecoystem ( I have sincere doubts putting old core game software would even sell to this group of people to begin with, its mostly new stuff that draws in customers in droves, only adults would play the old stuff. Square enix will tell you all about it, they only put old gams because its cheap and easy money, but small money. Peanuts to a company like NIntendo.)

  • Pepe Maglutac

    If this means that we’ll get a club nintendo android/ios app, I’m game for that.

    I swear, using the club nintendo website on smartphones is suffering.

  • souio

    As much flack as I’ll probably get for this, if the price was reasonable, I’d actually play a sequel to Kirby’s Canvas Curse on my smartphone.

    • souio

      actually, I retract that last statement as a Canvas Curse sequel would look amazing in 3d on 3DS, but I think smartphones would actually be a good place to port Canvas Curse as long as it’s reasonably priced and has no IAPs.

  • HansKaosu

    Nobody wants to play stupid promo games. Get a grip already Nintendo.

  • Göran Isacson

    So essentially, using smartphones to release cheap advertisement-type apps to get people to buy the 3DS games?… Maybe that could work. I however mostly fear that mad parents will buy these aps for their kids and then get upset when they see that the thing they bought which had Nintendo on the name doesn’t actually have any Nintendo GAMES, just a general note of where they can find Nintendo games.

    Granted, maybe these promo apps will be free, less mad dads and moms that way…

  • Eilanzer

    First step to become crap like sony of today ¬¬
    Welcome to the ios hell nintendo

    • XiaomuArisu

      Sony is crap?
      Pretty sure I have more PS3 and Vita games then mobile

  • ZnTxn

    MARiOS devices!

  • RunningWild1984

    Phones aren’t for games.

    • Brandonmkii

      Not yet. They totally will be though.

  • Yan Zhao

    This is a pretty good decision. Almost everyone owns smartphones so its a good way to promote/advertise your games and brand by finding ways to get people interested.

  • subsamuel01

    I don’t think smartphones are Nintendo’s problem its the Wii U. The PS4 and Xbox One are selling extremely well, I think the fault lies with the marketing around the system. My friends thought a Wii U was just an expansion of a Wii. Plus they need to start rolling out those first party titles like they did with the 3DS. There was almost an exclusive title every month, if they can do that they’ill be just fine.

  • CirnoLakes

    Isn’t this the rumor that they denied just recently? That’s a bit confusing, to me. Perhaps they denied one thing, while something completely different is true? It does sound like the original rumors, though.

    In any case, Nintendo have to do something, and there’s no harm in occasionally developing for other hardware. The reason that their games for the PC and CD-i did poorly many years ago, was because they were very poor games. And it sounds like in this case, they’re only experimenting with a new platform, that sounds like a good idea, to me. It can’t hurt to test the waters and experiment.

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