Nintendo Interested In Smartphones And Social Networks To Promote Business

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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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Image of Ishaan Sahdev
Ishaan Sahdev
Ishaan specializes in game design/sales analysis. He's the former managing editor of Siliconera and wrote the book "The Legend of Zelda - A Complete Development History". He also used to moonlight as a professional manga editor. These days, his day job has nothing to do with games, but the two inform each other nonetheless.