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Nintendo Researching Gaming Phones


A shareholder recently said to Nintendo president, Satoru Iwata, that he felt games were a waste of time and that he would never buy a product like the Nintendo 3DS unless it had further value added to it, such as the functionality of a mobile phone or some other practical application, suggesting that Nintendo investigate the possibility of releasing their own gaming phone.


“If we had never considered combining a mobile phone and a handheld device, we would be negligent, but on the other hand, mobile phones are subject to monthly fees and we need to consider how well this would fit with game devices or how we should balance these aspects,” Iwata revealed in his response.


“Adding to this,” he continued, “mobile phone companies are generally divided by countries and when running a business on a worldwide basis, we need to consider in what conditions can we partner up with mobile phone companies around the world. Please understand that we are still researching these areas.”


To another investor who requested implementing smartphone functionality into the current 3DS, Iwata replied that doing so would require Nintendo to compete head-on with smartphones. "Nintendo is not a company which has yielded results so far by directly competing with other companies in that way," he emphasized.


“It is theoretically correct,” Iwata conceded, “that for example, if you added a GPS function to the Nintendo 3DS, you could create a 3D car navigation system with the Nintendo 3DS, but rather than putting effort on creating such things, we have to develop things which are ‘only enjoyable on the Nintendo 3DS,’ things that can not be achieved on iPhone or other smartphones, and offer them.”


He concluded: “And, by the time smartphone applications take a part of the idea from, refer to or imitate such things, Nintendo will have had to have already proposed the next thing. A bright future can not be realized if things do not work in this way. I would like to strive to propose products or software which make even iPhone or other smartphone users feel that the Nintendo 3DS is worth carrying around with them.”

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.