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Nintendo Wants To Leverage Mobile, But Not With Games

by Mike Futter on Jan 20, 2014 at 06:04 AM

Last week’s news that Nintendo will miss its sales and overall financial forecasts for the current fiscal year led the company to suggest it will explore different business models moving forward. While mobile seems like the obvious place for a company already dominating the handheld space, anticipation of Mario and friends making the jump to iOS and Android are premature.

Speaking on Friday during a news conference, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata talked about how the company might approach other segments. “The key is to figure out a way to use smartphones to make people aware of Nintendo’s games, and encourage them to try out the console version of the games,” Iwata suggests. "It doesn’t mean that we should put Mario on smartphones.”

In November, Nintendo purchased stock in Dwango, which owns mobile video company Nico Nico Douga. At the time the company wasn’t specific about the motivations behind the purchase, but was clear that it wasn’t to distribute titles via the service.

[Source: Wall Street Journal]


Our Take
Nintendo is smart to approach mobile cautiously. A hasty move could have the negative effect of eroding 3DS hardware and software sales. However, using mobile as a complement to games on 3DS and Wii U could work out well. 

An official Pokédex that hooks into the next Pokémon game, a Super Smash Bros. tournament app, and a way to record Mario Kart replays for mobile viewing could all be ways that Nintendo leverages and monetizes a mobile market that’s ripe for second-screen experiences. Nintendo has some room to grow in its approach to online, but with the potential revenue, an investment in infrastructure makes sense.