Since early last decade, Microsoft and Sony have been the companies who have consistently tried to outdo each other in the console world with bigger, better and faster hardware with all the latest technology. Meanwhile, Nintendo sort of went in their own direction, sacrificing hardware specs in favor of cheaper pricing and innovation like motion controls. It worked out well for them with the original Wii, but hasn't quite taken off how they'd hoped with the newer Wii U. I think it's safe to say though that Nintendo is content marching to their own drummer in the console world.
In fact, Nintendo has always sort of stood above the rest in the video game world, from their stable of iconic characters to their literal "Nintendo Seal of Quality" that they used to require after deeming a game worthy of being on their console. First-party Nintendo software and hardware has always felt a notch above what rival companies offered over the past 30 years.
Often people ask why Nintendo, with the lukewarm reception to the Wii U and a Nintendo 3DS handheld system which struggled out of the gate upon release but has slowly gained a lot of traction, wouldn't just put their beloved franchises on other platforms–like, say, the App Store–and just sit back and watch the millions roll in. It seems like a no-brainer that would please shareholders and gamers the world over, so why don't they do it?
Well, they've answered that many times already. Back in 2011, with the 3DS launch not going so great, and despite pressure from investors to put first-party titles on other platforms, Nintendo was pretty clear that they were more interested in the long-term of Nintendo and its own products rather than cashing in on short-term profits from porting games to other systems.
Even two years removed from those statements, Nintendo's stance hasn't changed. In an interview with CVG (via Daring Fireball), Nintendo President Satoru Iwata again answers why we won't ever see Nintendo's properties on non-Nintendo platforms. Short-term profits aren't worth sacrificing Nintendo's long-term image for.
In addition, and also as stated by Iwata back in 2011, Nintendo recognizes the benefit of having first-party software development and hardware development under the same roof, as the two can stimulate each other and create experiences that harmonize in a way that other game companies can't match. As Daring Fireball points out, controlling both the hardware and software sides of things in an effort to offer an unparalleled experience is similar to the modus operandi of another popular tech company: Apple.
Just as it wouldn't make much sense for Apple to rush out and license iOS for other mobile devices or OS X for any desktop computer, I just can't ever see Nintendo doing the same with Mario or Zelda unless they were in dire, dire financial circumstances. And even then I'm not too sure, they might rather go under than relinquish control of their babies. Nintendo is a proud company, after all.
At any rate, even though the Wii U's prospects look bleak at the moment, the 3DS has made a triumphant turnaround and Nintendo is in no way hurting financially. With the mounds and mounds of Wii and DS cash they're currently sitting on, they'll be in business for a long, long time regardless of if the Wii U ends up bouncing back or not.
Be sure to give the entire interview a read at the source link below as there's some great insights from Iwata regarding his iconic video game company. However, if you're an iOS gamer still holding out hope for some Nintendo games on your iPhone, the message from Big N to not get your hopes up is as loud and clear as it ever was.