carter_craterNintendo should cancel the NX and go exclusively mobile as soon as possible. I admit that is a hot take after a few days of Pokemon GO [Free], but why shouldn't they be making a major mobile push right now? The Pokemon Company releases an app that has server issues, eats your battery, has loads of concerns as to its long-term depth being a more shallow experience than Ingress [Free], whose database it capitalizes on. That's not to mention that the game has had tons of server issues, is only available in a few countries, is a privacy nightmare that's probably sending all your embarrassing photos to your exes, oh and it has gotten absolutely zero acknowledgement of its existence by Apple nor Google. If literally anyone else released a game in this state, it would be a massive failure. None of that mattered: the app shot up to number one in downloads and grossing in the US, and it became a massive cultural phenomenon literally overnight. Nintendo is so popular it doesn't play by any of the rules that everyone else in the market has to play by. Why is Nintendo wasting time trying to sell hardware when they can print money on mobile without even trying that hard?

The thing is, no company is as perfectly suited to the mobile, free-to-play future as Nintendo is. Mario is a cultural institution, as is Pokemon (as you've seen), The Legend of Zelda is much beloved, as is Super Smash Bros., which is literally "let's put all our characters in one game fighting each other." Even Nintendo's secondary and tertiary franchises have a love for them that is tough for other companies to replicate. But that love doesn't always manifest in sales direct to Nintendo. It's often emulating the classic games, or buying merchandise, watching Smash tournaments, things that don't necessarily put money direct in Nintendo's pockets, but reinforce the power of their brands. Heck, I'd wager part of Flappy Bird's appeal was that the pipes were obviously inspired by Mario's pipes. They were a clever little subconscious aspect to appeal to people. But for the longest time, Nintendo has used this ubiquitous love to try and sell their own hardware, but that's been a bit of a declining proposition as of late. The Wii did well, but that was an anomaly thanks to Wii Sports and the excitement over the motion control gimmick more than anything else. Nintendo's other mass-market systems since the SNES have all been runner-up to someone else.

Yet, when Nintendo gives the people who love their stuff a taste of it on a platform that everyone has access to, people eat it up. Nintendo doesn't have to have a coherent launch plan or a well-made app. Miitomo [Free] had a confusing premise, was a bit disappointing for Nintendo's first mobile release, and had a clunky and slow interface...but it still drew a ton of attention. Sony can't do the same with their properties on mobile, or at least haven't yet. Their mobile tie-ins, including that recent Uncharted: Fortune Hunter [Free] game haven't exactly set the mobile world on fire the way that Pokemon GO drove pepole into a frenzy. And the Halo dual-stick shooters on mobile haven't really been massive performers either. This isn't to say that Uncharted and Halo don't have mass appeal, because they do. It's just that Nintendo has a special appeal to people who don't care about video games that they can uniquely capitalize on.

So, here's the question: when will Nintendo realize that it's worth capitalizing on their position in the cultural zeitgeist. That making console hardware is a risk, and handheld hardware is a declining propostiion? Especially when Nintendo has now shown that they don't have to do a launch well to draw massive attention to themselves? That it's not worth making hardware when they can release stuff to their audience directly, and they will eat it up? I know Nintendo has been called to go third-party before, but now is the perfect time. Sony and Microsoft rule the console roost – and it seems like they're transitioning to a more evolving platform with upgrades to the PS4 and Xbox One (though I'm skeptical about their viability). Nintendo's working on the NX, but we don't know what it is, and perhaps if it combines portability with console gaming in a meaningful way, it might be worth pursuing. But it's still a massive risk, and we have proof that Nintendo can put something out to mobile gamers, and create phenomena in a snap! Their stock price skyrocketed after Pokemon GO released! They can cut to the top of the grossing list without the months-long campaigns that something like Mobile Strike [Free] has to go through to succeed in a similar way.

Why not capitalize on that? Why spend the investment of money and R&D into manufacturing gaming hardware when a platform full of your fans ready to devour your content, not to mention a new generation that could fall in love with it, is ready for you? We have evidence that Nintendo fans don't love Nintendo enough to go and buy a Wii U or a 3DS. But they love Nintendo enough that if a cool-looking Pokemon game comes out, they'll download it right away. Now imagine if Nintendo shifted their development efforts to focus on mobile. Do you think people wouldn't go crazy over Mario games on mobile? A more traditional Pokemon game on their phone? Animal Crossing?? Even Zelda games, Metroid games, Smash Bros. games...people would play them. And with the right approach, Nintendo could make mobile work for them.

So here's what I say: Nintendo should cancel the NX. Make the bold move now, write it off a sunk cost. Maybe it's even too early to do so – like when Netflix tried to spin their DVD business off into Qwikster – but it's the right move long-term and something that needs to be done someday. It's clear where the future is, and investing into the hardware space feels like wasted efforts. Nintendo doesn't have to kill off the Wii U or 3DS right away – let them run their course, I say, though unless Nintendo is really confident about the NX providing something that nothing else in the gaming world can provide, it feels like a high potential for failure and/or sunk costs. And while perhaps the mobile-powered console box space is flawed right now, I imagine giving Apple a call about putting Nintendo games on the Apple TV might get them to make a few deals – and convince some people to pick up controllers and TV boxes that they otherwise were on the fence about buying. Nintendo does not have to go full free-to-play, nor should they: a Square-Enix-esque strategy where they try to both tackle high-priced premium games along with free-to-play games as appropriate would be perfect to appeal to both the mass market and dedicated market that wants to pay for premium experiences. Maybe a new Zelda game wouldn't work as free-to-play, but I think Nintendo could get away with selling expensive games when you have a market that often would buy the games, but had zero desire to own a console with them.

No matter what Nintendo does – and admittedly, The Pokemon Company's quasi-independent status has perhaps allowed them more latitude to tackle mobile – the ideal strategy has to include mobile as a core platform of their future. It's quite clear that there is a desire for Nintendo products that other companies can't replicate. And there's no reason why Nintendo shouldn't start trying to capitalize on that demand as soon as possible.

  • JCman7

    Ugh no

    • Jerutix

      Why, out of curiosity? I own an Apple TV and no consoles, and I'd love to fork money over to Big N for Zelda or Mario or Smash (the Holy Grail).

      • JCman7

        They are going to do both which is fine but there is no other experience like Nintendo on a console. Quality like no other. They are so creative and innovative tying them down to just mobile would be against what they are all about. They aren't in it purely for the cash cow mobile could be, they are game makers and innovators at heart.

      • aaron

        Exactly, its not one or the other.

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      • Jerutix

        Nintendo brand Bluetooth accessories? A long shot (someone posted something about this somewhere I was lurking a day or so ago), but could be a solution to bridge that gap, more or less. Also, playing devil's advocate to get more comprehensive response going!!!!

      • Agkelos

        Because Apple devices as a gaming platform just don't work in the long term since Apple, the company, doesn't seem very invested in it at all. Their system upgrades keep breaking apps, you literally don't possess any ownership rights to anything you spend money on app-wise in the apple ecosystem and the race to the bottom in terms of prices and, consequently, quality are just some of the major reasons that console/PC quality games will never make it here as it is.

      • Jerutix

        That's fair. I wonder if Nintendo could negotiate a partnership with Apple and Google to make sure their stuff always worked, though.

      • aaron

        A gazilbazillion people suddenly all logging onto servers tends to be rough at first. Look at pretty much any major game release these days. It's no different from that. They've done a pretty remarkable job actually.

        Also, to your question of partnering -- the developer of Pokemon Go is Niantic. Niantic was a internal startup at Google and still has strong ties. The creator (an ex-google creative vp) and many of his team are the same people that developed Google Earth and ran maps, streetview, etc.

  • Stephen

    This article is trolling, right?

    • elthesensai

      I wish it were but it's not.

    • Lochheart

      I don't know if they can handle both mobile / classical console.
      But Nintendo develop great games, and prove it with Pokemon GO !

  • MARl0

    No. Just no. I would probably just stop gaming altogether if this happened.

    • bhy_kim

      I agree. They established such good brands and identities of those games on their consoles. Pokemon Go succeeded but depth isn't as much as it is on their own handheld devices and the game's success owes the popularity of Pokemon what they have built on their consoles. Do you really think it just came from nowhere and free? If they go mobile-first, they are gonna lose what they have built so far. That will be the real collapse of Nintendo.

  • speedyph

    Great points carter I've never seen anything like this this is incredible I can't believe so many people are playing this game if they were to invest OMG the possibilities are endless 💯💯💯💯😁

  • DuckingGold

    Thanks for the laugh.

  • CodeREd

    Cancelling the NX because Pokemon Go is successful would be the dumbest move. What about Breath of the Wild? There are certain gaming experiences that just can't be had on mobile devices at the moment, and nixing their next console would be idiotic.

    • Wizard of Odyssey

      Breath of the Wild could totally be done on an iOS device.

      • Agkelos

        But why would Nintendo want to, that is the question. In order to publish any major IP on the Apple ecosystem, Nintendo would have to consent to play 2nd fiddle to Apple's dictatorial rules regarding everything, I really don't see that happening.

      • spader623

        Could it? Almost certainly... But how much would it cost? Ehhhhh pricy. At the absolutely MINIMUIM, 20, and I'd guess at least 40 realistically if not 60. Who would buy that? VERY VERY little people. So no.

      • elthesensai

        No it can't. iOS or Android device do not have that kind of processing power.

    • Lochheart

      Just to figure :
      Nintendo (more than 100 years) : 660 millions € (2015) revenue / 8 millions benefits
      Supercell (created 6 years ago) : 2,4 milliards € (2015) revenue / 848 millions benefits...

      It's time to admit that then really NEED mobile.

  • brantov

    all they need to do is just stop creating handhelds, but save they "home" consoles. a-a-and we will have all of their portable games, a-la DS, etc. on mobile. this will be pretty smart move on their side i suppose.

    • sbnewsom

      This. So much this. I won't invest any money on mobile devices aside from my phone. All previous mobile devices collected dust. By working something out on the mobile marketplace, would greatly change the market for the better. Nintendo devices on the iPhone and Android. Nintendo controllers. I just can't imagine buying the DS just for one or two games. Because in the end, all my time will be spent on the PC and consoles, for the definitive experience.

  • bhornburg

    Nintendo has never lost money on hardware or software and see their brand as a premium. This game is probably just thought of more as advertising to get kids and adults that are always on their phones to remember that Pokémon and Nintendo are everywhere. That's where Nintendo's strengths lie. They value their brands instead of just trying to milk them.

    Remember when Sega got out of hardware and made software only? Sega appeared to have "lost" to gamers, and their alliance on milking their franchises have left them in the sad state they are today.

    • HelperMonkey

      Carter mentions SquareEnix as a model of milking intellectual property on multiple platforms, but they never made hardware. Your mention of Sega is better food for thought, IMO.

    • Ragnar Dragonfyre

      That is exactly what it is.

      But just how many people who don't already own a 3DS will now go out and buy one so they can play Pokemon Sun/Moon? Something like 30% of 3DS owners bought the last Pokemon game. It's still a system seller I suppose.

      However, it wouldn't surprise me one bit if Pokemon GO ends up being more profitable than Sun/Moon together... and if that comes to pass, the future of the mainline Pokemon games will certainly be called into question.

      Why bother putting in the effort to develop a game like that when Pokemon GO makes Scrooge McDuck quantities of money for a fraction of the development effort?

  • spader623

    Carter, I don't think you understand nintendos philosophy... You may want to look into that a bit more next time. They are a proud company. What that means is that they want their games on THEIR consoles, and they can, therefore, make great games with said consoles. Splatoon, 3D world, Mario kart 8, all look and play absolutely fantastic on the Wii u. Why would they release on other consoles, or mobile, and give that up? Money? Well, no... Because they can just churn out Pokemon go and rake in the cash. Plus, Pokemon go not being a full fledged Pokemon game will push Pokemon go players to actual Pokemon games. It's a win win: they get tons of money, and get people to buy Pokemon on consoles/handhelds. Nintendo on mobile is risky as all hell to be honest. As an example someone else posted, take Zelda breath of the wild. How much would they sell it for? I'd say nothing short of 40, almost certainly 60. You know how many people would buy it? Absolutely no one. Ok, that's too little but my point is that the high price tag, battery drainer, and controls would all cause problems. So why? Why go mobile? I don't know, and think anyone who thinks they should should look into the company a little closer and what they stand for, not 'well it just makes sense for da monies'

  • thetrackt

    Because mobile games will probably never be quite as good console games. I for one enjoy Pokemon GO but would be so bummed if they shifted 100% to mobile.

  • Montanx HS

    Agree and I have been saying his for a year. They are massively missing out on opportunities like this. Pokemon go is not even a good game from what I've seen yet can't go 5 min without hearing about it. People who never played a game in their lives are asking me about it. Wtf.

  • HelperMonkey

    See August 11, 2011 article. Read comments. Repeat annually.

  • theryanlilo

    Cancel the NX? Can't they do console and mobile ? This idea that mobile is taking over console/PC is ludicrous. The games I play on console or PC are so much more detailed and in depth than mobile. It's not right to compare these vastly different markets.

  • vic_viper_001

    This is a joke article, right?

  • AdamBoy64

    I can see the success of Pokémon Go accelerating their move towards mobile gaming, but not so fast that they'd cancel the NX.

  • Jeff Jenness

    I have a feeling the NX will be a hybrid console that uses your cell phone as the mobile will be able to use the processing power of your phone to boost the graphics/performance of the NX home console by hooking your cell phone up to it or by streaming processing over wifi to it. They will use a controller-type shell that you will put your cell phone into, making it so you can play games on the go wihout havirely simply on touch screen. If they do that, that would be huge......the graphics of the home console would get progressively better as time went on, and the mobile portion of the console would cost barely anything for them to make, since they would just have to make a controller-type thing that hooks up to your cell phone.

  • Matthew Pyper

    I for one LOVE the mobile gaming available today. I'm a dad who no longer has the time or financial latitude to drop $xxx on a console and then sit on the couch to play again, xxx hours on a game. Sure, if I was single and didn't have a life I HAD to acknowledge, ya, I'd get back to console gaming. But as an adult who can't, this is the next best thing. I'm seriously getting tired of being treated like a second class gamer because I ONLY play mobile. The fact that I feel shunned by all the game companies that I as the consumer MADE GREAT by buying their console games is BS. Tirade aside, no Nintendo shouldn't ditch the NX, but at least start a wing of mobile developing in house to give us some love. I think if anyone could bring the mobile community back in from the cold it would be Nintendo. I've been playing Pokemon since it's US introduction on the 'ol brick gameboys (OG mobile gaming) back in '98. And ever since that first game I've been waiting for Pokemon GO. So here's our chance mobile community. Use our collective voice to MAKE game developers hear us and take us seriously. Thank you.

  • Gray Games

    Calm down. It's a great push but don't go overboard. No abandoning a game changer because one app is successful lol. This writer has Pokemon fever for sure.

    • speedyph


  • vectorarchitekt

    If Apple and Nintendo partnered and made a Nintendo phone, on which you could still play all other iOS games if you wanted.
    But as far as the NX goes, I am not really interested based on their track record since N64.
    I would kill to play some Nintendo games on my PS4; I always imagine how incredible they'd look.

  • curtisrshideler

    I just wonder how much they would have made if they gave us something to do in this app offline and when we weren't able to walk around. I'd probably have bought something in app if I actually had a game to play whenever. But with the constant server issues and nothing to do as I sit here at home at night, it makes me feel like this is a fleeting gimmick more than a solid game.

  • Mason

    This article is such a joke, it's not even funny.

  • HelperMonkey

    Secondary takeaway: Nintendo is still relevant. The AppStore not so much.

  • Dema9o9ue

    Eh. TA is the best place to go for mobile gaming articles. But time and time again they completely miss the point of console gamers and console manufacturers. Yet for some reason they love to write about consoles. Especially the death of consoles. If it's not statistics on the near future death of consoles it's calls for Nintendo to stop making them. I don't get it. They've been to E3. They saw the complete lack of a mobile presence. I love mobile as much as the next TA reader. But I don't understand why TA pits mobile against console all the time. I was playing Shadow of Mordor on my Xbox one tonight. Sometimes I'd get pissed at dying and play a few matches of Clash Royal on my iPad. Next to me was my son playing Lego Avengers on his WiiU. My house is multi-console, multi iOS device, multi-Android, 1 PC, 1 MacBook, etc. Sometimes I don't touch a particular device for a week or so. Never do I regret owning it or wish it had never been made.

  • one.sixty.four

    Oh boy. If you've ever played a true high-quality Nintendo game on a Wii U or 3DS, you'd know that something truly special would be lost if Nintendo abandoned console and went all-in with mobile. I'd hate to see that day come. We have to remember that they really care about delivering high-quality games, not just high profits. They know just as well as any of us do that the legend of Zelda: breath of the wild turned into a watered-down, causal-targeted free to play game with touchscreen controls would not only tarnish a beloved franchise, but it would destroy the bonds they have formed over 35+ years with gamers across the world. I understand that some people won't buy a console no matter the value and that new Nintendo-licensed mobile games would introduce the games to a new generation, but in my opinion that side of Nintendo should stay very much separated and in no mean a replacement to the core Nintendo studios we all know and love.

  • Marc474R

    Yeah, no. Pokémon Go is fun, but it's an exception in a sea of shitty mobile games. In a world without Zelda games, I would've quit gaming a while ago.

  • Sentinel82

    Very shallow game. Popularity will die down in a month.

    • Bigbad Bahamut

      wait til gen 2 launches!!

  • elthesensai

    This only proves that toucharcade has no idea what they're talking about when they talk about Nintendo and console gaming as a whole. First off Pokemon was able to reach the number one spot, that doesn't mean that their other games will reach those goals. Second, people also want Nintendo games that can only be played on a console. Free to play mobile isn't the same as the hardcore games. You would've made a better argument saying they should forget the NX and just develope for the PlayStation.

  • Out5poken

    Pokemon Go seems to be picking up some negative reports in the media right now - kids being robbed and lured into danger etc

  • Singhapura

    The writer of this article has no idea how the gaming industry works or how Nintendo has made money so far. They use older technology in new ways. Making the NX mobile capable would be good but going mobile first and only develop software for existing phones would basically destroy the video game industry, at least for Nintendo games. Phones are perfect for short, shallow experiences and as Pokemon Go has shown if you augment those games with AR they will be succesful. However, for anything that requires more than point and touch, you need a device that has physical controls. Sure Nintendo can make endless variations on Pokemon Go as they own the Zelda and Mario franchises as well but taking these games out of the deep and involving RPG context will end the franchise. I agree that Nintendo should use it's expertise in leveraging existing technology in innovative ways as they have always done but letting go of the hardware would be a big mistake.

  • Dnetwork7

    Wow calm down Nintendo fanboys, this article is trolling you.

    • Lochheart

      Just a thought :

      Nintendo (more than 100 years) : 660 millions € (2015) revenue / 8 millions benefits
      Supercell (created 6 years ago) : 2,4 milliards € (2015) revenue / 848 millions benefits...

      • Dnetwork7

        The only result to the success of pokemon Go I really see is Nintendo maybe leaving the handheld market for the mobile market. The success or fail of the NX will determine whether or not Nintendo will go strictly mobile therefore leaving the console market. But hey, I don't know.

  • Sergio Montes

    Stop the NX. Either you are a natural born troll or don't know a thing about this industry.
    Let me list just a few reasons to why that makes no sense
    1. There's a little thing called "Zelda Breath of The Wild" on its way. Its been chosen the best game of last E3. It's going to be massive. lot of people already reserved it. Cancel it? Generate a lot of angry people (in fact those who could become Nintendo's biggest supporters on mobile)
    2. Do you know anything about console development? That thing is almost here and its been in development for years. That means lots of 3rd, 2nd and 1st party development team are working if not finishing already several games for that console's launch... and after launch. Go tell those developers it's all cancelled. Yeah... sure.
    3. NX is being released in a few months (march 2017), there are no R&D expenses. They are way beyond that now.
    4. Nintendo will make money of it. Sure not as much as they will on mobile. But they will have benefits. And you said your self: no need to put all the efforts. Nintendo will crash both google play and the appstore with minimum effort. It just needs to put a serious effort and it will be a landslide. Serious effort doesn't mean go crazy and stop anything else. No need.
    I could go on for months, but then the NX could just be lancuhed I would be still writing about why not to cancel it.

  • Ten Four

    I didn't play my 3DS much for a couple years. Then I got it out again a few months ago to start playing all the games I've been meaning to. And good grief, the experience is 100 times more fun than almost any phone game, premium games included. It makes sense business-wise for them to stop making mobile hardware, but we will have lost some unbelievable experiences.

    Phone games can be a fun diversion, but now that I carry my 3DS with me again I can say they are a sorry thing you must settle for because you don't have a real console with you. It's not that it would be impossible for great games to be made for phones. It's that the app store economy won't allow it.

  • Desertking24

    First of all this article feels too much like a NintenDoom article. For one thing when he lumped 3ds with wiiu saying fans aren't grabbing them up. The sales say otherwise, sure it's not equal to ds but it's up there. Also mobile games just don't have the lasting feel. People play them beat them and delete them, when's the last time you went back to a mobile game without deleting it? Or when's the last time you popped in say Zelda game? You are getting quality over quantity and unfortunately to get a premium Zelda game on mobile you would have to pay $20 roughly and look at the Square Enix fiasco. They are dropping games from the App Store because it's not enough revenue.

  • HelperMonkey

    This phenomenon is more about the blossoming of augmented reality than it is about mobile gaming.
    Yes, Nintendo and Pokemon are the rocket fuel needed to launch this into orbit. It's a brilliant convergence. But this will not result in more people playing Hearthstone or Monument Valley. It will, however, result in many more companies making AR applications for smartphones. I think some of those applications will become everyday parts of life. This is where the big story is. Nintendo obviously got a huge confirmation of the value of their IPs. But this is the start of AR as a cultural norm.

  • Menezesmaia

    Man, don't get me wrong, but did you ever play a 3ds? Or the new 3ds? Just figure it out. How could you play the new Monster Hunter Generations or the new Zelda with the properly control experience in a cellphone? I just can't imagine myself living without my new 3DS. I love mobile games, but they don't give the same experience that a Smash Bros give to me when I play in a system with INTUITIVE controls, dedicate battery and dual screen. Sure one day cellphone will be great devices to play, but not today.

    Nintendo is doing just fine with 3ds and its games. Its sales are huge and profitable. 50+ millions devices sold and 200+ millions in software.

    • Ragnar Dragonfyre

      Monster Hunter Freedom Unite is a thing and was a rather popular thing until it broke.

      I'll agree that some games don't translate well to the touchscreen but all too often gamers act like dinosaurs, clinging to their old controller format while insisting that games like Infinity Blade would still be better on a console.

      • Menezesmaia

        So I played both. On PSP (MH Unite was a PSP game) and in IPhone. Unite IOS is a great game, but the lacking of controls is just obtuse. You can play well in iPhone, but the experience is not even close to the PSP. This is because the nature of MH games. It's a complex game that requires responsive and combined controls to do the combos attack and defense responses. Well, just try for yourself.

      • Alexythimia23

        But monster hunter does have controller support, im close to 100 hours in and thats all playing on my steel stratus controller, just as good as psp, well better because my controller is lighter and my ipad screen on air 2 is a lot bigger.

  • Ragnar Dragonfyre

    I also believe that Nintendo would do well to put a larger focus on mobile with full fledged games, rather than their current gateway drug strategy...

    However, I don't think Nintendo should get out of the hardware game just yet. They're one of the few game companies that can afford to experiment and fail. For all we know, the NX is more powerful than the Xbox One and PS4.

    A Nintendo console like that, considering all the negativity that Sony/MS has generated with their hardware revisions, stands to steal a huge market share from the competition.

    I'd love to see a Nintendo Renaissance where "Want to play Nintendo?" becomes ubiquitous with "Want to play games?" once again. They can't do that without hardware.

    But a FULLY FEATURED Pokemon game on mobile is something they should absolutely do. It's quite literally the perfect platform for it. Only mobile can recreate the feeling of the anime where one could walk around and get into trainer fights anywhere. There's no way that could happen on a Nintendo handheld. There just isn't enough of them out there.

  • siryami220

    Nintendo going all mobile? Um, does the author not realize how much Nintendo would be alienating their fanbase if they were to go all mobile? That would be like shooting yourself in both feet... with a rocket launcher.

  • James

    Ayy lmfao, they should start porting Breath of the wild to mobile right now, and if they are gonna screw over their fans this much they might as well make federation force into a series. This is so dumb in so many ways. Even the article that said mobile gaming is the future was not as dumb as this.