A question that has been raised since the beginning of the App Store back in 2008 is why the heck doesn’t Nintendo port some of its games to mobile? It seems like a no-brainer – any game featuring Mario, Zelda or Metroid would easily top the charts and no-doubt fetch a higher premium than most of what’s currently on the App Store. It would basically be a license to print money. Other AAA game makers have found plenty of success in mobile too, like Sega, Square Enix, EA… the list goes on. So why has Nintendo continued to stay away from the hundreds of millions of mobile device owners?
Well, it’s not quite as simple as it seems. Sure, they’d make truckloads of money putting Nintendo properties on mobile, but they are a company with a rich history and a lot of pride. Their first-party IPs are their babies, and their business model revolves around selling customers their own hardware by using the allure of those fantastic Mario and Zelda titles. Putting their roster of gaming heroes on other platforms might diminish their value, and could possibly eat into their own hardware sales. Plus, sometimes it’s not just all about the money, you know?
While Nintendo’s general sentiment towards mobile hasn’t changed, in an interview with King 5 news, Nintendo of America president and COO Reggie Fils-Aime reveals that the company is interested in “experimenting" with mobile devices, mostly in a way that will keep their brand relevant in this brave new mobile world as well as drive more customers to their own gaming hardware. Fils-Aime states “We recognize that there are a lot of smartphones and tablets out there, and so what we’re doing is we’re being very smart in how we use these devices as marketing tools for our content."
That doesn’t mean they’re just gearing up to release a bunch of advergames pushing Nintendo hardware, though. In terms of actual things to play, Fils-Aime adds “We’re also doing a lot of experimentation of what I would call the little experiences you can have on your smartphone and tablet that will drive you back to your Nintendo hardware. It’s largely going to be much more marketing activity-oriented, but we’ve done little things where there’s some element of gameplay – a movement, a shaking, something like that." So, prepare for some moving and shaking with your mobile device, Nintendo-style, at some point in the future.
As for whether or not Nintendo is interested in making full-fledged games for mobile devices, well, it doesn’t sound like that’s in the cards. “We believe our games are best played and best enjoyed on our devices," Fils-Aime says, “and so the full game play will only be on Nintendo devices." Hey, I’m not one to complain as I love my 3DS and I understand Nintendo’s position on this matter, but I would love to at least see them in the mobile space in some capacity.
Be sure to check out the full interview and accompanying video at the source link below, and expect something from the Big N on mobile devices in some form sometime down the line. Just don’t expect a full-blown Super Mario 3D Land or Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds port in this lifetime.