Back in 2010 when iOS gaming was taking off, Nintendo appeared very nonchalant about the possibility of iOS gaming threatening Nintendo’s stranglehold on portable gaming. Reggie Fils-Aime, Nintendo of America president, didn’t see Apple as a threat to the company’s hardware or software business because the data he had studied suggested that iOS gamers downloaded F2P games constantly but only played them briefly before moving to the next game. For Fils-Aime, such gaming behaviors and the dominance of F2P over paid downloads meant that mobile couldn’t be a viable profit platform (I’m pretty sure Clash of Clans would beg to differ). In terms of gaming experiences, Fils-Aime concluded, Nintendo offered games that were between “snacks and full meals" while Apple’s games were barely a mouthful.
Fast forward a few years into the future and Nintendo has now changed its tune and is bringing its IPs to mobile with the help of DeNA. Still, as evidenced by his statements in a recent interview, Fils-Aime hasn’t changed his view of the mobile world all that much and appears to see mobile simply as a gateway to Nintendo’s “core" video system business. He stated that Nintendo plans to leverage its IPs to create a positive experience for the players and “drive people back to our core video system business whether it’s handheld or console." He was adamant about Nintendo having sole control of the content and relying on DeNA simply for its “rapid iteration process" that can help improve the content.
I find it interesting that Nintendo continues to publicly “devalue" mobile games even as it’s venturing into that world as we speak. I understand that Nintendo’s identity is and probably always will be inherently tied to its hardware; yet, if times have changed so much that Nintendo apparently feels obligated to enter the mobile space, then maybe the company should take this space more seriously than it appears to be at the moment. Nintendo’s games are probably the most famous in the gaming world, so I’m sure that if used correctly, they can become huge on the App Store. Who knows, maybe Nintendo can take over the mobile space after all and decide to shift more resources on this side of the gaming universe, but that won’t happen if the Japanese company stubbornly refuses to appreciate iOS gaming.