Iwata: Wii U’s Tailspin Doesn’t Mean Mario is Coming to Smartphones

Nintendo isn't quite ready to embrace the smartphone phenomenon.

After Nintendo slashed their fiscal sales expectations for the Wii U (from 9 million to only 2.8 million), president Satoru Iwata made two points plain: First, he won’t resign. Second, embracing the mobile explosion isn’t the answer.

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The company posted bleak financial results, which prompted quite the assortment of responses from journalists and analysts. Some are calling for Nintendo to ditch the console business, but Nintendo isn’t prepared to put their legendary mascots on smartphones. Doing so would only hurt 3DS sales and as Iwata told investors (translated by Wall Street Journal), consoles aren’t dying.

“The spread of smart devices does not spell the end of game consoles. It’s not that simple. It doesn’t mean that we should put Mario on smartphones.”

Nintendo shares plunged 18.5 percent since the news, although the stock price did rebound recently. Thus far, the company hasn’t been interested in developing for any hardware they didn’t produce. Of course, that includes smartphones. They figure they’ve already got a great handheld device on the market, so why toss Mario, Zelda and Metroid at the smartphone/tablet market?

Well, ‘cuz it might be their only hope

Not that I’m a fan of smartphone gaming (I’m really not), but if Nintendo wants to pull out of this tailspin, they’re going to have to break with tradition. The Wii U appears to be a failure and in short, you can’t rely on your portable success forever. In fact, the 3DS has started to slip a little, too, so you gotta do something. That “something” may involve leaving your comfort zone behind.

I don’t have any interest in playing Mario on a smartphone. Let’s face it, though: A great many would.


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A gaming journalism veteran of 14 years, a confirmed gamer for over 30 years, and a lover of fine literature and ridiculously sweet desserts.