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Nintendo Continues Its Staunch Stance on Smartphone Gaming at E3

Despite pressure from fans and shareholders, Nintendo continues to reject the idea of releasing games via smartphones.
This article is over 11 years old and may contain outdated information

We here at GameSkinny–heck, we here in the gaming world love E3. Like anxious children waiting for Christmas we anticipate it every year, beginning to countdown the days as it grows nearer. But just like when we get socks instead of that cool bike we wanted, even the most looked forward to of events can have its frustrating moments.

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One such instance of head-scratching annoyance came today when Nintendo‘s big cheese, president of the company Satoru Iwata, announced that the company would not pursue any kind of gaming releases for smartphones. Some people rejoiced at Iwata’s firm stance on gaming in the world of the iOS or Android, seeing his rejection of these platforms as an affirmation of the integrity of Nintendo developed games. Unfortunately for Iwata, integrity plays second fiddle when it comes to shareholders, and there has been significant pressure from Nintendo’s beneficiaries to explore this burgeoning gaming market. For now, however, Iwata has successfully put his foot down on the idea of phone gaming. 

But playing Mario or Zelda would be so much fun on your iPhone, right?

The short answer is this: maybe. The idea of being able to play classic games like Super Mario 64 or The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time on the same device that you can text your best friends on is rather appealing. Iwata sees this kind of gaming as a short-term fix for the company’s current financial downturn following the sub-par reception of the Wii U. In Iwata’s eyes, smartphone gaming would ultimately take away from Nintendo’s own handheld gaming device, the 3DS.

In a statement made to the Wall Street Journal, Iwata declared that,

“If I was only concerned about managing Nintendo for this year and next year – and not about what the company would be like in 10 or 20 years – then I’d probably say that my point of view is nonsense.”

Which is true. Though hardcore gamers are resistant to on-phone releases of major titles, it cannot be ignored that even some of the industry’s biggest names are slowly moving towards this format.

“If we think 20 years down the line,” Iwata continued, “we may look back at the decision not to supply Nintendo games to smartphones and think that is the reason why the company is still here.”

While Iwata’s declaration may not be a “make it or break it” moment for Nintendo, it certainly shows that the company has drawn a line in the sand between it and the world of phone gaming.

Do you like it, or do you love? Is Nintendo rightfully protecting its products, and therefore the future of the company, by protecting them from an awkward transition to a new medium, or are they shortsightedly missing an opportunity to make a progressive business decision while also making back some of the revenue it has lost from the Wii U’s current performance?

Regardless of how it turns out, it’s a bold move on the company’s part, to say the least. But then again, people were saying that about the Wii when it was first revealed, and look how that turned out. Perhaps fortune will once again favor the bold; or then again, maybe not.

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