Nintendo building 'small, select team' for smartphone development, games not ruled out

Nintendo president Satoru Iwata said during the company financial briefing that it will be dedicating a small team to mobile development, and that he hasn't restricted them from building games or using their signature characters.

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Nintendo has been hesitant to enter the mobile device market, but its recent financial drubbing has made it a bit more receptive to the idea. We've heard some back and forth this week on just what those plans might entail, and earlier today Nintendo lifted the veil in its financial call.

In the company's financial presentation president Satoru Iwata said they will be dedicating a "small, select team of developers" to mobile and intend to release some application on smart devices this year. Their focus will be to highlight "the value of our entertainment offerings, thus encouraging more people to participate in Nintendo platforms." This sounds like advertising for Nintendo games, as earlier reports indicated.

Iwata still seemed skeptical about releasing its games on smartphones, especially with their signature characters, but signaled a more receptive attitude than we've heard from the company before.

"As I said before, we feel that simply releasing our games just as they are on smart devices would not provide the best entertainment for smart devices, so we are not going to take any approach of this nature," he said. "Having said that, however, in the current environment surrounding smart devices, we feel that we will not be able to gain the support of many consumers unless we are able to provide something truly valuable that is unique to Nintendo.

"Accordingly, I have not given any restrictions to the development team, even not ruling out the possibility of making games or using our game characters. However, if you report that we will release Mario on smart devices, it would be a completely misleading statement."

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  • reply
    January 30, 2014 6:45 AM

    Steve Watts posted a new article, Nintendo building 'small, select team' for smartphone development, games not ruled out.

    Nintendo president Satoru Iwata said during the company financial briefing that it will be dedicating a small team to mobile development, and that he hasn't restricted them from building games or using their signature characters.

    • reply
      January 30, 2014 6:55 AM

      Nintendo is far too nice to survive the industry anymore. The only trend they possibly could have stumbled on is Minecraft. Any other trends in the industry are "too mean" for them. They will never push microtransactions the way they would need to in order to survive in mobile. They will never push violence the way they would need to in order to survive in console. They will never push addiction the way they would need to in order to survive MMOs and F2P PC. They are the nice guy of the industry and nice guys always finish last lol

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        January 30, 2014 7:06 AM

        Nintendo always whine about their best. Xbox One goes home and fucks the prom queen!

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          January 30, 2014 7:08 AM

          Oh shit Xbox is Nicolas Cage, PS4 is Sean Connery, and Nintendo is the stolen warheads

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            January 30, 2014 8:59 AM

            nope nintendo is most definitely nicolas cage. occasionally makes an awesome movie, but then makes ghost rider 2.

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        January 30, 2014 7:07 AM

        I agree with everything you said here, except maybe they wont finish last. Perhaps there is a place for them still. Lets see.

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          January 30, 2014 7:11 AM

          I hope so because they still do cool shit. They can totally thrive as a software company with their first party titles alone obviously. But I think they are slowly realizing the difficulty of making hardware for non-enthusiasts. Those markets require low costs and high accessibility, which make it very expensive to innovate for.

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        January 30, 2014 7:52 AM

        That's an interesting way to describe them. Possibly quite accurate too. But, I think they could be the monster in the mobile game space if they shifted their focus to smartphone game development. I mean, these are the guys that pioneered handheld gaming; games that much use simpler controls and/or touch interaction. At the VERY least they could totally ape Kairosoft and it's style of gaming. But, man, they would also rule the world if they moved Pokemon to cross mobile capable play. They could simply split the X/Y thing across platform X for iOS and Y for Android, or even Z for Windows and really force people make new friends (haha!). This would be a cash cow for them with microtransactions for cards and the perfect tie-in with just about any physical product partner for rare cards, etc.

        Sooooo much that Nintendo could bring to the table.

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          January 30, 2014 8:22 AM

          People underestimate how slimy you generally need to be to make big money in mobile. I think this is one reason why Nintendo doesnt want to touch it

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      January 30, 2014 7:05 AM

      So they're testing the waters after all. What will they do when they find out it's a low-price market?

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        January 30, 2014 5:07 PM

        What do you mean find out? Iwata gave a GDC keynote several years ago in part on the negative price pressure in app store marketplaces and how it devalues games as a medium.

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      January 30, 2014 9:34 AM

      good call to immediately reverse on their "our only goal is to sell our hardware" stance

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      January 30, 2014 10:22 PM

      Already calling it now, the will do an app that can do Miiverse, Nintendo Zone/Video and remote purchases for 3DS and Wii U eShops.

      And they will make a true unified account system so that it's not locked to the console.

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        January 30, 2014 10:26 PM

        And it will be awesome if they do it properly since at least I have been waiting for such and app for a few years now.