Sure, Nintendo now plans on investing in smartphone development. But the company believes it can take other lessons from the mobile space as well. In particular, company head Satoru Iwata thinks it must adopt a unified architecture in order to make cross-platform development easier.
"Apple is able to release smart devices with various form factors one after another because there is one way of programming adopted by all platforms. Apple has a common platform called iOS. Another example is Android. Though there are various models, Android does not face software shortages because there is one common way of programming on the Android platform that works with various models," Iwata told investors at a recent Q&A. "The point is, Nintendo platforms should be like those two examples."
A unified development platform would make cross-platform ports easier, something that Iwata says it struggles with. "For example, currently it requires a huge amount of effort to port Wii software to Nintendo 3DS because not only their resolutions but also the methods of software development are entirely different. The same thing happens when we try to port Nintendo 3DS software to Wii U," Iwata lamented. "If the transition of software from platform to platform can be made simpler, this will help solve the problem of game shortages in the launch periods of new platforms."
There are a number of games we'd love to see move from 3DS to Wii U. For example, Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon is a gorgeous game that would likely look spectacular if given the HD treatment. Nintendo's competitors are taking advantage of easier cross-platform development, with Sony promoting Cross-Play between PS4, PS3, and Vita, and Microsoft promoting games across Windows 8, Windows Phone, Xbox One, and Xbox 360.