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Nintendo on Smartphones

Zero Intentions

In October 2013, a senior research analyst at Nintendo announced that Nintendo does not intend to build games for mobile operating systems like iOS, Android and Windows Mobile. This came as a shock to many, what with the fact that Nintendo has been losing money, not making it. According to its most recently released financial statements, the company actually lost $187 million during the third quarter of 2013.

Nintendo on Smartphones

Nintendo argues that it does not need to pursue the smartphone market because its sales are booming. For instance, more portable 3DS consoles sold in 2013 than they did in 2012. Plus, Nintendo’s newest product, the Nintendo 2DS, has not had enough time to build up fans in Australia, Europe and North America. Last but not least, Nintendo believes in cutting a unique path through the industry, which means steering away from what everybody else is doing.

Brand Recognition

Another reason Nintendo prefers to steer clear of the smartphone market is that it believes such a move would hurt its brand. In fact, a spokesman for Nintendo said that, “You can’t get a true feel for Mario on smartphone.” This is a true statement, because touch screen mobile devices cannot offer the precision control, high-quality graphics and hardcore processing power of a traditional console system. Comparing smartphones to traditional consoles is in fact a lot like comparing apples to oranges.

To enter the smartphone market, Nintendo would need to change all of its games. For one, the controls would need to be simplified. This would affect the experience. Furthermore, the games would need to be lessened in size. Graphics would need to be adjusted. And even storylines would need to be modified. All of these things do not bode well for the brand.

Tinker Tinker

A full-blown version of Super Mario Brothers or Zelda will never show up on an iOS or Android phone. However, that doesn’t mean Nintendo isn’t willing to tinker around with smartphones a tad. According to Nintendo’s CEO, the goal of this tinkering is to discover ways to bring customers back to traditional Nintendo consoles. So instead of trying to build games for smartphones, Nintendo is using smartphones to market its own consoles and games. The goal is to simply extend the brand without actually changing the way it functions.

Only In Dreams

Face it. Nintendo will likely never jump on the smartphone bandwagon. Is this a good or bad thing? It depends on perspective. It’s missing out on a thriving market, but it’s maintaining its brand integrity. Regardless, Nintendo is just not willing to budge. It would take too much time and cost too much money to port its huge itinerary of games to a system that retails games for an average of $1 a pop. So if you want to partake in a Nintendo game, you’ll need to invest in a traditional console system, period. There’s just no way around it. In the meantime, keep an eye out for Nintendo ads on your iPhone!

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