Nintendo explains why their games will not enter the mobile market

On March 13, 2014

With recent sales forecasts for their Wii U console being slashed by 70%, a number of analysts and critics have been putting pressure on Nintendo to enter its games into the smartphone market. With the mobile gaming platform growing consistently, this could be the answer to the game company’s financial difficulties.

However, the Japanese gaming giant have continuously stated that they are not looking to release Nintendo app games, despite rising pressure from investors. In an interview with Gamespot, veteran Nintendo producer Kensuke Tanabe explained the logistical reasons why Nintendo may be so determined not to enter into the mobile market: “With games like Mario and Donkey Kong, the control input is such an important part of that; I think if you’re trying to replicate that feeling of control that you have traditional to those games, translating those to a smart device that’s just a really, really difficult task,” he said. “Of course I’m not ignoring the fact that the marketplace is flooded with these devices and that there are a lot of games created specifically for them. Personally, as I mentioned earlier, I don’t have curiosity of or feeling of needing to create or wanting to create games for those devices. I want Nintendo games to be played on Nintendo hardware.”


Michael Kelbaugh, the CEO of Retro Studios which developed Donkey King and Metroid, stated that a change in hardware would make little difference to game production. “We make games, and more importantly, we make Nintendo games,” he said. “That’s where our emphasis is and that’s what we want to do. Hardware to us is kind of secondary. We put everything we have into making great games and we’ll make those on whatever hardware Nintendo supports.

“What we’re focused on is just making a great game. Wherever it ends up, that’s not our decision, so I think we need to concentrate on making great content and let Nintendo decide what box they want to put it in, how they want to package it. Watching this whole debate going on right now… I don’t give it a whole lot of thought just because I’m concentrating on making a fun, great game and hardware’s always kind of a revolving target I guess.”

Undoubtedly, the mobile market is having an effect on consoles though. A recent report by App Annie found that game content revenue from the App Store and Google Play was three times higher than handheld gaming consoles by the end of the third quarter of 2013. Analysts believe this is due to the multifunctional abilities and convenience of smartphones and tablets, as well as the free and low priced app content and access to sites such as Platinum Play games.

Nintendo are not completely dismissing the mobile market. They are considering the use of smartphone and tablet devices as a way to encourage players towards the company’s flagship consoles. “The spread of smart devices does not spell the end of game consoles. It’s not that simple,” said Nintendo President Satoru Iwata. “It doesn’t mean that we should put Mario on smartphones.”