Iwata speaks about smartphones in WSJ interview


As Nintendo’s latest financial earnings continue to further paint a “gloom-and-doom” future for the company, Satoru Iwata reiterates that they currently have no plans to release their key franchises on smartphone devices. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Iwata mentions how smartphones will not be the end of home console gaming. However, Iwata states that the key to success is to use smartphones in a way that will encourage consumers to pick up the console versions of Nintendo franchises.

The spread of smart devices does not spell the end of game consoles. It’s not that simple,” President Satoru Iwata said at a news conference Friday. The key is to figure out a way to use smartphones to make people aware of Nintendo’s games, and encourage them to try out the console version of the games, Mr. Iwata said.

“It doesn’t mean that we should put Mario on smartphones,” he said.

In the meantime, it is worth noting that Nintendo is beefing up its research and development budget, and that Mr. Iwata promises to surprise game players in the future. While there are plenty of unknowns, Nintendo isn’t saying game over to consoles just yet.

It’s apparent that Nintendo will be changing their business model to ensure that the company has any long-term success with the Wii U and 3DS. Just this past weekend, Nintendo slashed its projected fiscal year sales forecast for the Wii U from 9 million units to 2.8 million.

Now, if Nintendo were to delve into some form of applications or even a retro title or two for smartphones, how would you want them to do it? Tell us in the comments below.

28 Responses to Iwata speaks about smartphones in WSJ interview

  1. Colin Crompton says:

    I’m glad Iwata is sticking to his guns and keeping Nintendo properties on Nintendo systems, putting Mario or Zelda on smartphones would only damage the solidity of that brand.

  2. Lou says:

    Colin – please explain how the brand would be damaged by reaching a larger number of consumers.

  3. Colin Crompton says:

    I just feel Nintendo would lose some quality control making smartphone games as well as 3DS and Wii U games, Nintendo is spread thin enough as it is. So if they get team D or E, for example, to make a Mario game its not going to be as good as EAD creating it and it will be percieved as utter crap. I think Nintendo should stay making great games. Maybe if Nintendo created a mobile division that is overseen by Miyamoto or Koizumi then maybe, but i just don’t see it happening.

  4. Ben says:

    What Colin said above. 🙂 More like losing ALL quality control making those kind of games.

    Then again, Sonic Dash is pretty good. But at least they’re balancing that out w/ new releases.

  5. BornFlunky says:

    There’s fine print when it comes to such changes. It’s not as simple as “reaching a larger number of consumers.” There’s consequences, like devaluing the IP, quality control, legalities, potential investment.

  6. Lou says:

    There are approximately 1.5 billion smartphones out there. To ignore that market is beyond idiotic.

    And fanboys are so classic. When third-parties don’t bring games to the Wii U it’s because they’re lazy. But Nintendo bringing their games to iOS or Android would be too difficult to maintain quality. Lololol

  7. BornFlunky says:

    Welp, tried to at least be civil. Let the trumpets blare yet again for Lou, who completely misses the point once more, and continues to insult fans of Nintendo on the site.

  8. Lou says:

    Good one Flunky. I also found your comment insulting. Let’s take one example – please explain the “legalities” involved in taking Mario to a smartphone, and why that would hurt the company.

    You’re basically talking down to everyone by throwing a few buzzwords around – how about actually explaining them.

    Also, the company has lost money three straight years now, so you’ll need to fix that without a mobile device strategy. Good luck!

  9. Lou says:

    And when sticking to your “keep trying what’s failing” strategy, consider a few other things:

    The Wii U is currently the 7th best selling hardware device.
    3DS sales still lag original DS sales, and are nothing compared to smart phones and tablets.
    XBox 360 and PS3 are rumored to have price cuts coming next month.
    Nintendo is rumored to be working on the next console already.

    Rumors of a new console? True or not, for some this will be another reason to pass on the Wii U.

  10. Colin Crompton says:

    Lou, I agree the Wii U is not currently blazing a path to glory, although its not dead and buried yet. Nintendo have said they are always working on hardware. The 3DS being behind DS units is a silly point to make, the 3DS has a higher price point and has sold over 40 million units and Nintendo has made profit on every single one. Sony and Microsoft reducing the price of their seventh generation consoles makes sense because they are now last generation, Nintendo did the same to the Wii, and this doesn’t effect Nintendo anyway as they are serving a different market altogether.

  11. Johnson says:

    If Nintendo can solve the consistent controller scheme issue that afflicts tablets/smartphones they’d do great. I’d just focus on the iPad initially.

    Reading Iwata’s comments it sounds like he wants to tease people with mini-games on a smart device. After playing for 5 minutes they’ll be so enthused that they’ll rush out and buy an under powered console (Wii U). Not going to happen. Likewise, most smartphones are 20 times more powerful than a 3DS. It’s just going to sully the brand if you insult an iPhone 5 owner by telling them they need to buy a less functional device to play a full game.

    And let’s not forget the Xbox/Sony systems. Those have consistent controls and Mario would look great on them…

  12. Lou says:

    Agree with Johnson – a mobile “teaser” is a dumb idea. Is Nintendo completely unaware of all the ways people are playing their games on mobile devices anyway?

    Colin – my point on the MS and Sony price cuts is that those systems are currently outselling the Wii U anyway, and they’re about to get cheaper. Thus spreading their reach and further shrinking the market for Nintendo.

  13. Colin Crompton says:

    Yeah fair point Lou

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