Okay, I realize that the title of this article is painful to read. However, that was my immediate thought when I read that Ngmoco thinks the Nintendo handheld division is about to implode. In my opinion, they are trying to conjure up some publicity for their “free to play” mobile games. Those games just so happen to be downloadable for Android and iOS.
Ngmoco Ceo Neil Young thinks that consumers don’t want to pay $30 for a handheld game, when they can download it for free on an Android or iPhone.
“The ecosystem that they’ve created, it’s just really difficult to justify spending $30 on a game that is anything other than a Mario, a Zelda, a Pokemon. I think that ultimately their ecosystem starts to fall apart.”
I almost feel that I cannot take him seriously. Sure I have downloaded free games and became bored to death with them after a few hours of play. With Handheld consoles I seem to replay the games over and over. Not just for Nintendo either, I own a Gameboy advance, DS Lite, 3DS, PS Vita, PSP, and Neo Geo Pocket, each of which gets played over and over again. Whereas the free games on my iPhone and Droid Razr get played a bit, deleted and then something else takes their place, with the exception of Final Fantasy I-III and Chaos Rings.
Mr. young also had this to say, “I think that Apple has done a number on Sony, and Apple and Android are now doing a number on Nintendo. What they’re really doing is defeating the Nintendo hardware machine.”
Here is my take on his comments. Mr. Young wants to draw attention to his company’s games. He makes a general comment stating that cellular gaming will bring down Nintendo’s handheld business (essentially rattling the Nintendo community), which draws attention to his games. People will download his games to see why they are so great. The downloads will boost their numbers over the next week or so. He can then show those inflated numbers to the advertisers, who will then buy more ad space and increase profits for Ngmoco.
Maybe I am wrong, but it seems to be the route he is going. What he doesn’t realize is that the 3DS, Vita and other consoles are a one time buy, meaning you buy it and it is yours. Unlike a cellular phone which requires a monthly fee to use the service. The games for handhelds can also include broader story lines, better game play and increased graphics because the storage is not limited to the space on your phone, but instead on the cartridge or disk.
Obviously gaming on mobile devices is getting better and may one day rival the big three, but I feel we are a long time away from that. I don’t want to play Mario on my iPhone or Sonic on my Android, I want to play them on a Nintendo console/handheld.
What are your thoughts on Ngmoco and Neil Young? Do you feel that his comments hold any water in the future of the handheld gaming industry? If so, how would it revolutionize tablets and phones, would they all require controller attachments, built in controls, or is touch screen controls the future of gaming?