Nintendo struggling, mobile devices could come to the rescue

Nintendo content on mobile is something many of us dream of, but it might be finding its way on to the table following the Japanese game company's latest financial reports. After forecasting a $240 million loss for the year following weak demand for the Wii U, Nintendo President Satoru Iwata outlined what may come next, as reported by Bloomberg:

“We are thinking about a new business structure,” Iwata said at a press conference yesterday in Osaka, Japan. “Given the expansion of smart devices, we are naturally studying how smart devices can be used to grow the game-player business. It’s not as simple as enabling Mario to move on a smartphone.”

Hardcore gamers are favoring the new PS4 or Xbox One, while casual gamers are rapidly shifting towards mobile devices like the iPhone and iPad. Nintendo is a gaming institution, so we're all hoping it pulls through the tough times. But the prospect of Nintendo even considering mobile devices in its strategy has us more than a little excited.

Especially considering just some of the possible ways they could integrate with iOS. Anyone else still fancy seeing Mario, Zelda, and Metroid on iPhone?

Richard Devine

Senior Editor at iMore, part time racing driver, full time British guy

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There are 21 comments. Add yours.

lbaxter says:

I would buy/play the heck out of some old school NES/SNES titles on my iPad!

Emulators are nice, but too much of a hassle for me. An official, smooth release of Nintendo titles in the AppStore is just what the Dr. Mario ordered!

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afelzz says:

The only thing is, the 3DS has been KILLING it since Q4 2012, and a mobile platform may draw competition away from it's own mobile devices.

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boobsandbacon says:

I think they should probably realize that the home console market may not be for them anymore. While saying that the 3DS is selling like crazy. The mobile market might be good for them but they would have to stick to older snes/nes/and maybe n64 games. Guess they would have to decide is cannibalising their biggest money maker worth it

Jacob Kral says:

Please Nintendo, go the way of Sega. Get out of the hardware business and just go all out on software, come on, imagine Zelda for the PS4. It would be a dream come true. Superb games on systems that can actually unleash more potential! Super smash bros on another system would feel odd at first, but once you got past that it would be amazing.

WPSteve says:

+100

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eahinrichsen says:

Oh god, if Pokémon ended up on iOS, I would never see my girlfriend again.

zdn1042 says:

Nintendo used 'Pokemon for iOS'.
It's super effective!

Rene Ritchie says:

I loved Guy English's idea, linked above, about Nintendo making special, proprietary MFi (made for iPhone) controllers bundled with their classic games. They get to make the most important hardware — the stuff we hold in our hands — and they have a huge platform to target. Win/win?

Dev from tipb says:

Long term, lose/lose. For Nintendo, it would mean shackling both their bottom line and their creativity to the opaque guidelines of a third party. Sure, they would get a short term cash infusion from every Pokepurchase in the App Store -- and then they would no longer be sole captains of their own destiny. They are not that desperate.

And losing that control would be a loss for gamers. Like Apple, Nintendo excels when they do their own thing in their own way, both hardware and software. Sometimes -- like the Power Glove or of course the Wii U -- they fail miserably. Other times they succeed wildly. The Wii ushered in affordable motion control. The SNES introduced shoulder buttons. The D-Pad itself was a radical design, greeted with scorn by dinosaurs of the time. Each one of these spurred entire categories of content; arguably, Nintendo alone has pushed human-computer interaction in games further than the rest of the industry *combined*. It would verge on tragic to lose that.

Edit: Doh -- forgot the DS and especially the original Game Boy -- both factors Nintendo pioneered.

Rene Ritchie says:

Those all sound like innovations in control, though, not in display boxes?

Dev from tipb says:

They are - but if Nintendo starts down the path Guy suggests, they will no longer be able to innovate control schemes, as they will be constrained by the Apple's game controller framework, not to mention Apple's explicit policy that hardware controls may only be *optional* on all games.

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jrod986 says:

"Hardcore gamers prefer PS4 and Xbox One". Huh, I guess only FPS games and interactive movies with no challenge whatsoever count as "hardcore". It will be a sad day to see Nintendo go into IAP mobile crap mode.

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Whex5 says:

I think you over sensationalize a story like this. Nintendo is struggling to sell WiiU consoles but they are sitting in a GIANT pile of 100million Wii sales and DS 120million+ sales and 3DS being super successful since last year they have a loooot of time before they are in real trouble BUT they should really rethink a bunch of stuff i agree with that they do need to do better Marketing and the iOS stuff sounds AWESOME i just really hope they never die.

jrod986 says:

Nintendo has been "dying" and "failing" since the Gamecube, according to everyone who don't use their products.

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asuperstarr says:

Mario!!!!!

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zdn1042 says:

So sad to hear Nintendo struggling competitively. I have a lot of fond memories of when I was a kid playing their games.
I really do hope they do well if they decided to pursue the mobile devices market. I, for one, would like to see the likes of Mario, Link, Kirby, Super Smash Bro on iOS devices.

jaleelhamid says:

MARIO FOR IOS

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khobia2 says:

Yep. Definitely.

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bobbob1016 says:

I like my WiiU, but one thing I don't get, it has two screens, and the bottom is a touch screen. Why not allow 3/DS games on it? I mean, X and Y on my TV would be schweet!

theKHMERboy says:

i would have to agree nintendo have not been as successful as say xbox and playstation with their advance games, but for me being born the year 87 and growing up with nintendo and their classic games i rather much prefer mario and stuff compare to online shooting like COD and stuff... would be great if there was a way that nintendo can bring its classical games to apple products. even if its not free i would still get it regardless

EPJS says:

Before the Famicom/NES was a thing, Nintendo made games for both the Atari 2600 and Celeovision. Mario Bros. and Donkey Kong has graced other game consoles in the past... so why not do it again? Nintendo would be wise to make games for other systems. Especially now that iOS game controllers have been standardized (somewhat).