A while ago - I forget now if it was on Debug or Vector and I'm traveling at the moment so I can't check - the remarkably clever Guy English said he'd like to see Nintendo stay in the hardware game... by making controllers for third-party platforms like iOS. It was an almost Grant Morrison-style bit of tangential brilliance, offered as an aside and quickly consumed by the rest of his narrative, but it immediately came back to mind when I read Nintendo president Satoru Iwata comments to CVG:
Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has given the most definitive indication yet that the platform holder will not develop for rival systems, stating that it would only be a strategy he'd employ if he did not care about the company.
Which is understandable. Expecting Nintendo to make Mario, Donkey Kong, Zelda, or any of their other signature franchises available on iOS is like expecting Apple to make OS X available for HP or Lenovo. Nintendo, like Apple, isn't a software company or a hardware company, they're a product company, and delivering the best product means carefully controlling both hardware and software (and now, services as well.)
But what if there was a middle ground? As part of iOS 7, Apple announced support for game controllers. Nintendo, from the original NES to the Game Cube has made some of the most iconic in the business. What if Nintendo, as Guy suggested, made hardware game controllers for iOS that came tied to their amazing library of game titles? What if iOS devices could become to Nintendo the same simple screens TVs become to iOS devices thanks to AirPlay? What if Nintendo could still own and control the most intimate part of the gaming experience - what all of us hold in our hands, and what we see with our eyes - and still gain access to Apple's massive user base?
I have no expectation that this will ever happen, for the same reason I don't expect Apple to make hardware for their rivals, not matter the scale, but I'd love it to. What about you?
(You can read more of Guy's remarkably clever stuff at Kickingbear.)
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