So, you count yourself among the many who have groaned “why won’t Nintendo put Mario on the iPhone?” Forget it. It’s not going to happen.
I’m here to tell you why.
It’s been said ’round these parts.
You don’t own a Nintendo handheld anymore for one reason or another. Perhaps it’s the cost, perhaps it’s the fact that you think you can get all your gaming done on your smartphone. Whatever it is, Nintendo hasn’t earned your money for one of their recent devices.
You still want to play their games, though. You miss Mario, Link, Kirby, Pikachu and Samus. You’ve got a perfectly good smartphone, you don’t like the idea of pirating games (or you plum don’t know how to) and you want Nintendo’s software.
That’s when you say it. “Why won’t Nintendo release their games on the Android and iOS marketplaces?”
I’ve been writing for TechnoBuffalo for nearly two years now. In that time, I’ve read a comment like the one above on an almost daily basis. Guess what, the reason Nintendo won’t put their games on smartphones is really simple.
Nintendo’s in the business of making hardware.
The second Nintendo decides to sell even one of their games on another device, smartphone or otherwise, they’ll kill themselves. Nintendo is in the business of selling games for the hardware they manufacture. If they start putting games out on other platforms, they’ll ruin the need for their devices.
You don’t have to go any further than Satoru Iwata, the President of Nintendo, to see the company’s clear and concise logic on this matter. This quote comes from an article we ran more than a year ago. When asked if Nintendo planned to release their software on third-party smartphones, here’s what Iwata said:
“This is absolutely not under consideration…
…If we did this, Nintendo would cease to be Nintendo. Having a hardware development team in-house is a major strength. It’s the duty of management to make use of those strengths. It’s probably the correct decision in the sense that the moment we started to release games on smartphones we’d make profits. However, I believe my responsibility is not to short term profits, but to Nintendo’s mid and long term competitive strength.”
Oh, sure, Pokémon would kill on iOS and Android. Heck, even Pokémon clones murder on the App Store. But, like Iwata said, releasing their games on those services for a fraction of their value would kill Nintendo’s long-term competitive strength.
It would make their hardware irrelevant, in a way. Why would any company actively take value from their own products? It just won’t happen.
Until Nintendo goes the way of Sega…
It would take a monumental collapse for Nintendo to start selling their games on other platforms. The Nintendo 3DS and Wii U will have to drive the company completely into the ground before it happens.
Look at Sega. It took the failure of several consoles for them to move to only selling software. The Saturn, the Dreamcast, the Nomad and the Game Gear all performed poorly at retail. That downward spiral, which took practically a decade, is what forced Sega to abandon hardware and sell its software to Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo.
You can buy Sega games for your smartphone now. But Sega’s does what Nintendon’t, remember?