It may be time for Nintendo to finally branch away from its own proprietary hardware.
Major investors are starting to tell the company that it needs to face reality and come to grips with the fact that mobile games are the real growth market right now, and without investing at least some resources there, it will be very difficult to compete.
“Smartphones are the new battlefield for the gaming industry. Nintendo should try to either buy its way into this platform or develop something totally new,” said Stats Investment Manager Co fund manager Masamitsu Ohki in a message quoted by Bloomberg.
Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has previously said there are no plans to release any games on the iPhone or any other platform that isn’t created by Nintendo.
There was a brief moment when rumors about a Pokemon game coming to the iPhone hit the blogosphere, which caused Nintendo stock prices to jump. Compare that to when Nintendo unveiled its next-generation Wii U console – the company’s stock price declined.
This highlights just how much the gaming space has changed since 2006, when the Wii was released and revolutionized the market. Back then, no one was playing games on their mobile phones.
Now, however, it’s where most of the big news comes from. Sony and Microsoft both have ties to the growing industry. Sony has released games for the Android platform and will soon launch an entire suite of software for Android users. Additionally, the upcoming Playstation Vita will have connectivity with Android.
Microsoft, meanwhile, has its new Windows Phone platform, which allows users to connect to Xbox Live and earn achievements through special Xbox Live-branded mobile games.
So Nintendo is, once again, falling behind. The 3DS has turned out to be a sales flop, and after five years of big success with the Wii, the company is now starting to fall into a hole.
Taking a franchise like Mario or Pokemon to the mobile world would be an amazingly huge and almost inconceivable step for Nintendo, but it could very well be the reality of what needs to happen.