While I would be absolutely thrilled to indulge my Pokemon addiction on my smartphone (officially, anyway), Nintendo President Satoru Iwata has gone and shot down my dreams. According to a post-press conference interview with Nikkei, Iwata has categorically denied that Nintendo will create games for platforms other than their own.
“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.”
Though Iwata does admit that creating a division to churn out smartphone games would lead to some short-term gains, he states that his job is about maintaining Nintendo’s position down the line. It’s a fair point to make — Nintendo has spent decades cultivating some of the most beloved gaming brands in the world, and to start releasing iOS and Android spin-offs that don’t live up to the standard could jeopardize those years of effort.
Even so, one can’t help wonder if Iwata is being a tad short-sighted. The company’s latest handheld effort has been a bit of a flop, with the company even tacitly admitting faults in the 3DS’s design by rolling out a heinous new cradle for it. Nintendo took a risk on 3D, and to date, it simply hasn’t been working out for them. Would Nintendo really be risking that much if they went the smartphone route? It could be a secondary focus for them: get a talented group of people to make, for example, the best mobile version of Zelda they can and push it out right before Skyward Sword hits. Deliver a solid enough experience, and fans will eat both games up.
Of course, it’s easy for me to say all this from the outside. Iwata (and Nintendo by proxy) would be the ones to deal with the aftermath, and for them, it just may not seem worth it yet.