Nintendo is trying to get people to buy the new Wii U, but it just isn’t working, according to recent sales numbers. Now, the Japanese gaming giant is hoping that helping developers port their smartphone content to the home gaming console with conversion software will help entice buyers, according to the Japan Times.
Smartphone apps on a home console isn’t a novel idea: Sony began encouraging devs to bring their mobile phone hits to the PlayStation network a while ago, and continues to add mobile-first titles to the ranks of the Vita’s portable library. But there’s nothing really indicating that’s making a major difference in terms of attracting customers. After all, why would people seek out those titles on consoles, portable or otherwise, when they’ve already got myriad devices to play them on natively, including the iPhone, Android smartphones and the iPad?
Nintendo looking for ports of smartphone titles is a quick and dirty way to build out a larger software library, and for developers, a way to at least explore a new delivery vector to reach customers they may not already be reaching. But it will probably be a limited audience, made more so by the fact that anyone who’s already a fan of the title on mobile would probably be disinclined to pay for it all over again.
Porting is also a strategy that hasn’t really seemed to have been successful for anyone so far. BlackBerry has encouraged developers to port their Android apps over to BB10 using its own super-simple tool, which by all accounts takes only a few minutes to do its magic. But even still, it’s finding it hard to get developers on board, and that’s going from one mobile platform to another. Incentivizing conversions for mobile devs to bring their titles to a home console will likely be tricker still.
It’s been brought up before, but it bears repeating: Nintendo would probably stand to gain a lot more by reversing the situation, and porting its own blockbuster titles to other platforms, the way that Sony has flirted with doing, and the way that other publishers like Square Enix and Capcom have fully embraced. Admittedly, neither of those are hardware makers like Nintendo, but arguably that makes things more imperative for the Mario creator, which is having a really rough go of its hardware efforts, with lots of money sunk into a brand new console just at the beginning of what has been a 10-year release cycle in the past.
I wouldn’t mind having something like Dots on my Wii U, if I had or cared about one, but it’s not going to convince me to go buy that console. On the other hand, I’d love Super Mario World on the iPhone (a legit version, not via emulator) and would pay dearly for the pleasure. You’ve got the funnel all wrong, Nintendo, and it isn’t going to bring the people back.