Nintendo: don't expect 99-cent Mario game

President Satoru Iwata praises smartphone market for aspiring game developers, but says it's not the right path for Nintendo.

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Nintendo has no plans to bring Mario to smartphones. In a new Wired feature, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata praised the smartphone market as an area in which new developers can thrive. Ultimately, however, the executive said he believes it cheapens the value of games.

"I think it's a wonderful thing that amateur video game players are now given the opportunity to create their own work and sell it at one dollar,” Iwata told the site during E3 2012. “If you ask me, don’t you think Nintendo should sell Mario on a smartphone for 99 cents, I do not think the answer is yes. We really want to sustain the monetary value of game software at a higher level. Otherwise, we cannot make game creation a rewarding business.”

Iwata went on to claim that smartphone manufacturers do not care about the gaming industry, but rather only for promoting the value of the platform itself. He said it is similar to what Apple has done with the music business. He said Apple has tricked users into believing purchasing music at 99 cents per track instead of an entire album is a "smarter activity." And the result, Iwata said, is that artists must supplement their music sales in other ways to sustain their business.

Further, Iwata disagreed with the opposite side of the argument: that the 99-cent song actually saved the music business after rising Internet speeds led to greater piracy rates. In fact, Iwata said companies that sell music downloads and MP3 players were smart to position themselves as heroes when they were really duping consumers.

"They have done so so smartly that they were able to establish the image that they are the saviors of the music industry," he said. "However, the fact of the matter is they have simply transferred these resources of music and monetary value into somewhere else. And the same thing is happening in the game industry.

Discussion

262 comments
norabbitnofun
norabbitnofun

Kudos for Mr Iwata. despite the existence of full-fledged games on mobile phones, I really get a feeling from most useers that paying for software on their mobiles is not something that reaches these numbers easilly.

An I think the trend won't change in the coming years (through I would love it to do so).

Kennybob
Kennybob

well look at The World Ends With You for iOS, its a full fledged game with lots of depth and playtime and quality, and its $17.99, not 99 cents. I think Nintendo could make an awesome mario game for iOS, just charge ppl like $20 for it, if its awesome quality just like other mario games I'd buy it

4quarters
4quarters

EPIC FAIL- get new WiiU Mario for like...$5.00 at Old Navy on black friday with $20.00 purchase....nice way to kill resale value

Lucariofan11
Lucariofan11

I stopped reading when he said that game creation is only good if theres monetary gain

GH05T-666
GH05T-666

i dont think they should make mario into an app.

app games are stupid and it will make all the older mario games and older nintendo's worthless if they start making cheap little app games out of them for apple or android phones.

im sure they would be best selling apps but i hope they never do it.

AyatollaofRnR
AyatollaofRnR

Most iphone games get boring quickly, even if they are addictive at first. I prefer games with more substance.

Nintyfan95
Nintyfan95

Very Happy with my DSi, and iPhone 5, don't see a reason for the 3DS at all. 

ljewe7
ljewe7

Why are we quite often talking about Angry Birds and the like and linking it to all 99c games. I have played many very good 99c to, say, $3.99 games that were worth several hours of play. The app store is a very, very big marketplace, and so by numbers alone there has to be some amazing stuff and a bucketload of tripe. And their is. I will take a good game anywhere I can find it and there are more 90% rated games on the app store than on any other system ever. And yes I have checked before you give it large. Yes we all agree that most (but not all of them) don't have anywhere near the depth or production values of the other systems A class titles, but various sources of professional critics all seem to agree that many of these games are very good, fun and not always casual. If you claim to like games why on earth would you ignore that? Again who gives a crap what the system is? A good game is a good game and I'm finding *many* on smartphones. Shocking I know, but personal experience is not something dismissible. **Please avoid generalisations** like all 99c games are lame, it's a plague on the planet and forums in particular. I've owned so many systems over the years and I'll be damned if I'm going to ignore one more with so much to investigate just because it isn't a 'proper gamers system' or hasn't got physical buttons for instance. Some games are amazingly suited to touchscreen and some demand buttons. 'Nuff said and it suits me

superkadeemx
superkadeemx

is this really worth talking about? of course phone games are cheap. who really has sat down and played angry birds for hours? that game is worth 10mins at the most just like most of them lame games.

Drkr_Zen
Drkr_Zen

'Cuz why charge .99 cents for a cut/paste New Super Mario Bros. title when you can charge $40, $50 and $60 dollars... of course I only refer to the god awful NSMB series in saying this. NSMB Wii, 2 and U are all copies of the best in the series... sadly, only the original.

 

Galaxy, Galaxy 2, 3D Land... keep THOSE comin'. 

da_chub
da_chub

Sadly, he is right.  Smartphones arent concerned with quality of games, just how many they can release.  Where will angry birds be in 10 years?   No one will care.  But after 25+ years, mario is still always some of the best games released. 

Smartphone apps are shallow and are nothing more then popcap games that are portabale.  I enjoy them as much as anyone, but i am not in denial about my gaming addiction so i also have a Wii, PS3, 3ds, and a PC to go with my iphone. 

rushiosan
rushiosan

There are better games than Mario nowadays, and most of them are completely free (take Halfbrick games as an example). Nintendo is just greedy and misplaced.

MrUntouchable18
MrUntouchable18

Most cell phone games are terrible I'd rather pay for a game and unlock everything than download a free game and pay to unlock everything. Just me.Plus most cell games are aimed at kids and newcomers to video games. Nothing wrong with that at all.

franzito
franzito

Cell phone games are not my thing anyway.

Dudeinator
Dudeinator

Here it is:

 

I actually like mobile games. To me, they are just another form of game. I don't believe it is inferior to any other games that we play. I do not gauge the entertainment value of a game based on the budget that went into developing the game, nor for what price it is eventually sold. I don't believe using a touchpad makes me a "sissy". It is another form of interactive control, just like the wireless controller, or the arcade stick before that.

 

The medium is vulnerable to certain business practices that have also plagued consoles (DLC vs. IAP, take your pick). This is a growing trend among the business. But just like where some DLCs aren't complete money-gougers, there are also mobile games that are worth the time invested.

 

Iwata says he doesn't want to cheapen the value of Nintendo's games by going mobile. Well, that really depends on how you define "value". According to Iwata, this "value" is defined by its monetary value. In other words, he is saying the value of a game is determined by its market price.

 

I don't know about you, but I believe the worth of a game (or any sort of art for that matter) goes beyond its price tag. If Iwata is afraid that translating a console Mario game into a mobile device will "dumb it down", then all he is doing is attempting to imitate, rather than to create. 

Lord_Python1049
Lord_Python1049

It's called valuing the brand. The Nintendo brand in the long run is better off if it is associated with quality products that consumers can rely on. cheap games cheapen the brand.

mariobro9999
mariobro9999

I am glad that they are still holding strong on this one. The last thing I want to see is them focusing on smartphone gaming.

ItchyIsVegeta
ItchyIsVegeta

If they were smart, they would partner up and manufacturer their own cellphone, with virtual console type apps, that were exclusive to their devices.  I absolutely love playing old retro games on my Xperia Play, and an official device to do that on would be amazing.

soulless4now
soulless4now

I'm glad they'll keep to their expensive games. I prefer those over any mobile game any day. 

Takeno456
Takeno456

I am glad that Nintendo is going to keep it traditional with their games. I believe the whole phone/casual/tablet gaming is ok in its own way but I prefer to keep gaming companies focused games and I would like those games to be a bit higher on the quality scale then your average angry birds stuff.

91210user
91210user

Iwata learnt from his mistake maybe when he praised the internet and 99c music in 1999 and then for him to retract it! Who knows! He praise smartphones yet he doesn't want to bring Mario

 

My guess is as good as anyones... Nintendo is proberby making a smartphone after making a statement like that!

Wedge55
Wedge55

Iwata shows a lack of understanding here.  Companies such as EA and Square have proven that people will buy $10, $15, even $30 smartphone games if they feature established franchises and quality game play.

 

The big thing, however, is giving up the opportunity to promote Nintendo games and franchises by dismissing the smartphone market.  Nintendo sold the NES to my generation by getting Mario in our faces everywhere.  Now you have a new generation growing up with easy access to their parents' smartphones and tablets who can more easily ignore that Mario exists.

hailthorn
hailthorn

I'd love to see Nintendo release an older Super Mario Bros. game for cellphone. Like Super Mario Bros. 1, 2, or 3 just to see what kind of impact it has at .99.

TBoneTony
TBoneTony

the only music I happen to download is youtube audio tracks of videogame cover and anime J-Pop music like Brentalfloss (Videogame cover music) and Kalafeina (J-Pop band that has made music for anime intro and closing)

 

When it comes to games, I personally only download Japanese visual novel games and indie Japanese games that you can never find in stores.

 

I know it is getting stuff for free, but if there is no way to get it from retail then I have to download.

 

With Nintendo products, I have supported them for the last 15 years and had allot of gaming fun by paying top dollar for their releases, 

 

but sadly my life is at a stage where I need to focus on a house and a car as well as getting though university.

 

But at least I helped out the gaming industry by supporting the developers and publishers that work hard at bringing amazing games to the market.

tannertehpianis
tannertehpianis

There's something to be said for preserving the integrity of Mario, or Link, or any Nintendo character, and not selling history-rich franchise games for a buck-a-pop. But, I wonder if Nintendo's hand will be forced if the Wii U doesn't do as well as they hope, and if they will look to develop non-console games.

KratosHump3R
KratosHump3R

yeah but I could play all them mario games with emulator apps. so technically I expect free mario games

DEagle267
DEagle267

They could easily just rerelease Super Mario All Stars + World for smartphones, although touchscreen wouldn't be too great for precision platforming. [Though if someone wants it on their phone bad enough they could figure out how =p]

santinegrete
santinegrete

... and not a metroid neither. Say whatever you want of Smartphone and touchscreen videogames, but when they try to do hardcore console games on it the fiddly controls don't cut it. I respect Nintendo's decision.

Yuri_the_Great
Yuri_the_Great

 @Kennybob The difference between TWEWY and Mario is that TWEWY is licensed by Nintendo and developed by Square Enix. Square Enix can choose to do what they please with their properties. Nintendo isn't going to put a Mario game on iOS because it is their property and they feel that it would cheapen Mario.

Kennybob
Kennybob

also Bastion is another example of a full console game for iOS, now that i think about it, GTA3, GTA Vice City (coming soon), there is opportunity for full console quality iOS games, they just charge more money for the higher quality titles, its kinda like the arcade games for 360 that are cheaper than full console games, 99 cents for cheap arcade game, or like $10 to $20 for a high quality iOS game..... i just wish apple would make a damn official gamepad already! lol

dragonsama
dragonsama

 @Lucariofan11 Sorry to burst your bubble but gaming is a business first.  And to be honest game companies deserve to profit from their work.

 

Now weather you decide to buy their product is another story.

 

Really this whole "companies shouldn't profit or what to"attitude is really beyond ignorant and frankly very frightening.

AlexFili
AlexFili

 @Nintyfan95 I sort of feel they're rushing the new generation of portable games too soon, but maybe thats just because DS/PSP were so good.

MegaPyroFlame
MegaPyroFlame

 @Drkr_Zen The NSMB series are a topic of much debate, because it's either love or hate by the fans.  Personally, I love these games, but that's not the point.  Putting Mario on the iOS would significantly decrease the both the value and quality of Mario games, which is everything Nintendo stands for.  So it's a smart decision by Nintendo to avoid smartphones like the plague, especially considering that it would make it harder to get profits off their 3DS software.

ljewe7
ljewe7

 @rushiosan Can't agree with that. Halfbrick games are good but are not In the same league. They are intentional disposable.

ljewe7
ljewe7

 @Lord_Python1049 Very true, but would you agree that a quality and certainly the originality of new Nintendo products is getting a little rare? I think the brand is cheapened anyway if they don't start pulling out some amazing new experiences. I'm tiring of the same rehashed franchises I was playing and adoring 15 years ago. I hope they stick to their hardware and software symbiosis policy to protect the brand, but I'm far more interested in them just making more good and original games. I'm finding Nintendo hasn't been a reliable brand since around Mario Galaxy 2 time. It's a shame to admit but this long term fan is starting to lose his faith in the big N.

Meta-Gnostic
Meta-Gnostic

 @Wedge55 Companies like Square take a lot of heat for their IOS prices and I haven't heard that they're selling lots of games in that market.

Caliaztec
Caliaztec

 @Wedge55 Look at angry birds. Marketed in every single avenue it could be marketed now. It just combined with Star Wars making it even more likable now. And it started from the simplest of .99 apps.

ljewe7
ljewe7

 @KratosHump3R  Nicked not free, unless you own them then they were not free either.

norabbitnofun
norabbitnofun

 @Kennybob Seeing how games costs for AAA titles are soaring higher with the years (and graphical technologies), I would not count on 20 dollars being a great target selling price.

 

Plus don't forget Apple/Google make a third of the money that the developers earn. Which is probably reversed for Nintendo on their consoles... and Mario has always been a hardware sales maker for Nintendo.

 

Not such an appealing deal after all, is this?

Lucariofan11
Lucariofan11

@dragonsama Its not that I don't want them to profit, I do. Its just putting profit as the forefront, which I think is wrong for anyone who is trying to create entertainment

SythisTaru
SythisTaru

 @MegaPyroFlame  @Drkr_Zen Why would it reduce the quality? The indie devs making these games put just as much work (if not more) into their games as the big companies do. 

rushiosan
rushiosan

 @Meta-Gnostic  @Wedge55 Square games are terrible, dirty ports. The control is poor and unresponsive in most part of time and there are countless flaws with the downloading system itself (take a look on what they did with Chrono Trigger - it's impossible to play without an internet connection active). They don't worth $30 and I would never ever pay that much for a lazy port.

norabbitnofun
norabbitnofun

 @Lucariofan11  @dragonsama I am with dragonsama on this one. Iwata has a track record for promoting innovation and entertainment; he does not need to remind us of that before saying that the gaming industry is a business that needs profits.

Truely, dividing by even just 2 the price of a game is not going to help with its quality, even when you say there is a much larger audience available. (And that larger audience point still has to be proved, as far as I am concerned. Right now you still have to be called angry Birds to show million sales on mobles.)

Drkr_Zen
Drkr_Zen

 @SythisTaru  @MegaPyroFlame Quality is already being reduced via cut/paste features... one can argue the NSMB games are soulless due to the fact that they have X feature because Y Mario game before it had the same thing. 

 

And, as it is, Mario games are short. Nintendo would want to charge, as I said, $40 for a 3DS Mario game rather than .99 cents for one.