Nintendo explains why Mario is not on smartphones

Reggie Fils-Aime says keeping its popular franchises off smartphones "preserves our overall financial model."

Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime has explained why its iconic franchises like Mario and Zelda are not coming to smartphones anytime soon.

Speaking with GameSpot sister site CNET, Fils-Aime explained that the only way to play a Mario, Zelda, or Donkey Kong game right now is to purchase a Nintendo platform. Offering content for third-party systems would hurt the company's overall business model, he argued.

"That's why we're so focused on having content exclusive to our platform," he said. "When the consumer wants to play Mario, Zelda, and Pokemon, they have to purchase our hardware to do so. And that preserves our overall financial model."

Major game companies like Microsoft, Sega, Capcom, Activision, and Electronic Arts have brought some of their franchises to mobile. In the case of EA, its popular mobile game The Simpsons: Tapped Out recently crossed $100 million in lifetime revenue.

Though Nintendo remains steadfast in its decision to keep Mario off smartphones, the company is considering ways to tap into the mobile market, albeit from a marketing perspective.

"We're constantly thinking about how to leverage mobile as a marketing vehicle," Fils-Aime said. "How do I give little tastes of content, little experiences that then drive the consumer back to my hardware environment?"

Fils-Aime didn't offer much in the way of detail concerning how the company will leverage mobile to market its games, but pointed out that Miiverse can be accessed through iOS and Android tablets and smartphones.

Nintendo reported earnings for its latest financial period today, revealing that worldwide Wii U sales have risen to 3.91 million units after the company sold 300,000 systems during the quarter ended September 30.

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

Discussion

100 comments
StJimmy15
StJimmy15

Derrr why is Halo not on PS3? Why is Uncharted not on my DS? Really? Are people really so stupid that this question was even asked? 

Ripper_TV
Ripper_TV

There's no Android app!! Or is there???


megakick
megakick

It is not on IOS or ANDROID because nobody outside of  ASIA would buy a 3DS.

darkbuster_exe
darkbuster_exe

Nintendo also makes hardware, & if you can get all their games somewhere else just as easily, there's little practical reason for them continue doing so, which leads to a sizable portion of their business model being rendered irrelevant.

The real question is why does Nintendo still need explain this logic to anyone?

Nev3rtime
Nev3rtime

Nintendo is a long way off going out of business. The moment they run into any trouble with a new console arm chair experts quickly rush to offer desperate advice like sell games on mobile. Same people were saying the same things in the early days of the 3ds and if they had it would have killed the 3ds.

The money Nintendo makes from mobile games will be insignificant for a company their size. They have VAST reserves of cash to splash out with and no immediate concerns. The wii in its peak made them many many billions. They're currently still profitable but even if they weren't they would have to be losing money at a ridiculously fast pace for them to desperately damage the business model that's works for them for so many decades.

ahpuck
ahpuck

They rater commit harakiri than accept defeat.

lewiston71
lewiston71

Damn!!!   At what point did this industry fall so far from grace!?  We talk endlessly about how companies like Nintendo and others have lost touch with gamers.  The sad reality is that at some point in the last decade gamers have lost total touch of what gaming and fun is all about.  So we'll play a Nintendo game on another platform, just not on the platform it was created for.  WTF?!  When did we become so ass-backwards?  

brxricano
brxricano

As Chris Watters once told me when I challenged him to a duel on GS, "If I accept your challenge, then I have to accept EVERYONE'S challenge, and I just don't have that kind of time." 

The real reason?If they let smartphones have Mario, then they have to let EVERYONE have Mario, and then there's really no reason to buy a Nin console after that.

ericroadifer
ericroadifer

Nintendo's games, like most other console games, are not designed to be played on a smart phone.  That experience would be terrible.

Fate_00
Fate_00

MARIO = NINTENDO, that's that.

If you want experience fresh goods, purchase 3DS / Wii U, it won't bite!

Jedilink109
Jedilink109

I don't know why people keep thinking they're going to do this.  Nintendo is a hardware company, end of story.  They have their own game systems out so why would they support phones instead of their own platforms?

jlenoconel
jlenoconel

Putting some Nintendo licensed apps that work with the Wii U might not be a bad idea.  The whole "They should put games on phones" argument is stupid though.  The 3DS is selling like crazy, so why would they want to take sales away from an amazing handheld because people want to play Nintendo games on their phone.  Stupid idea.  Plus, cell phone games are crap and will only cheapen the Nintendo name.

wookiegr
wookiegr

Another stupid Nintendo strategy. Instead of selling their titles on app stores so everyone can play them on their mobile devices they choose to flood garbage hand held devices into the market. They could easily recover their losses from poor Wii and WiiU sales, along with their failed hand held's if they allowed customers the option to actually buy the software on devices people already own. 

1. Keeping revenue out of their pockets.

2. Staying at a minimum of two generations behind in technology.

3. Remaking and re-selling the same titles over and over again.

4. Considering to blatantly re-release the exact same things as "HD Remakes"

5. General disregard for their reputation and current standing in the gaming community.

5 things that prove Nintendo has lost touch with reality and will never recover.

vindictivecow
vindictivecow

If they expect consumers to buy their hardware just so they can play a handful of their exclusive games then they need to lower the prices on these systems. I don't think many peeps, especially kids, parents and casuals, are willing to pay $300 + game prices just to play a few of their games on WiiU.

isv666
isv666

I think porting over some older Nintendo games to smartphone platforms would probably be financially beneficial for Nintendo.  That said, I would never want to see it happen.  But I also have a huge dislike of smartphone gaming.  

But also, like mentioned, Nintendo has their own hardware they want to support and want their libraries to grow.  Just because you  might make additional profit in the mobile market, it doesn't necessarily mean those sales will translate over into sales of Nintendo hardware (which is what they obviously want)

Like them or not, Nintendo absolutely stick to their guns and if it ever comes to it, they'd just as well "go down with the ship."  Of course the 3DS is still doing exceptionally well and probably helping keep them afloat pretty easily.  Not to mention all the money they banked from the original Wii.

spacenerd23
spacenerd23

 Nintendo could re-release some of their older games into smartphone apps just to get recognition and interest of others, once others experience the beauty of gameplay then they could get a glimpse of what a system like the Wii U could offer. To incorporate the smartphone to act as a Wii U gamepad ability, now that's an idea. Nintendo would be smart to make Wii U In Game Apps. Exclusive Apps specifically for use with the GamePad. over a wi-fi connection play online and have rankings. Mario Kart 7 on the 3DS has rankings worldwide, why not have it in the Wii U and have Wii U only applications made by developers for Nintendo and its users.Just a thought..Nintendo has always been in a level of their own when it comes to gaming..they have their own unique style..I'm glad they believe in their consoles and games enough to keep making them. Creative Imagination > Reality. 


If your looking for accomplishments stick to other consoles., play your COD, Halo, Gears and Resistance etc etc.


Last I checked..A GAME WAS SUPPOSED TO BE FUN, CREATIVE, AND SHOW YOU THE POWER OF IMAGINATION..

 go on and get your kill shots ;) i don't care who gets the most killshots in a game, I don't care to play an army game and play in realistic situations as in killing terrorists, some gamers just thrive in reality..I'd rather stay virtual x3.

King_Wii
King_Wii

It never occured to me that Mario even "needed" to be on smart phones. Then again I never expected any first party developers to make smart phone games period. After all isn't that why first party companies built their own platforms in the first place?

spacenerd23
spacenerd23

 Nintendo needs to create a new franchise, needs to restore older classic games into the e-shop,  better quality games with HD graphics. Nintendo may be struggling with the Wii U but its only 1 year going, let more titles come out and maybe it will be a success..i have to admit there is only so many places you can take Mario before u figure that your tired of the games. With the next line-up of games coming out in the spring maybe the Wii U will bounce back, but they need to keep the e-shop filled with GC, N64, SNES, and Famicom titles coming out. Nintendo has the line-up in their hands, many classic games get looked down because of their pixel graphics..with today's technology Nintendo could easily take those games that not many know of and bring them out to a whole new existence. Many gamers sleep on the Wii U because of poor games, but Nintendo is a franchise that has been around way before Sony or Microsoft, they have what they need, they just need to get their heads in the business and come to reality and realize that the demand for graphics is there, but it doesn't have to be all realistic games..i really can't stand reality type games. I love Nintendo for their imaginative games. Some of the best games started from just a thought to an idea to a franchise. I won't count Nintendo out.

bibleverse1
bibleverse1

There are other characters that Nintendo could bring to smartphones. Bringing Mario or other franchises is unnecessary and wold potentially end Nintendo as a gaming OEM. DSes are still profitable and still sell, until that stops there is no problem. I believe their next portable device will have more tablet features.

Hurvl
Hurvl

Obvious reason is obvious, of course they want to keep it exclusive - monopoly is the shit! With the way things are with Wii U sales, they need that exclusivity more than ever.

sakaixx
sakaixx

I have the WII U and its a good system but hated the UI no inovation whatsoever its just WII with a little update , so not cool

geezerdaman
geezerdaman

So out of touch.

No one is running to buy Nintendo hardware to play the next mario or zelda because they suck or don't exist yet, respectively. They are sick of your hardware. Releasing older games in the franchises on mobile devices will only bring MORE ppl to your product and THEN they might consider buying your hardware to play the newest ones, underwhelming as they may be.

19James89
19James89

I've said it once before and I say it again, the day that Nintendo becomes a third party developer and publisher is the day they place all the nails into their coffin. 

People keep pointing out that the Wii U is struggling and seem to forget that the PS3 struggled for two years before it gathered steam, generated sales and only in the last two years generated any sort of profit for Sony who ironically are staring down the barrel of financial ruin (from what I've read).

This crap was being spouted about Nintendo ten years ago with the GC and then what happened? Out comes the DS and the Wii and smashes the competition to pieces. 

Carry on as you were Nintendo. The Wii U with great Nintendo first party titles will gather momentum and will take a turn for the better just like the 3DS. 


Lsnake
Lsnake

"That's why we're so focused on having content exclusive to our platform," he said. "When the consumer wants to play Mario, Zelda, and Pokemon, they have to purchase our hardware to do so. And that preserves our overall financial model." ...or I'll just not buy the hardware at all because it's not worth it just for those games. I still regret wasting my money on the Wii that I used to play two Mario games and one Zelda game on and never touched it again. 

Look, I get what they're saying and it makes perfect sense, why give up a very good reason to invest in the hardware in the first place? The problem is however that the hardware, the Wii U in this case, is just not worth it. I learnt that from the Wii. 

But the day Nintendo puts out a badass powerhouse of a system, up to date with the latest hardware, and allows for traditional controllers to be used as main source of input, and adds an achievement system, I'll be listening. 


Xristophoros
Xristophoros

Nintendo will eventually port all their franchises to other platforms. It won't happen anytime soon, but eventually it is inevitable. In the meantime, if Nintendo wasn't so stubborn and prideful, they could at the very least create some new fluff  IP for the smartphone / tablet market. In this way, they would protect their console games exclusivity and see revenue roll in like there is no tomorrow. But this is Nintendo we are talking about. They live in a cave and don't adapt to change very well. 

allever
allever

It makes sense.  You have to keep your exclusive titles within your own platform.  The day you begin selling your products to a third party, it's the start of your own demise.

ACMC85
ACMC85

Not to mention, not everyone makes it in the third party market. They get to be the big fish, in their pond.

Sega, I have not been as impressed with their game outings lately. But, that is probably due to quality, besides Bayonetta and Sega All star racing. Not much has gotten my attention or been enjoyed. The recent sonic games have been passable, but I do regret buying them.

Artwark
Artwark

If Nintendo quits consoles and sticks to handhelds, fine. But if Nintendo sticks to smartphones, not fine because for one thing, fingers get in the way of play, and for another, why even bother about it if they already have handhelds that are the best. If anything Nintendo games are a lot better than this app games because you have to pay the game, then you need to pay the in-game stuff just so you can enjoy more of it which is lame, and finally there are a lot of bad games on the phone to begin with.


If Nintendo ends up being third party, they would be insulting other companies because of how they manage to make money really fast unlike the others where you lose a lot of money if the project fails. Never has a game made by Nintendo failed to make profit with the exception of maybe few games.


CincoToes
CincoToes

@StJimmy15 Speaking of stupid, you just compared rival consoles to unrelated devices. Good job.

ricanick
ricanick

@darkbuster_exe I'm pretty sure u just read the article then acted like you knew this already. They could have made a cheap free version of Mario for mobile phones to reel people in to buying their hardware for the better version

HighlyToxic
HighlyToxic

@ericroadifer Not really. Some games, like Advance Wars, could work well on a touch screen. I also think Mario Kart could work well--just keep the controls simple.

hystavito
hystavito

@Jedilink109 Because at some point they might be forced to make a choice between that and going out of business.  Before someone goes insane on me, I said MIGHT :).

Even if Nintendo was going down the tubes and just refused to do it, eventually at least the name and IP and such would get sold off and other entities would definitely want to make use of them.  It's already happened many times in the history of the gaming business.

96augment
96augment

@wookiegr "failed handhelds"? Their handhelds have never failed. So, Wind Waker is the same thing as Ocarina of Time? Super Mario Galaxy 2 is the same thing as Super Mario Sunshine? 

jlenoconel
jlenoconel

@wookiegr Failed handhelds?  HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA... Oh, and the original Wii sold more than both the PS3 and Xbox 360, thank you very much.

Xristophoros
Xristophoros

@vindictivecow True. In the lifespan of the console, there will only be a dozen or so good Nintendo exclusives (as with every Nintendo console since the Gamecube). Whether that is enough to warrant a purchase of a WiiU is debatable. For me personally, if I can get the console for around $150 range, then I might consider it. Sadly, that is all it is worth. If I had to choose between a WiiU and 3DS, though, I might just go for the 3DS instead.  

King_Wii
King_Wii

@bibleverse1 I agree, since 3DS and DS are essential the kings of mobile gaming (if you don't count smart phones) then why would they want to work on a platform that they don't control?

Xristophoros
Xristophoros

@bibleverse1 It would give them a good excuse to create new IP specifically for the cellphone/tablet market. Just having the Nintendo brand on this software would be enough to sell. The big question is this: Is the success of the 3DS enough to offset the disaster of the WiiU? Who knows, but my guess is they are barely breaking even. They can't go on forever in their current state and will need to make some big decisions in the years ahead in how they restructure their business model.

Xristophoros
Xristophoros

@Hurvl Sure, they can keep their core franchises exclusive to their hardware. At the same time though, they could create some new IP that is specifically for the phone/tablet market and do very well for themselves by branching out into an untapped demographic. What is the harm in that? Best of both worlds.

PSYCHOV3N0M
PSYCHOV3N0M

@19James89 PS3 struggled because of the LAUNCH PRICE.

The Wii name vs Wii U is a massive confusion amongst the casual uneducated customer. Millions of people out there don't even know the Wii U is a NEW console different from the Wii.

Xristophoros
Xristophoros

@19James89 You sound like a loyal supporter of Nintendo and that is all fine and good. But you have clouded your judgement. Creating some new IP that is exclusive to phones and tablets would do nothing but earn more revenue for Nintendo and make them stronger for it. For example, they could create a Mario themed card game or another March of the Minis game and it would play very well on touch screen devices. Most importantly, they would make incredible profit margins on this stuff and tap into a market which they are missing the boat on. I can understand the argument in keeping their core franchises exclusive to their hardware and I somewhat agree. But what is the problem in branching out onto other platforms with some additional "fluff" IP? If you really cared about Nintendo, wouldn't you want them to offset their troubles and stay in business? At the rate they are going, they will drop out of the home console business altogether and focus on handhelds entirely.  

lostn
lostn

@19James89 Not true. The PS3 sold more in its first year at $600 than the 360 did in its first year at $400, and definitely more than the Wii U has sold.

Scorpion1813
Scorpion1813

@19James89  

"This crap was being spouted about Nintendo ten years ago with the GC and then what happened? Out comes the DS and the Wii and smashes the competition to pieces. "

So you're saying they should release another console to replace the Wii U? Yup, said that already.
Also, even if they make third-party games on consoles, doesn't mean they have to ditch their handheld systems.

The nails in Nintendo's coffin are already being hammered in. What they need to do is find a way out. The hole they have dug for themselves needs to be filled in with the Wii U and Nintendo's current business plan. Leave them there to be buried, and bring something new to the market.

Scorpion1813
Scorpion1813

@Lsnake  

I agree with everything but the achievements.

They can die in a hole along with Nintendo's backwards-thinking "financial plan" (they should be planning to make money, not lose it).

lostn
lostn

@Artwark "But if Nintendo sticks to smartphones, not fine because for one thing, fingers get in the way of play"

 I had that problem with DS and 3DS, and any touch screen Nintendo makes, including probably Wii U.

Xristophoros
Xristophoros

@Artwark That's the thing. They would need to create new IP that is designed for touch screen devices. I agree their current library of games would not port over well to cell phones and tablets. But if they were to create a new division specifically for this market, it would do well. Nothing beats playing games with proper buttons and analog sticks, but there is a huge market out there that could care less. It is this casual market that Nintendo is missing the boat on and it makes no sense from a business perspective. 

ericroadifer
ericroadifer

@HighlyToxic @ericroadifer You're right.  There are some games that would work well.  The only Mario game that I can think of that might work would be Super Mario RPG or maybe a Dr. Mario.

Artwark
Artwark

@lostn @Artwark Umm.....That's why they have two screens. The stylus doesn't interfere much but if the game makes it so you can't focus, that's the games problem.


HighlyToxic
HighlyToxic

Nintendo has some great strategy games that can dominate the smartphone space. It's just a matter of whether they want to enter that space.

jlenoconel
jlenoconel

@wookiegr @jlenoconel You mentioned the original Wii and "failed handhelds."  Nintendo has had zero failed handhelds and one failed console thus far if we count the Wii U as a fail.  The Gamecube wasn't a complete fail, it just under-performed.