Nintendo owns some of the biggest franchises in gaming, including Mario, Zelda, and Donkey Kong, but none of them are available in an official capacity on smartphones.
Explaining this decision with GameSpot, Nintendo senior communications director Charlie Scibetta said the company believes the most effective way to leverage its brands is to release franchises on its own hardware.
"We think that the best way to make the software come to life is to make custom hardware that is tuned so that when you play a game like Super Mario 3D World, you experience Mario jumping, and you experience the dynamic because it's tuned precisely for that hardware," Scibetta said.
If Nintendo's games were to be ported to iOS or Android, Scibetta pointed out, they would lose the elements that make them unique. Nintendo is unwilling to do this, he said.
"If you ported that same software to another device, you wouldn't have that same responsiveness. You wouldn't have the same controls that Mr. Miyamoto and his teams designed it for," Scibetta said. "So, market position has been consistent that our software comes to life the best when it's on hardware that's been specifically designed to bring it to life. So that's what our philosophy is and we're consistent with that approach."
Asked if this philosophy could change in response to the evolution of the industry, Scibetta referred back to the policy he stated earlier.
"I can just tell you what our current stance is, and anything beyond that would just be speculation," he said.
Numerous other major publishers have launched their games on smartphones and other mobile devices. Sega currently offers a suite of Sonic the Hedgehog games on iOS and Android, while Activision has released Call of Duty games for mobile, and Ubisoft recently released a new Rayman game for smartphones.