Nintendo explains why you won't play Mario on your iPhone anytime soon

"Our games are designed for our game machines, so if we transfer them into smartphones as they are, customers won't be satisfied," president Satoru Iwata says.

Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has yet again explained why the Japanese video game giant has no plans to bring its tentpole franchise like Mario and Zelda to smartphones.

"The smartphone market is probably more competitive than the console business," Iwata told Bloomberg. "We have had a console business for 30 years, and I don't think we can just transfer that over onto a smartphone model."

According to App Annie Ltd. data provided to Bloomberg, revenue from games played on iOS and Android devices generated more sales than the 3DS and PlayStation Vita in 2013.

Though you might think bringing Mario, Zelda, Donkey Kong or any of Nintendo's many other beloved franchises to smartphones would be a lucrative move, Iwata said jumping into this market could jeopardize other parts of Nintendo's business. He went on to say that sales from Nintendo-developed smartphone games, if it ever happened, "cannot be a pillar" for Nintendo.

In addition, Iwata says he has yet to see an example of a console game moving to smartphones and generating tens or hundreds of billions of yen over an extended period of time. "Our games such as Mario and Zelda are designed for our game machines so if we transfer them into smartphones as they are, customers won't be satisfied," Iwata said. "If customers aren't satisfied with the experience, it will decrease the value of our content."

In a previous interview, Iwata acknowledged that smartphones are surging in popularity as gaming devices, but said their ubiquity does not mean the death of traditional consoles. Defending Nintendo's decades-only strategy, Iwata said whatever short-term benefit Nintendo might get from releasing its franchises for mobile devices isn't worth the risk of harming its longstanding policy of offering its franchises exclusively on Nintendo devices.

Nintendo is not entirely averse to smartphones. In fact, just today, Nintendo announced that Mario Kart TV, the video service for this month's Wii U racing game Mario Kart 8, will be available through smartphones. The company's social hub, Miiverse, also works on mobile devices.

Do you think Nintendo should release its games for mobile devices? Let us know in the comments below!

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @EddieMakuch
Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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Discussion

133 comments
iameatingjam
iameatingjam

Nintendo wont be satisfying its customers when they go out of business either, which they will unless they make some changes to adapt. I'm not sure what the answer is, but I think they need to

1) Increase their target demographic, start making their consoles appeal to the older generation. The majority of video gamers aren't 10 year old boys anymore. 

2) Make their games more accessible. Clearly people don't want to buy a Wii U just to play mario games. While I do agree that nintendo games probably would suck on a cellphone, they'd play just fine on a PC or XBOX 360. I can't see nintendo ever doing this though. 

Wahab_MinSeo
Wahab_MinSeo

Nothing Impossible this said from Satoru Iwata has No Sense, He Can Bring Nintendo Games on Smartphones and PC it won't make anything Wrong and it will be Still in Sells and More Worth it!

testingscript64
testingscript64

 Nooo my comment.


It ruins the gameplay if you're playing a console-specific game on a smartphone.

fighterguard
fighterguard

As a lifelong Nintendo fan, I totally agree with their position. Nintendo games are meant for Nintendo platforms. Mobile gaming sucks 90% of the time, especially with titles ported from consoles, or using similar mechanics, like FPS and RTS. Mobile platforms are not suited for action games. We all know how horrible the Sonic platformers for mobile have been. The mobile market might have grown a lot recently, both in total revenue and number of games available, but that doesn't mean it's a good platform, because it's not. There are only a handful of truly awesome mobile games, and those were built with the features and constraints of the platform in mind. Nintendo games were not built for those features and constraints, but for those of Nintendo platforms. Having Mario or Zelda on mobile just for the sake of it is just stupid. If they cannot deliver the same high quality experience, then there's no reason to pursue it.
And the idea of Nintendo making its own smartphone is even more stupid. We all know what happened to the N-gage and the Xperia Play. Simply put, Mobile games are in a different universe from Nintendo games. I have exactly zero games on my phone, and like 10 on my tablet. which I only play very rarely.

huddle1
huddle1

Nintendo is just being their stubborn selves. The wii u was a failure in terms of sales and the only thing keying them afloat are the 3ds sales. They really need to pay attention to how many ppl play emulators. Sure you can't play everything but it's not perfect. The point is when ppl are on the go the first thing they pull out is their cell phone... It'll be sad but grow up or die Nintendo.

Silithas
Silithas

*cough* emulators *cough*

Veenox
Veenox

They don't even need to explain anything about that.

JustPlainLucas
JustPlainLucas

No, Nintendo won't be satisfied.  Nintendo gamers have been wanting Nintendo games on mobile platforms for a while.  I'm not saying they should, as it would deviate sales from their hardware (where they make most of their money from), but don't try to say that customers wouldn't be happy... that's just silly. Nintendo, make your own phone.  That way, you can go mobile, make more money, provide mobile gamers with Nintendo games and everyone's happy. 

asixjo
asixjo

Why would you want to play it on a phone anyway.

Infinity_Gauntl
Infinity_Gauntl

I think they should make smartphone games. Nintendo would excel at that....also they should start making games for Sony and MS. Nintendo is great at games...and not so much in the realms of making hardware.

snacky_smorez
snacky_smorez

Jesus Christ again?! Who gives a shit about this. Hey GameSpot I can scan other sites ripping of other peoples hard work and turn it into a garbage article. How much do you guys pay? Hopefully Eddie is working for free because this is shite.

fede018
fede018

Get on with the times, old man! This is why Nintendo will keep failing. No one buys Nintendo consoles anymore

Redsyrup
Redsyrup

Still thinking a Nintendo branded Mario Phone with real D Pad and AB Buttons would sell like gang busters. They could easily copycat Apple and release a 3G version for major telecoms ATT/Verizon alongside a non 3G wi-fi only model (iPod/3DS version).


Nintendo's games would be the phones killer apps. The Nintendo eShop could be opened up for Music and Video downloads. It'd take some major work on Nintendo's part but they would be a huge success. Phones for kids to adults done right.

Jedilink109
Jedilink109

Why do  they have to keep frickin explaining this crap?!  They aren't going to put their games onto phones.  Just deal with it.  If you want them on your phones you'll just have to rely on emulators.

giucanbera
giucanbera

WIth powerfull 3DS and VITA I really belive that the next gen of consoles will be very very smaller. So small that you could fit it into a regular mobile. Then u just add D-Pad and 4 Buttons, a HDMI conector and TAAA DAAA!
You have a Mobile/Controller/Console/PocketGame! 
Kinda like this, but with mobile/android/cellphone functions

http://www.retroplayers.com.br/wp-content/uploads/dingoobranco.jpg

chev93449
chev93449

This is how Eddie Makuch's journalism works: When one article gets reported, Eddie takes a single quote from that very same article, so it can become it's own article, making it seem like that the company that Eddie clearly hates is in deeper trouble. While the same article is backed up by typos, misleading info, and lack of research. The article is also support by trolls that can't think for themselves. Which is the type of people that Eddie prays on.

Paulf001
Paulf001

He is right that is why he is CEO.  As soon as you start selling Mario for $5 or $10 on a iphone nobody will want to then pay $40 or $60 for the 3ds and Wii U versions.  Releasing on phones would give them a small short term increase in profits but in the long term it just cheapens their staple characters and would hurt them overall.

spacecadet25
spacecadet25

Their current CEO was one of the developers of the 'Baloon Fight' game.  We should all have anticipated horrific failure in his endeavor as CEO.

danusty
danusty

I should be able to pretty easily play the legend of zelda a link between worlds on a smartphone/tablet

danusty
danusty

I would play the legend of zelda, metroid, starfox (on rail shooter type), fzero and kirby on any console ( non nintendo ones included) specially in one who actually plays physical game copies, not on digital only ones.


I will not play mario in any console. I was done with mario after mario 64.

thermalmotion
thermalmotion

I don't want to play Mario on an iphone, I want to play Mario, Zelda, Pikmin & Metroid on Steam.

J_Dangerously
J_Dangerously

He's correct.  I tried to play Vice City on my Android.  It did not turn out well at all.

gamerboy100
gamerboy100

(sigh) This again? They have already made it clear before that they are not making mobile games. This article is nothing but a rehash.

da_chub
da_chub

I will never play mario or Zelda on a touch screen smartphone. Button presses are way more accurate to jump over lava then a touch screen dpad.

spacecadet25
spacecadet25

Nintendo, become a software company or go bankrupt.  Do you really want a company like EA buying the rights to your IP's in a bankruptcy sale?  Nintendo fans, do you want that?

snaketus
snaketus

That's bullshit. They just have to sell their own hardware and I'm happy with that. Mobiles phones and tablets are killing gaming and they are slowly coming something similar to PC gaming actually. You just can't play all android game for example with all android devices, you need to have enough horse power to run some of those games, just like on PC.


Yep, "PC gaming" alike thing is taking over console market. Happy? No, not at all. And those games are so fucking shitty my head hurts. I hope Nintendo keeps Mario and their other great names off those cancer of platforms as long as they possible can.

spacecadet25
spacecadet25

They need to have like a Chef Ramsey Kitchen Nightmares episode where he tries to help Nintendo fix their ailing business.


Highlights of the show:

1. He arrives and looks at the menu (which is Nintendo's game library), and all he sees is Mario, Zelda, and a few other kiddie games.  He would say, "Is this menu from 1985, my God!  Where are all the popular games necessary to sustain a console?"

2. He visits their competitors across the street (Sony & MS), and points out how they have a fresh and varied menu.  He says Nintendo has more in common with the Ouya competitor than Sony or MS.

3.  He talks to previous Nintendo customers who used to love them but have strayed away.  Nintendo says they are blood thirsty perverts that like adult games, and doesn't listen to them, and Nintendo knows better.  Ramsey says "Are you in denial?  Get real and pull your head out of your ass!"

4. Ramsey goes over their balance sheet and sales, and desperately tries to get them to change it up or die.  Nintendo is too stuck in it's ways to change.

5.  There is no re-opening night, since Nintendo refuses to change.  

6.  In the follow up 1 year later, there is a "Closed" sign on their door.

spacecadet25
spacecadet25

They're betting the farm on their poorly conceived console and handheld strategy.  Guess what, those consoles failed, move on, and make money off your IPs!  If I was an investor I would want to sell, Nintendo is detached from reality.

mdmad118
mdmad118

@fighterguard I agree that you should not combine nintendo and smartphones, but there are more than a handful of awesome games on iOS, and there are also more than a handful of really good ports

fighterguard
fighterguard

@Silithas  Yes, a lot of people play old console games on their smartphones using emulators, and they all know that it's cumbersome, due to the lack of proper input methods. Even a Bluetooth gamepad is not a very good option. No one can deny that it's impossible to replicate the experience of playing on a 3DS on a smartphone. And it's not just the 3D visuals, but the dual screen, the circle pad, the motion sensor, the buttons, and the physical feedback from all those components. Nintendo games belong on Nintendo platforms. Everyone else can keep trying to offer console-like experiences on mobile platforms, and failing miserably.

HPFreak623
HPFreak623

As a Nintendo fan for 21 years, no, I do not want Nintendo games on my smartphone.

sonicblast19
sonicblast19

@asixjo  Because people are retarded,just imagine playing an NES game like Ninaj Gaiden ona  smartphone,yeah good luck with the touch controls for that game.Actually you don't need to imagine,emulate and suffer.

fighterguard
fighterguard

@Infinity_Gauntl  I respectfully disagree. The WiiU might have been a blunder so far. And there have been others before, like the VirtualBoy. But the unbridled success of the GameBoy and DS families of handhelds, the Wii, the SNES and the NES beg to differ with your appreciation that Nintendo is not great at making hardware.

boringdork
boringdork

@Redsyrup  That sounds like an N-Gage.

The thing is, as much as I love my Nintendo (and i **REALLY** love my Nintendo), i love my android/google interface and apps, gmail, google docs, etc... and for a phone? No, I don't want a Nintendo phone.

For a Nintendo based phone to work, it would have to be something *REALLY* well done with a partnership with Google or Apple, imo, 


Another thought - would this Nintendo based phone see an updated model every year? I don't think it's too realistic.


I have a 3DS for my gaming on the go, and as cool as it would be to have street pass on my cell phone, I kind of like having separate devices.

YukoAsho
YukoAsho

@Jedilink109  This.  A THOUSAND TIMES THIS.


Nintendo is NOWHERE NEAR in dire straits.  The 3DS is doing swimmingly, and while the Wii U isn't doing well, it's hardly a Sega Saturn-level failure.  Yet every five fucking minutes, they have to say "no, we're not putting games on smart phones, and no, we're not going 3rd party, will you please stop asking?"


Where was this idiocy with Sony was tanking in the first three years of the PS3, with a larger corporation failing behind them and a failed portable in the PSP?


I'm no fan of Nintendo, but that this is becoming a nearly nightly chant by stock market gamblers and the media shows just how stupid everyone is.

hystavito
hystavito

@Paulf001  True but that doesn't mean they will never reach a point where they have to decide between getting that $5-$10 or getting nothing, not literally nothing but you get the idea :).  Maybe right now is not the time, but then some would argue that if they wait, when that times comes it will be too late.


Time is a factor here, because Mario and friends are only going to carry weight with consumers for so long.  Kids are growing up right now that really don't care for Mario, at least nowhere near as much as the older people that grew up with it.  In time, maybe by the end of this console generation, there won't be enough Mario love left to even sell mobile games.


On a side note, we should also realize that the list of Nintendo characters/franchises that are loved by the masses is actually not that long.  For example, a lot of people around here being gamers think Zelda is some kind of titan in terms of selling Nintendo hardware.  A lot, maybe most of the casual/families market are clueless about Zelda, or they don't care enough to actually buy a Zelda game.  We like to think it's this legendary franchise, a classic, and it is, but most people don't know or care about it :).

HPFreak623
HPFreak623

Balloon Fight is awesome. Shut up.

YukoAsho
YukoAsho

@gamerboy100  I think the media (many of whom are digital-only cultists on top of hating Nintendo) is under the impression that if they beg long enough, Nintendo will cave and throw their very profitable 3DS under the bus.

Angry_Mushroom
Angry_Mushroom

@spacecadet25  


Nintendo is in no danger of dying out right now.  They've got insane cash reserves on hand, and could probably last through a few more fiascoes.  Sony has been losing money hand over fist, and they are still around.  Same for Blackberry, AMD, and a few others I missed.  


HPFreak623
HPFreak623

3DS failed? I didn't know 43+million units sold was failing.

Shut up. You don't have a clue what you're talking about.

Redsyrup
Redsyrup

@boringdork @RedsyrupI hate Google for their insesitent data minining. No such thing as a free lunch and with Google that's truer than ever. Not really an Apple fan either. In my case I'd be delighted if Nintendo launched their own device. 

I don't think they'd need to refresh it more than once every 2-3 years. Yearly refreshes don't have as much to do with technology as they do with quarterly profits. For Nintendo that's in the games.

YukoAsho
YukoAsho

@hystavito @Paulf001  Obviously it's possible (though it won't happen for a VERY long time).  The kids might not care for Mario, but they sure do love their Pokemanz if the continued success of the 3DS is any indication.


There may be a time when Nintendo has to go 3rd party, but that time isn't today, and it probably won't be for several decades.

YukoAsho
YukoAsho

@Angry_Mushroom This of course ignores the fact that, while it's not putting the company in the black, the 3DS has largely stemmed the bleeding.  You are right, however, that even without the 3DS, they'd be in no danger of dying out.  What people don't understand is that it's WORSE in the long run for Nintendo to abandon the Wii U than it is for them to stick with it.  Sega didn't die out by one failed console, but due to multiple aborted consoles (and yes, the Sega CD were consoles; they had their own games that couldn't be played on a vanilla Genesis) eroding consumer confidence to the point that, when the Dreamcast came out, everyone said "fuck Sega."  And while we're at it, look where Sega is now.  They're IRRELEVANT.  Sonic is in the shithole, and Sega doesn't release ANYTHING ELSE on console anymore.  If it weren't for The Creative Assembly, we all would have probably thought Sega had gone the way of Hudson by now.  No wait, Hudson at least had a great run after the PC-FX failed.  Sega went into the shitter far earlier than Hudson did, because they were run by the same short-sighted asshats who're now trying to get Nintendo to abandon their core business model.