Nintendo: We must 'differentiate' to survive against smartphones, tablets

Company president Satoru Iwata claims competition from Apple devices has not affected DS line, but firm must "offer something exclusive" to survive.

Nintendo continues to not view Apple's range of devices as a threat to its DS line of portable hardware. Speaking to UK newspaper The Independent, company president Satoru Iwata said competition from the iPad and iPhone has not had a major effect on the success of Nintendo's portable devices.

Smartphones and tablets have changed the mobile market, Iwata says.

"I don't think this is a central factor, I think it's much more about our lack of ability to release software in a timely matter that will motivate people to go out and buy our gaming hardware," Iwata said.

Nintendo must offer unique experiences only possible on its hardware to succeed against smartphones and tablets, Iwata said.

"But obviously smartphones and tablets have changed the environment that we operate in and we can no longer offer some kinds of games experiences that couldn't also easily be offered on a smartphone, so we need to differentiate and offer something exclusive," he said. "I think if we can offer exclusive entertainment that cannot be replicated on other devices then we'll have the chance to survive."

This is not the first time Nintendo has pledged its commitment to stay away from smartphones. Last July, Nintendo spokesperson Yashuhiro Minagawa explained that the company's strategy to develop games only for first-party hardware "hasn't changed and won't change."

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278 comments
coxy1
coxy1

no you dont have to compete with the smart phones and tablets thats your money brain talking just be yourselves even if that means going back a generation the loyal fans will respect you more, im getting sick of kinnect this touchscreen that i miss gaming man thats why im a PC owner soon consoles will be a gimmick the adverts will be like this "buy the new xbox 720! to get all your fitness needs" "you will never need to go to the gym again" ahem.....no thank you 

yavix
yavix

I like the guts they have over at Nintendo, they like to take risks, and so far they have paid off. I'm hoping the Wii U is a great console, and shows once again that innovation can win over tech.

Rifqi_Hb
Rifqi_Hb

smartphones cannot beat handheld console, because the only thing it has is Angry Birds

MW2ismygame
MW2ismygame

No you have to stop making mario 652, and zelda 1223 and lower prices for games that only show off gimmickry features, then there is nothing that the android/apple market can do, (even though they are no real threat to ACTUAL GAMING since everyone that just plays "angry birds" or "fruit ninja" is casual and GODFORBID we make games for the fanbase and not accessible to all of the soccer moms and  alt-tab accountants and so simple that anyone with an eye and two thumbs can play)

jakesnakeel
jakesnakeel

A few years ago, my kids and all their friends had DS's.  Now each one has an ipod touch.   I haven't seen a kid playing a DS in a long time.  I'm not sure the quality of the exclusive entertainment is the leading factor.  There's plenty to keep anyone busy on an iPod.  My kids want to be able to play games, browse the web, read books, and skype with their friends.  And the games they play are utter garbage, but they love them.

Jestersmiles
Jestersmiles

Last July, Nintendo spokesperson Yashuhiro Minagawa explained that the company's strategy to develop games only for first-party Gimmicks "hasn't changed and won't change."

 

Fixed.

Dubaholick
Dubaholick

Nintendo is awfully confident that Smartphones aren't going to intrude on their sales and I'm unsure on how t receive this. Whether this is a clever mindset or a foolish one is yet to be seen and I am eager to see what cards Nintendo will play in the near future. And hopefully Sony's Playstation Vita can get a few hints from Nintendo also find it's solid ground...I'm starting to regret my purchase.

csward
csward

Hopefully Nintendo, you will think harder about your gimmicks next cycle. Nintendo always has to have a gimmick and unfortunately 3D, Augmented reality, dated UI, and average power make the 3DS pretty meh. Thank goodness lots of interesting and unique games are coming out for it.

Gravity_Slave
Gravity_Slave

lol Nintendo cracks me up.  They act like something in the market doesn't worry them (competition) but they're going to address it anyway. If Nintendo should be worried about anything, it should be the next-gen Playstation and Xbox. After that, Nintento will be two generations behind the times.  @aryanbrar: Yes. I'd rather play Angry Birds (for free mind you) than the games you mentioned.

RealFabioSooner
RealFabioSooner

I read this and some comments and can't help but think of all the headlines years ago stating that the iPad was an "Kindle killer".

Now, we're approaching the 3rd generation of iPads and the Kindle doesn't seem to be any closer to death.

 

Truth is, people can talk all they want about convergence, cheaper games, easier games or whatever, but there'll always be a market for dedicated devices because multifuncion ones will ALWAYS be lacking something to the dedicated user (be an avid reader or gamer) due to its very general-purpose nature. For example, the iPad will either never feature an e-ink screen that doesn't strain the eyes after long reading sessions, or when it does the latest Kindle will have something new that appeals to the literature aficionados.  

 

The overall market for a dedicated device may shrink as a basic form of its function is incorporated into general-purpose devices, but it's more of a realignment than anything else. I mean, the DS sales are the odd number, not the norm. People love to spell doom and gloom but they market always adapts. There'll always be a few million people willing to pay extra for a dedicated device, there'll always be a dedicated device that does X better than anything else, and there'll always be companies supporting that. Just like the Kindle won't go away until Amazon or other company dedicated to reading/literature can create another dedicated device that's even better.

aryanbrar
aryanbrar

another silly article from gamespot. handheld consoles offer much better games then tablets/cellphones. would you rather play something like killzone/mario kart or lame overrated angry bird.

archlvt
archlvt

Nintendo doesn't need to do a damn thing to differentiate from tablets.  The answer is third party support, which is coming.  This problem will solve itself once we get a few Atlus games.

Jedilink109
Jedilink109

You know the kinds of games I mostly see on 3DS, Mario 3D Land, Ocarina Of Time, Sonic Generations, Mario Kart 7, Metal Gear Solid 3, Resident Evil, and so on, aren't the kinds of games I see on smartphones.  Granted Sonic 4 Episode 2 is on my ipad and is on a similar level of quality as Sonic Generations but there aren't any platforming games on the same level of quality as Mario 3D Land on iphone, and I don't see any 3rd person action games on iphone that feel as great Resident Evil Revelations.

 

There are plenty of great games on ios and android devices but they aren't the same kind of games I see on 3DS or home systems.  Not that games like NOVA 3, Mass Effect Infiltrator, and Real Racing 2 are bad in any way.  They're GREAT games.  But they're made exclusively for touch based systems.  Even MGS3 was heavily modified to play well on 3DS.  And it DOES play well.  I just look at my iphone/ipad and my 3DS as two things that offer similar functions, but each has its own very obvious merits over the other.  I think people need to see that.  And stop complaining that there are no "real games" on touch devices anyway.  Max Payne, GTA3, Prince Of Persia: Warrior Within, Duke Nukem 3D, Minecraft, Marathon, Machinarium all prove that wrong.  And those are just console and PC ports.  That doesn't include the other original games for it that are also really good.

 

This is too long.  Sorry. :P

LtReviews
LtReviews

Everyone here can state their opinion, that they prefer a dedicated handheld device over smartphones and tablets.

 

But those opinions mean crap.

 

The cold hard fact is whether or not smartphones are offering better games, or more games, they have already, statistically just by consumer purchases, cut into the handheld gaming casual market. It's the market of people who don't really play games, but feel like they need some kind of distraction when they are waiting somewhere or on the go. Now they can satisfy their need for a small, cheap distraction, without having to get another device. They've done so, and it's hurt Nintendo's market. You may not have changed your buying behavior, but others have.

 

It can be your opinion whether you prefer a 3DS or a Android phone, but you can't state with an ounce of truth that smartphones have gotten a foothold in the market regardless of quality, and it is forcing Nintendo to adapt or die.

GhostHero333
GhostHero333

Gaming on a gaming dedicated device is different from gaming on a cell phone or tablet any day.

 

Although in about 12 minutes I am going to pick up my Nexus 7 tablet from Gamestop!

Killer6b9
Killer6b9

I simply do not see my cell phone which is the Samsung Galaxy S2 even close to a true portable hand held gaming device....I have yet to find a game that has the depth and entertainment that a true game delivers. Yes there are time wasting games that are fun to a extent but the only reason I even play those games is because they are free....I lose interest in them within a hour, sometimes even faster. So I honestly do not see smart phones or tablets making the handheld gaming market extinct any time soon. My personal issue with tablets and smartphones is....they have no real buttons and I find that the on screen buttons don't always work the way they are supposed to....long live the true portable gaming devices!!!!

J_Dangerously
J_Dangerously

It's about differentiation to a point.  I don't buy Nintendo gadgets because they're cool and different.  I buy them for the Intellectual Properties.  Mario, Zelda, and Metroid.  Without them, all that cool is just an expensive gimmick.

davsonamission
davsonamission

Not only Nintendo, but Sony and Mircosoft need to worry about the phone and tablet market. It could eventually destroy consoles everyone makes the argument that they arent deep enough and the controls suck which is all true and valid points, but these things could be easily remedied, then what... The only way to come out on top is to take it back to the old days when almost every title was exclusive to that system these days there is but a handful and then everything else is 3rd party that you can purchase on any system.With more exclusive titles only found on a certain system that gives you greater chances of sales on hardware and software.This is why over and over again nintendo makes it by with lower tech hardware they have awsome 1st party titles that are iconic. I dont know if this is a solution but if something isnt done its going to PCs, smartphones, and tablets and thats it...

WillyChong
WillyChong

 @Rifqi_Hb Harrrr..... are you that ignorant? You never played Destroy Gunner, Infinity Blade, Need For Speed Most Wanted, Mass Effect Infiltrator, Dead Space, Chaos Ring on phone before? Its a nightmare that these came out of exclusively on Iphones and some on Androids while completely ignored the DS platform!

 

Its a fact, this is not a good news when some very good titles are exclusive, while Dead Space and Need For Speed are not exclusive..... Angry Bird is just a innovative game, its not a game which brings Iphone its deadly reputation!

yavix
yavix

 @Gravity_Slave Despite being behind the PS3 and 360 technologically  they still outsold them both. It's not a fluke, Nintendo knows what they're doing.

Gravity_Slave
Gravity_Slave

 @LtReviews

 well said. many of the Nintendo fans are simply up tight purists. Regardless of failure on Nintendos part, they stick with their icon anyway..  The handheld people are probably the very same snobby tools you see at Starbucks listening to a friggen record player instead of an ipod, just to be different.

LtReviews
LtReviews

 @Killer6b9 

It doesn't friggin' matter whether you think the Samsung Galaxy is better or not.

 

There are people out there with that phone, and have decided they don't need to buy a portable gaming device since the phone has a similar functionality.

 

Whether it's better or not, it's cut into Nintendo's revenue, and that's what the article is about. Nintendo has to convince those people, not you, who have decided they are satisfied with games on their phone, that there is still reason to buy a Nintendo handheld device.

 

And it's going to affect people who buy Nintendo portables like you. If they can't get lost consumers back, the burden of revenue is going to fall on getting more money from what's left of their consumer share of the market.

Aletunda
Aletunda

 @Killer6b9 yeah true man, games on phones and tablets suck, they are more like time killers for when you are on a train

Auronvolgar
Auronvolgar

 @J_Dangerously see that's what i say :) as long as mario, pokemon, zelda etc are exclusive there is no point of worries.

Auronvolgar
Auronvolgar

 @davsonamission imo microsoft and sony dont need to worry about phones not even tablets. xbox 360 PS3 its  all about heavy games and co-op games. On a tablet you cant play like 2-4 ppl at the same time its a total deferent expirience as for nintendo as long as they have mario and pokemon exclusive there is no need to worry either from the million of fanboys that are blinding buy every single game.

JesperJotun
JesperJotun

 @firstclassgamer EA's: Dead Space, Batman: Arkham City Lockdown, Mass Effect, Square Enix's: Chaos Ring 1 and 2, Wulven Games: Shadow Era. These are just small sampling of games that are on the iPad and Android markets that take portable gaming to a whole different level. It's not all "angry birds" and whatnot. There are plenty of solid games with surprisingly detailed environments and gameplay. I'll never give up my PSP or my DS' (plural), but I will say it's easier to play the above games and still be able to do other multifunctions on the same platform. The handheld market is changing and it's not just Gamespot that's touting it. Several major non-tech news sites and magazines have been talking about the insurgence of tablet/smartphone applications in the gaming market.

Gravity_Slave
Gravity_Slave

 @firstclassgamer

 um how is Angry Birds over rated? It delivers exactly what it set out to do. I think you just hate it because its very "very" popular...and you probably hate anything that gets too much attention. might be something deeper going on there bud.

LtReviews
LtReviews

 @Auronvolgar Not even logic, but facts and statistics.

 

Please, logically prove that I have falsely stated Nintendo has lost sales to the emerging mobile market.

 

Or does your "logic" rely on the fact that "He's american, and therefore is wrong, and I am right"?

 

Use "if" and "then" statements, to show my "american logic' how to really do it.

 

Here's mine

 

IF: Nintendo sells less devices due to the statistical fact that less casual consumers are buying their devices due to smartphones

 

THEN: smartphones are cutting into Nintendo's market share.

 

Go ahead. Say this is wrong and why. Remember, whether you buy it counts for 1 person, you. If there's a million people who aren't like you, and don't buy the nintendo device for the express reason I stated, you're still wrong.

Killer6b9
Killer6b9

 @LtReviews The economy is the worst thing effecting Nintendo it is effecting everyone and everything. The simple fact is the the 3DS just hit 5 million sales in just the US alone. That is not even counting the rest of the world. No "true" gamer will use a smartphone as there choice of gaming devices. Now they will use them as secondary "time wasters". And they do need to convince me....I am a consumer, they have millions more to convince as well. As a consumer we buy products. Now they may be losing business due to the fact that there are a lot of people who "need" a cell phone and can not afford both therefore Nintendo and other companies as well lose money. I have yet to hear anyone recommend me a tablet or cell phone game that has the depth and game play that you will get from a true portable gaming device. I sure know that I have both and all I  can find is a bunch of "time wasters" nothing at all with depth of a true game with a story that has been proven time and time again with a dedicated portable gaming device. If there is anyone who can offer me a true game experience please by all means share, do not send me a game that you have to constantly "buy" things so I can play it either cause that is a bunch of crap that I notice a lot of the tablet and cell phones do....let you play and then burn you to buy to play....no thanks!

Auronvolgar
Auronvolgar

 @LtReviews you say that only because nintento say it bro, i dont know even a single person in my life and believe i know a lot of ppl that are playing games to have that logic, not buying 3DS or PSV or whatever because they have a smart phone. This is your opinion this is Iwata's opinion, nothing more(they didnt even do a galop) so when you do a comment make sure to say ''IMO'' and not talk like what you are saying its fact only because Iwata told someing to ppl.

LtReviews
LtReviews

 @Auronvolgar  @J_Dangerously 

No point of worries?? Have you seen Nintendo's stock prices from 2000-2012.

 

Their shares have gone down, and down, and down.

 

"there is no point of worries" is the attitude that got them there to begin with.

 

500 million in losses in a year, that is a point of worry. And whether or not you think smartphones are a threat, it doesn't matter, because investors do, and they don't seem to think mario, pokemon and zelda are going to carry Nintendo.

 

 

davsonamission
davsonamission

But see its all a matter of time before that is no longer going to be true.

Cozm1kaos
Cozm1kaos

 @firstclassgamer  @JesperJotun  Tablets can come out with the same games as portable systems all they want. At the end of the day really controls you can put your thumbs onto is what makes gaming so much fun. People fail to realize that now a days good graphics have become so standard, that even a new student graduating from a university can create. Its all about the controls in my opinion, graphics come regardless =) and even if Ipads came out with a controller, it still cannot beat handhelds. I mean why run around with a ipad and a control?

 

firstclassgamer
firstclassgamer

 @JesperJotun You sound like a person who gonna buy that Crappy piece of Hardware, "Ouya" ill take a regular console over that any day 

Redsyrup
Redsyrup

I tried Dead Space on iPad and it plays horribly compared to the PC and Xbox versions. Real Buttons offer accuracy that touch screens can't provide. @JesperJotun  @firstclassgamer

firstclassgamer
firstclassgamer

 @Gravity_Slave Yea the only reason why its so popular is because its a time waster "you know for like when your waiting in a long ass line ready to be to be called on at a Doctors appointment or court or where ever yo prefer to be bored at or Women think its a cute game to buy the children who cant go through life without getting whatever they want  and girls think its a very cute game.

Auronvolgar
Auronvolgar

 @Gravity_Slave what have the elitism do with the the story bro you are out of topic. the console cost 150euro almost everyone can buy it. smartphones on the otherhand is those that cost from 100-1000 euro those are on the elitism

rarson
rarson

 @LtReviews

 

"IF: Nintendo sells less devices due to the statistical fact that less casual consumers are buying their devices due to smartphones

 

THEN: smartphones are cutting into Nintendo's market share."

 

This is literally what you just said:

 

"If A is true because of fact B, then B is a fact because A is true."

 

That's not logic.

OuroborosChoked
OuroborosChoked

@LtReviews "

IF: Nintendo sells less devices due to the statistical fact that less casual consumers are buying their devices due to smartphones"

 

You're assuming your conclusion.  You ignore the possibility that the casual market, as you're defining it (people who don't usually game, but feel they need some kind of distraction when waiting or whatever), didn't exist before smartphones and tablets.

 

I mean, think about it: if you don't play video games, why would you be carrying around a GBA, DS, or PSP?  Along comes this device that you can surf the internet with from anywhere, play with Facebook, tweet, and all this other stuff... and you can download cheap-to-free games... suddenly you're not averse to gaming.

 

So no, tablets and smartphones are not REPLACING Nintendo's portable devices, as you're suggesting.  You say you're talking about facts and statistics, but you haven't (nor has any other statistician or pundit) made the direct link between the lagging 3DS sales and the ubiquity of tablet/smartphone gaming.  The weakness of 3DS and PSVita sales can be more accurately attributed to lack of original, must-buy software and high price points in a down-turned economy.  End of story.

Vickman178
Vickman178

 @LtReviews The 3DS has sold more than the original DS line in the same amount of time.

 

So theres a fact for you that proves there market is still growing. :)

 

"Casual gamers" don't buy smart phones to play games anyways, they buy phones so they can text and talk.The numbers for smart phones are so big because everybody has one and just fiddles around with it and downloads free apps.

Auronvolgar
Auronvolgar

 @LtReviews 1) nintento have a lot of exclusive titles (zelda, pokemon, mario, kid icarus, metroid etc) those titles are not going to be on selfphones or other devices2) saw me even one person that brought 3DS, DS etc for not playing even one of those exclusive titles that i allrdy speak of3) no person with 10IQ or more is going to give 150euro+ just to not w8 on the lines of shops.4) fanboys or blind fanboys buying everything only because nitento made it.P.S. you dont see those facts? then there is no point to talk to a blind person. :) 

Auronvolgar
Auronvolgar

 @LtReviews nothing personal bro but every time that i see your commen to be like (I AM GOD I KNOW EVERYTHING YOU ALL SACK MY COMMENTS ARE FACTS NOTHING MORE) and not saying even once (in my opinion) that saw only that you are an egoist a man that believe everyone else is wrong and knows everything, you believe that you are an expert on everything and anything. When i do a comment and say my opinion i use ''imo'' and then start to talk, when i talk about facts i give facts to ppl after i have done my homework. when you are not able to see all those millions or millions of fans that buying every device of nintento like blind zombies(no offence to customers, there are some of them that i had met that are logic customers and not buying every shit of nintento) look the sells of pokemon, zelda, mario, etc all the exclusives are from 50%-70% of the total sells of 3DS. those are facts. That is a homework that you didnt do, this is something that you didnt read and this is something that on your following comment you are going to say that  i dont have any clue from all those things that just post.  And let me tell you one more thing egoist-expert bro I dont give a shit from what you are saying, nintento fans dont give a shit, reality dont give a shit. AND THATS A FACT TOO.

J_Dangerously
J_Dangerously

@LtReviews

So you think the market crash of '08 has nothing to do with it?

 

You're a pretty smart kid.  I can tell you're going places.

 

Auronvolgar
Auronvolgar

 @LtReviews you dont have a clue? lol hahahaha bro plz PS2 was a killer console back on 2002-2006 xbox 360, PSP, PSV and PS3 doing the same thing they take customers from nintento. MY point, The fact point, the reality is that nintento is not loosing cusomers from smartphones or tablets(not yet). when the cloud gaming will be up, then we can talk about smartphones/tablets vs consoles.

LtReviews
LtReviews

 @Auronvolgar

"Stock prices have nothing to do with it"

 

Ummm... yes they do. Nintendo is a publicly traded company. If there stock prices go down, they lose money, if there stock prices reach near-zero, they go bankrupt. This isn't opinion, this is how money works.

 

"The reason nintendo is going down is not because of the phones lol did smart phones and tablets even exist back in 2000?"

 

You are so delusional it hurts... Why did you think I told you to look up the trend since 2000??? To compare Nintendo's pre-smartphone-era stock to post-smartphone-era stock.

 

So, look at the price in 2000,

 

Now look at the stock price today, with smartphones out.

See a difference? exactly.

 

Also, I don't have a clue why you are bringing up the PS2 and Xbox, 360 etc. Whether they sell better or worse matters for nothing, crap, nada. If Nintendo is losing money, it doesn't matter if they sell more or less, it means something is wrong.

Auronvolgar
Auronvolgar

 @LtReviews bro stock prices have nothing to do with it. The reason that nintedo is going down is not because of the phones lol did smart phones and tablets even exist back in 2000? wtf.... The reason the PS2 that has the record of the highest sales worldwide was on, on 2000-2006 and PS3 + xbox 360 that came later on 2005 and 2006 those took a lot of ppl + the company policy has changed and doesnt make so much money from their device as before because they were forced to low the prices too much + PSP and PSV that took some of GBA, DS and 3DS customers.

Auronvolgar
Auronvolgar

 @davsonamission there is only one way for mobile gaming come close to a console gaming. Cloud! when cloud gaming will be released then we can talk about mobiles VS consoles. as for what you just say about next next gen consoles even if mobile gaming stay as it is now for the next 12 years there is not going to be next next generation of consoles only because of cloud gaming. they will be no need to buy new hardware you will just pay a bill every month and play. mark my words :)

davsonamission
davsonamission

What ppl fail to realize is that mobile games and devices are going to grow and evolve and eventually becoming deeper experiances and with better controls even physical contols possibly its not going to happen over night but if this new generation of consoles coming up dosent pull out all the punches there wont be a next gen console. Is that what really will happen who knows but you sholud always prepare for the worst and hope for the best...