Can Nintendo Thrive on Mobile?

Editorial: GameSpot editors share their thoughts on Nintendo's landmark announcement.

307 Comments

In a surprise announcement Tuesday, Nintendo and DeNA announced a landmark partnership that will see the companies work together to bring Nintendo IP to smartphones and tablets.

The announcement paves the way for Nintendo's long-held business strategy of releasing its franchises only for its own hardware to finally come to an end.

No Caption Provided

Details are light at the moment. While Nintendo isn't eyeing straight ports, it will consider its entire IP portfolio for possible iPhone and Android games. The first products out of the Nintendo-DeNA partnership will be released before the end of the year.

As part of the agreement, Nintendo also confirmed it is developing "a core system compatible with a variety of devices including PCs, smartphones, and tablets, as well as Nintendo's dedicated video game systems."

Though there remain a number of unanswered questions about Nintendo's plans for the smartphone market, investors are already responding positively. In Japan, Nintendo shares are skyrocketing in the wake of the announcement.

To dive deeper into the news, we polled a selection of GameSpot editors for their thoughts. See below for their full responses, and be sure to let us know what you think in the comments below.

Please use a html5 video capable browser to watch videos.
This video has an invalid file format.
00:00:00
Sorry, but you can't access this content!
Please enter your date of birth to view this video

By clicking 'enter', you agree to GameSpot's
Terms of Use and Privacy Policy

Randolph Ramsay, Managing Editor:

My initial reaction to the news of Nintendo moving to mobile? FINALLY. Nintendo has been a long time holdout when it comes to embracing mobile platforms, and they've had very good reason to. But the reality is if Nintendo wants to remain viable in the long-term, if they want to attract new audiences to their outstanding portfolio of games and hardware, then expanding their reach to mobile is the most prudent bet. And no, I'm not talking about attracting Candy Crushed obsessed casual gamers.

I'm talking about the next generation of core players, young people whose main gaming platforms are--like it or not--are the tablets and mobile devices mom and dad give them to play with. I have a five-year-old son who loves playing on my iPad, and the only Nintendo 'game' I can provide for him is Camp Pokemon. I have a 15-month-old daughter who's already obsessed with playing on my phone, and I would love to introduce her to Mario and pals. There's a whole generation of potential gamers growing up without the Nintendo brand affinity many of us have. Grabbing them at their formative gaming years on the devices they already have access to is not only a smart move on Nintendo's part, but an inevitable one.

Rob Crossley, UK News Editor:

I've often sympathized with Nintendo's concerns about jumping in bed with Apple and Google. Mobile has become a tantalizingly vast business, now bloated to the size of an estimated two billion customers, which makes even the best selling consoles seem feeble by comparison.

But it's also a market that demands games are sold at about a hundredth the price of traditional titles. Publishing on iOS and Android, for Nintendo, comes with a tacit agreement that its games don't necessarily require a premium price point. That changes the very foundation of its age-old business proposition, of creating wonderful entertainment at a justifiably high price.

"One cannot underestimate the risk Nintendo is taking here" -- Rob Crossley

One cannot underestimate the risk Nintendo is taking here. Soon it will be in a position where it will offer two kinds of mobile games: some that are on 3DS and sold for $40, others that are on mobile that will be close to free. If both kinds prove to be immensely fun--and they will be--then it's only natural that people will gravitate away from the high prices.

Will the additional money from mobile offset the inevitable losses to handhelds? That is an incredibly difficult question, the answer of which will be central in determining whether its new direction is a success or not.

Justin Haywald, Senior News Editor:

Nintendo is making the smart move.

Following the mobile announcement, Nintendo's stock jumped by 26%. And while that doesn't mean much to gamers, Nintendo is a publicly traded company. They have to do more than make gamers happy; they have to make money.

While this could be seen as flip-flopping on Nintendo president Satoru Iwata's previous commitment to stay off of smartphones (because it is), the Japanese market has gone mobile. Microsoft's and Sony's home consoles are floundering in Japan while the portable market flourishes. So avoiding mobile right now is just a dumb move. This is an announcement that will keep shareholders off of Nintendo's back but also infuse the company with more money.

That doesn't mean we're going to get great mobile games from Nintendo. There's a reason that the best experiences on your phone come from small indie studios and all the microtranscation-based money makers come from larger studios. Nintendo is getting into mobile to make money, and we're going to get things more like the Puzzles and Dragons Super Mario crossover and the terrible (but successful) Pokemon Shuffle.

"Nintendo is making the smart move" -- Justin Haywald

So why am I still excited for this? Because of what this opens up for the company next. The pairing with DeNA could mean a dedicated login not just across Nintendo devices, but across all devices where you can access or play Nintendo games. Mobile is a necessary stand-in right now to bring in money and make shareholders happy. But a future where Nintendo once again has the freedom and popularity to create great experiences that aren't limited by platform? That's exciting.

If Nintendo's plan is to use this future freedom to give us cross-buy options for games, access to the virtual console everywhere, and to give small development teams room to innovate and experiment, rather than just pumping out ways to squeeze money from consumers one microtransaction at at time, Nintendo has an incredibly exciting future.

Eddie Makuch, News Editor:

"I was surprised today to learn that Nintendo would be jumping into the smartphone/tablet market through a wide-ranging partnership with DeNA. After all, Nintendo's long-stated--and often-repeated--stance on the subject seemed clear: 'We'll make content so compelling that people will eagerly buy a 3DS.' And Nintendo had good reason to take this approach.

But it now appears that the smartphone/tablet market is simply too large a sector to ignore. While Nintendo isn't yet talking specifics about its plans for mobile--beyond saying its first titles will debut later this year--it's exciting to imagine the possibilities. The Japanese game giant has some of the most beloved and recognizable characters not just in gaming, but across the entire media landscape.

Bringing Mario, Zelda, and Donkey Kong to mobiles could be an incredibly lucrative move for the company. Of course there are a number of unanswered questions here: Will Nintendo make these games or DeNA? Are they going to be bite-sized experiences that instead push you to a deeper experience on 3DS? Microtransactions? Whatever the case, Nintendo is making a future-focused move--and that's exciting."

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Join the conversation
There are 307 comments about this story
307 Comments  RefreshSorted By 
GameSpot has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to toxic conduct in comments. Any abusive, racist, sexist, threatening, bullying, vulgar, and otherwise objectionable behavior will result in moderation and/or account termination. Please keep your discussion civil.

Avatar image for TJDMHEM
TJDMHEM

3104

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

i think nintendo will do good on mobile devices.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for quesoraptor
QuesoRaptor

39

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

I can see Nintendo creating a fitness app that unlocks rewards or unlockables in other games as you walk or exercise.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for crazyguy111
crazyguy111

406

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

R.I.P Nintendo

1985-2015

Upvote • 
Avatar image for quesoraptor
QuesoRaptor

39

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

<< LINK REMOVED >> Ignoramus...Nintendo was founded in 1889.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for colbster
colbster

559

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 7

User Lists: 0

I don't like the sound of them making tablet and mobile-specific games only... they should port their library over as is as well, and create a series of controllers that can click in to the iPhone and tablets for full control. Then offer wifi and internet multiplayer! I'm not sure I want to play a swipe-centric mario game.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for shourya55
shourya55

25

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

it can thrive easy ,mobile games have long gone now we are just left with free(not actually) type games that sucks

Upvote • 
Avatar image for elessarGObonzo
elessarGObonzo

2608

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 137

User Lists: 0

maybe just to develop games solely for use with the wii-u's tabletesque gamepad or for an upcoming system's same type interface device

Upvote • 
Avatar image for andrew_ribbons
andrew_ribbons

4136

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 38

User Lists: 0

Trouble is all i can see with this is a bunch of half arsed remakes which are already available for free via Emulators. I doubt they're going to release flagship stuff on these, it'll just be to entice more of the masses onto their own platforms.

They should take SEGA as an example of why not to leave the console/platform industry and concentrate only on software for other platforms. SEGA who are now a spec in a sea of other publishers, down from when they were a lead developer and industry progressive.


It's fine to do both, MS have made this work by releasing and supporting software for both PC and their Xbox platforms for years. But at the end of the day, this hasn't been at the loss of their main gaming platform, it's been to grow it instead.


My main worry here is that they will create little gimmick games for 99p. No thanks...


Upvote • 
Avatar image for elessarGObonzo
elessarGObonzo

2608

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 137

User Lists: 0

Nintendo does need a platform of their own anymore. They have been totally behind the times hardware and quality wise since the early Gamecube days. They should just ditch the whole idea of Nintendo as it exists and put their awesome exclusive rights and gameplay ideas into devices that have better companies behind their hardware.

A Mario Universe or Super Smash Bros online PC\One\PS4 game and other people would go insane purchasing and playing. Not me, but the majority of gamers seem to buy into things like this.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for timmyp777
TimmyP777

25

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 0

<< LINK REMOVED >> What a completely misguided comment

Upvote • 
Avatar image for elessarGObonzo
elessarGObonzo

2608

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 137

User Lists: 0

<< LINK REMOVED >> misguided? who should it be guided towards? not an article about the future of nintendo? i forget that consolites have trained themselves to not expect the best quality hardware or the highest quality graphics. but, that's what it will take to bring back much of the community and to keep others from moving on.

correction: "does not need"

Upvote • 
Avatar image for coop36
coop36

2151

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 41

User Lists: 0

I dont see what people are freaking out about. This is probly a glorified advertisement side project to attract more mobile gamers back to their consoles. No theyre not just dropping their consoles and going full mobile gaming. Theyve been in this for 30 years through many ups and downs, Im pretty sure they know what theyre doing.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for JoInfo
JoInfo

102

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 24

User Lists: 0

I couldn't help but feel that the free to play Pokemon Shuffle game was a test to see just how they would fare on mobile devices.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for binarylad
BinaryLad

85

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 2

User Lists: 5

<< LINK REMOVED >> It's like an X-Files episode waiting to happen.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for deactivated-591a658d5ed11
deactivated-591a658d5ed11

128

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 3

User Lists: 0

I would like to see Nintendo make a awesome console with a controller and a decent harddrive, no fancy gimmicks..... And make the kind of games we love to play like they used to do back in the snes days both 1st and 3rd party games !!!! I would trade in my xbox one for that.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for quesoraptor
QuesoRaptor

39

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

<< LINK REMOVED >> They still make games like that. Most games still allow play with a wii controller pro.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for Nev3rtime
Nev3rtime

91

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 9

User Lists: 0

A few Nintendo puzzle games and maybe an advanced wars will be welcome on my phone, but key Nintendo games I'm happier to own on the consoles. It'll mean more to people who've shy'd away from owning Nintendo consoles for whatever reason.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for hystavito
hystavito

4755

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Like many are saying it's the business move they kinda have to make, if they want to stay popular with the kids/families/casuals. Two things though, it could eventually lead to them no longer being of interest to "core" gamers, which has happened already to some extent. And, it may not succeed, there are no guarantees. If both of those happen, then they are really screwed :).

Upvote • 
Avatar image for bladexdsl
bladexdsl

45

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

you do this nintendo and your finished and this time for real DOOMED.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for coop36
coop36

2151

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 41

User Lists: 0

<< LINK REMOVED >> Thats a bit dramatic and misinformed.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for jsadanger
jsadanger

26

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Selling out to DeNa was a big mistake!

Upvote • 
Avatar image for coop36
coop36

2151

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 41

User Lists: 0

<< LINK REMOVED >> They didnt sell out... if anything DeNa sold out to Nintendo. And their stocks are rising so I wouldnt call it a mistake so far.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for GreenMan
GreenMan

668

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

I think Rob Crossley made a good point which is the price point for mobile titles. It will be a hard sell convincing people to shell out premium prices, even for premium products. I think we're going to see mini-game style apps for mobile phones while the core games remain tied to Nintendo hardware where they can charge the full price.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for xeidog69
xeidog69

1463

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 5

User Lists: 0

<< LINK REMOVED >> yup. They may go as far as releasing newer versions of games like warioware touch, smooth moves etc as those are touch and tilt based games. games like the weird dancing ones no the DS would also fit right at home on phones. Basically anything that can be played with touch and motion only. All the main franchises and platforming games will still remain on Nintendo hardware like ya said.


Upvote • 
Avatar image for IanNottinghamX
IanNottinghamX

1014

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 0

People are interpreting this all wrong. What Nintendo is essentially doing is creating a Psn like service for their consoles...a service they can access from both mobile and Nintendo consoles. It isnt about making mario games on mobile phones so much as its about unifying their consoles.
Do I think its a good idea? maybe but they honestly need to make consoles that are more third party friendly

Upvote • 
Avatar image for seriousgaming
SeriousGaming

91

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 5

Dr. Mario? Warioware? Any other games that would jive perfectly on mobile with little to no changes from what Nintendo's already been doing for years?

Upvote • 
Avatar image for Redsyrup
Redsyrup

1368

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 0

<< LINK REMOVED >> Good luck playing Dr. Mario on an all touch device.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for PosiTVEMinD355
PosiTVEMinD355

77

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Pretty sure this whole thing will finally integrate Smartphones/Tablets and PC with whatever handheld/home console Nintendo puts out next, similar to what MS and PS are doing with certain games. This could be a nice move. Just have to wait and see. Not liking the all digital/streaming future though.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for bkbroilr
BKBroilr

40

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

no, sell your game rights to Sony and Microsoft. I want to play punch out again damnit. Not that Mr.Dream crap either, Tyson!

Upvote • 
Avatar image for seriousgaming
SeriousGaming

91

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 5

<< LINK REMOVED >> Yeah let's have Microsoft ruin Nintendo like they did with Rare.

2 • 
Avatar image for 5hd6j
5hd6j

25

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 2

User Lists: 0

<< LINK REMOVED >> George Foreman's Grill Off for $0.99 is what you'll be getting


Enjoy

Upvote • 
Avatar image for Malaphisis
Malaphisis

171

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 2

User Lists: 0

no, make an ultra violent zelda on ps4.

2 • 
Avatar image for seriousgaming
SeriousGaming

91

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 5

<< LINK REMOVED >> Make it an FPS!

2 • 
Avatar image for Malaphisis
Malaphisis

171

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 2

User Lists: 0

<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> I was thiking more god of war

Upvote • 
Avatar image for kvan33
kvan33

710

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

I would love to see more quality "pay once" games with no in-app purchases. Seeing the Nintendo name next to a game in the App Store will give me more confidence to spend a little extra. Hopefully they do this right.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for centethomas
CenteThomas

104

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Whatever happened to their quality of life project?


Upvote • 
Avatar image for 5hd6j
5hd6j

25

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 2

User Lists: 0

<< LINK REMOVED >> Goodbye, quality of product. Nintendo will now be compared to the likes of Candy Crush and Flappy Bird

3 • 
Avatar image for seriousgaming
SeriousGaming

91

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 5

<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> That's fine if they're compared favorably.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for Redsyrup
Redsyrup

1368

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 0

Long live Sega... err I mean Nintendo.

4 • 
Avatar image for centethomas
CenteThomas

104

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Whatever happened to their quality of life console?


Upvote • 
Avatar image for coop36
coop36

2151

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 41

User Lists: 0

<< LINK REMOVED >> Its still in development.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for matthova
matthova

199

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 198

User Lists: 0

And with that Nintendo shall forever thrive prosper

Upvote •