Nintendo: don't expect 99-cent Mario game

President Satoru Iwata praises smartphone market for aspiring game developers, but says it's not the right path for Nintendo.


Nintendo has no plans to bring Mario to smartphones. In a new Wired feature, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata praised the smartphone market as an area in which new developers can thrive. Ultimately, however, the executive said he believes it cheapens the value of games.

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"I think it's a wonderful thing that amateur video game players are now given the opportunity to create their own work and sell it at one dollar,” Iwata told the site during E3 2012. “If you ask me, don’t you think Nintendo should sell Mario on a smartphone for 99 cents, I do not think the answer is yes. We really want to sustain the monetary value of game software at a higher level. Otherwise, we cannot make game creation a rewarding business.”

Iwata went on to claim that smartphone manufacturers do not care about the gaming industry, but rather only for promoting the value of the platform itself. He said it is similar to what Apple has done with the music business. He said Apple has tricked users into believing purchasing music at 99 cents per track instead of an entire album is a "smarter activity." And the result, Iwata said, is that artists must supplement their music sales in other ways to sustain their business.

Further, Iwata disagreed with the opposite side of the argument: that the 99-cent song actually saved the music business after rising Internet speeds led to greater piracy rates. In fact, Iwata said companies that sell music downloads and MP3 players were smart to position themselves as heroes when they were really duping consumers.

"They have done so so smartly that they were able to establish the image that they are the saviors of the music industry," he said. "However, the fact of the matter is they have simply transferred these resources of music and monetary value into somewhere else. And the same thing is happening in the game industry.

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