Prominent shareholder urges Nintendo to develop and sell mobile games
In letter to president Satoru Iwata, Oasis Management boss Seth Fischer says, "Nintendo needs to embrace this thematic change in consumer demand, behavior, and expectations to stay relevant."
Prominent Nintendo shareholder Seth Fischer, one of Asia's most distinguished hedge fund managers, has urged the company to break with its decades-old strategy of only releasing software on proprietary systems and instead develop and sell mobile games for iOS and Android devices.
"Nintendo needs to embrace this thematic change in consumer demand, behavior, and expectations to stay relevant," Fischer said in a letter addressed to Nintendo president Satoru Iwata and obtained by Reuters.
Fischer is the chief investment officer at Hong Kong-based Oasis Capital Management, which owns shares of Nintendo. The company maintains that releasing its content on third-party platforms would negatively affect its business model, but Fischer wants this to change.
"It is readily apparent that the standard elasticity of demand principle no longer applies in the consumer entertainment market when access requires the purchase of a physical product," Fischer said.
A Nintendo spokesperson would not comment on whether or not the company will genuinely consider Fischer's request. If past comments from Nintendo management are anything to go by, don't expect Nintendo to offer Mario or Zelda games for your iPhone anytime soon.
Defending this long-held strategy last month, 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.
Iwata said at the time that the rise of smart devices does not signal the end of traditional game consoles. "It's not that simple," he said. However, Iwata pointed out that Nintendo must find a way to use smartphones and tablets to nudge players toward the console version of its games.
But “it doesn't mean that we should put Mario on smartphones,” he said at the time.
Nintendo is currently facing increased scrutiny from investors like Fischer, as the company's earnings reports of late have missed the mark substantially.
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