Everything You're Thinking About Nintendo Is Totally Wrong
J Thoendell stashed this in Video Games
The idea that Nintendo should “just dump its old games on iOS for free money” is Underpants Gnomes logic. It takes time, effort, talent and care to create successful mobile games. It’s not free money, it’s a significant diversion of resources from Nintendo’s platforms.
Moreover, while “mobile” may be an effective shorthand for describing Nintendo’s current problems, the company’s hardware is not the fundamental problem. It’s not as if the tablet is an incredibly attractive gaming form factor that is manifestly superior to 3DS or Wii U. “Nintendo should go mobile” is a profoundly unimaginative statement. Videogames, man-machine interfaces, are evolving rapidly in countless ways. With all of the many, varied things Nintendo could attempt in order to change how we play games, why would we want to railroad it into slavishly following the current trend?
Nintendo doesn’t need to go where its customers went; it needs to get them back or find new ones. Not having games on iPhone is not Nintendo’s problem. This is Nintendo’s problem: For the last few years, it has been attempting to use ~$250 game platforms on which you must pay $40-60 to play a game to compete with ~$250 game platforms that give you infinite games for free. Nintendo cannot win this fight. When consumers look at a 3DS and a Kindle and decide they want to play games on the Kindle, it’s not because of the hardware, but because that hardware is a magic portal to a world full of free entertainment. For Nintendo to stay relevant, it must develop a strategy that can legitimately compete with that reality.
I don’t know what such a strategy might be. The possibilities are endless. But if Nintendo were to decide that everything it has resisted so far — cheap game prices, an open platform one which everyone can create games, swimming in the same pool as “garage developers,” free-to-play mechanics — are in fact desirable, the most likely outcome would not be Nintendo entering a competitor’s app store, but Nintendo creating its own app store.