Nintendo feels pressure to shift games to smartphones

by Bryce Tarling | Apple

nintendo mario apple iphoneThe video game industry is shifting. People don't have to pay hundreds of dollars for a new gaming-console. Instead, games are integrated into our tablets and smartphones. The games for these devices are also cheaper — and they're more accessible to gamers who only have time to play while on their coffee break, or when waiting for the bus.

This is the problem that is plaguing Nintendo as the release of their new 3DS has been received with relatively soft sales.

As Nintendo made the surprising announcement that it would be cutting the prices of their new system, investors are asking that Nintendo start releasing titles for other platforms like Android and iOS. While Nintendo has built its video game empire on proprietary games and software, its stock fell significantly when Nintendo announced the price drop. Shareholders are beginning to worry that Nintendo's innovation has finally taken a step in the wrong direction.

Nintendo President Satoru Iwata, however, believes that the 3DS has seen its slow start because of a lack of titles — and that come fall, with releases like Kid Icarus: Uprising, Star Fox 3D, Mario Kart and Super Mario 3D Land. He has said his company will not support other platforms, even as Nintendo's stock has hit six-year lows.

Shareholders aren't convinced. When Pokemon Co., which used to be a Nintendo subsidiary, made a brief announcement that it would develop for the iPhone and Android OS, Nintendo's shares made a jump — only to go back down when Nintendo clarified that the move had nothing to do with its hardware strategy.

According to a fund manager at Tokyo-based Stats Investment Management Co., "Smartphones are the new battlefield for the gaming industry. Nintendo should try to either buy its way into this platform or develop something totally new."

Last week, the chief executive of Electronic Arts revealed that the fastest growing platform for the company is the iPad. He also revealed that console systems like the 3DS have slopped from 80 per cent of the gaming industry to 40 per cent. Multipurpose devices like the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch are becoming major players in the market.

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Bryce Tarling

Bryce Tarling

Bryce is currently studying in the Douglas College Print Futures Program in pursuit of a career in writing and editing. He has worked as an English teacher both in the Lower Mainland and in Japan. He has also served brief stints in the restaurant industry. In his free time he enjoys photography, consuming media in the form of books, film, and music, and finding delectable places for trying... more

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