The Washington Post

Should Nintendo jump on mobile?


Nintendo investors are reportedly calling on the company to go mobile (Toru Hanai/REUTERS)

Nintendo investors are calling for the gaming company to make the jump to mobile.

Bloomberg reported Thursday that investors are unhappy with Nintendo president Satoru Iwata’s assertion that the company will only make games for its own devices as long as he’s in charge.

But with 3DS sales flagging, and even the company’s top execs admitting that the handheld had an anemic lineup of games at its launch, it may be time to rethink that strategy, and fast.

Nintendo in particular is quickly losing ground as companies making smartphone games eat into its share of the gaming market. And the Wii has lost the console crown to the Xbox as the best-selling unit.

Since the company’s strategy apparently is to update the gaming titles of yore with new technology, mobile would seem be a perfect fit. And Nintendo would likely see a huge market for its classic titles on the iPhone and Android phones.

Just take a look at the celebration over the port of the classic Sony PlayStation game Final Fantasy Tactics to the iPhone. Even with graphics issues, a less-than-ideal touch interface and a $16 price tag, the game has ridden iPhone users’ childhood memories into the list of the top 100 best-selling games on the Apple Store.

Given the reaction when it was speculated that Nintendo was releasing a Pokemon game for the iPhone — shares surged 4.9 percent on just a rumor — it might not be a bad idea for Nintendo to consider changing its ways.

Related stories:

More technology coverage from The Post

Nintendo says it’s not developing games for Android, iOS

Apple, Google eat into the handheld gaming market

Is Nintendo slipping in the console wars?

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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