Nintendo refuses to make a gaming phone

By on April 4, 2011, 10:58 AM
Nintendo has no plans or desire to build a gaming phone. Although both Microsoft and Sony, Nintendo's two main rivals in the gaming industry, have both branched into mobile phone development, Nintendo simply isn't interested in building a phone or licensing its games for third-party software platforms. Executives for the Japanese company told CNN that they were more interested in focusing on machines dedicated solely to entertainment:
"We have no desire to get into telephony," Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime said. "We believe that we will earn our way into someone's pocket without having to offer that (phone capability) as an additional factor." Nintendo isn't completely discounting the idea, but the high costs involved in cellular carrier partnerships are a roadblock, said Hideki Konno, a top Nintendo producer. "It's not that I'm uninterested," Konno said through a translator. "However, I look at the business model, and I see so many additional costs that come into play." Splitting revenue with cell operators would affect the retail price of games, he said. "Would we increase the price of the software itself?" Konno asked. "The distribution couldn't be free."

The move is a curious one given that Nintendo is struggling to fight off competition in the casual mobile gaming space from companies like Apple and Google. Inexpensive games on iOS and Android are becoming more and more popular as the smartphone and tablet markets continue to explode.

Last month, Fils-Aime went on record to say that these games are "one of the biggest risks today in our gaming industry." It seems that Nintendo's strategy is to fight back with new gaming technologies, such as 3D.

Late last month, Nintendo released the 3DS, the first mainstream gadget that can display 3D graphics without the need for special glasses. Games cost about $40, and the 3DS is also able to download movies or stream them via Netflix. The device has already broke sales records, though the real test will be to see how it does in the long term.

User Comments: 5

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MrAnderson said:

I would guess in about 2 to 3 more hardware generations, that most handhelds will have some form of communications option, be it Skype like video conferencing/VOIP services, or the wireless and cellular combo as an option.

Nintendo could test the water with a very simple model similar to the mini-gameboy that has a virtual console that will play the old games NES/Super NES generation of games. They could still cost the same as they are now and be run on Wii and-or DS branded hardware.

Just testing it in the Japanese market could give them an edge for the future. Otherwise they might get edged out of the hardware market. Or at least find it shrinking. Being on top just makes you a target to get knocked off. If the can coninue to keep the hardware price well under the iTouch devices they will be fine for purchases for the kids. Otherwise new business from adults might be shrinking.

Guest said:

Way to go Nintendo.

I don't like the way Nintendo has handled some things, but I support their position opposing the flow of the handheld do-everything-device. It really is nice to see that there are some companies that aren't going to jump on every bandwagon that passes through.

By they way, I'm a proud Wii owner, too.

Guest said:

they need to start workin on a HD console.....just my opinion tho

Xclusiveitalian Xclusiveitalian said:

They just need to add a microphone and 4g support to the 3ds and there good.

Lokalaskurar Lokalaskurar said:

If not telephony, how about installable programs using www-connectivity? Like Skype, Spotify and whatnot.

Originally by Guest:

they need to start workin on a HD console.....just my opinion tho

Ever since Nintendo pulled Sony's noses with that CD-drive thingy for SNES that eventually ended up in Sony creating the Playstation and so on - Sony has had a bigger technological advantage than Nintendo, not considering all the wacky gizmos for the NES that seldom worked (even though that was some years before the Playstation 1) and of course the delta-radio based motion technology in the Wii. Our dear Guest is right, if Nintendo could create a HD-console capable of matching the Playstation 3 in both performance yet low-cost, they might be onto something.

Also for crying out loud, somebody needs to ditch that FAT32 allocation table system sooner or later it's getting on my nerves x| - perhaps a NTFS-compatible SSD drive to go with the Wii? Just wishful thinking.

As for the 3DS, my opinion has already been stated:

Originally by Xclusiveitalian, but meant to be by Lokalaskurar :

They just need to add a microphone and 4g support to the 3ds and there good.

Truly a great example of what Nintendo can do to increase their position in the portable market. Hopefully the operating frequency bandwidth won't run out before that happens, though.

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