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.

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