Nintendo finally caved in and plans to bring Pokémon to the iOS and Android platforms.
Typically we wouldn't write anything Pokémon-related for obvious reasons, but reports that Nintendo is bringing its coveted pocket monster franchise to Apple's iOS and Google's Android is significant. Why? Because this will be the first time a Nintendo 1st-party title won't be on Nintendo hardware that we know of, especially a Pokémon title.
Kotaku Japan reports that Nintendo and Game Freak are bringing an original Pokémon title to the AppStore and Android Market this summer. Called "Pokémon Say Tap? BW," the app uses music and on-screen Pokémon cards in a timing game. It will be free to download and install although it's possible that Nintendo may charge for additional cards/music similar to Tap Tap Revolution.
The news arrives after the launch of Sony Ericsson's PlayStation-certified Xperia Play smartphone. In addition to featuring a cool slide-out gamepad, the Android smartphone also plays host to Sony's PlayStation Suite, an emulator (so to speak) allowing gamers to play classic PlayStation and PlayStation 2 titles on the device. The suite is also scheduled to arrive on Tegra-based Android phones and tablets later on in 2011.
Although Nintendo claims otherwise, a study conducted in 2010 by Morgan Stanley’s Katy Huberty revealed that Apple's iPad and iPod Touch were indeed hurting Nintendo's revenue in the portable sector. "It’s really a new product category that is suited for lifestyle entertainment, but it also opens a host of new possibilities for game experiences, which currently has three games in the Top 10," said Adam Sussman, VP of EA Mobile, referring to the swank new iPad at the time. "It enables us to create new game experiences that are really different and very exciting."
But Nintendo is in complete denial even though it began offering a similar bite-sized format for the Wii (WiiWare) and DSi (DSiWare). "A lot of people want to paint the scenario that in order for the App Store for Apple or any other competitor, for them to enjoy any momentum, it has to be at our expense," said Charlie Scibetta, Sr. Director, Corp. Comm. for Nintendo of America. "I don’t necessarily subscribe to that."
Sure thing. Personally I haven't picked up my DS handheld for years thanks to iOS and just recently Android. Yet here we are with Pokémon heading to both mobile platforms this summer. Could it be based on the underwhelming sales of the just-launched Nintendo 3DS despite setting a new hand-held record on opening day? The new app doesn't seem much of a coincidence or a surprise for that matter based on the heat provided by Apple and Google/Sony. Does this mean iOS and Android owners will see a Nintendo Suite? Let's cross our fingers.