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Nintendo Denies Reports of Smartphone Games

By - Source: Bloomberg | B 15 comments

Pokemon is an independent franchise and can go where it wants, but Nintendo doesn't have any plans to develop for smartphones.

Nope, we're not developing for smartphones. That's the statement Nintendo seemingly made after reports surfaced just days ago of a Pokémon game arriving on the iOS and Android platforms this summer. Given that Nintendo's little pocket monsters  are typically caught exclusively on Nintendo's hardware, it was assumed that the company was finally beaten in the mobile sector and diving into smartphone development.

But apparently that's not the case... or so they say. Nintendo spokesperson Yasuhiro Minagawa said that the company's strategy to develop software only for its own hardware “hasn’t changed and won’t change." Nintendo only owns 32-percent of the Pokémon franchise and Game Freak presumably owns the rest, thus Nintendo doesn't have control over where the Pokémon brand can infest.

Bloomberg reports that Nintendo shares rose as much as 4.9-percent after news of Pokémon arriving on iOS and Android surfaced earlier this week. "The share movement showed how much investors are hoping for Nintendo to change its strategy," said Mitsuo Shimizu, an analyst at Cosmo Securities Co. in Tokyo. "Nintendo should consider developing games for smartphones or players that can also act as mobile phones, as it suits the lifestyles of many people."

There's no question that Nintendo investors are wanting the company to change its strategy. After the Wii U's reveal at E3 2011 back in June, market shares suddenly dropped to a five-year low during the show. And although the Wii U is aiming to win back the hardcore gamers it lost with the previous family-oriented Wii machine, investors are worried that Nintendo is putting too much focus on hardware and ignoring the industry shift over to social networking.

"Although some experts seem to like the new device, I expected Nintendo to move more into the social networking business," said Mitsuo Shimizu, deputy general manager at Cosmo Securities in Tokyo. "It's a warning from investors that the company should reconsider its business strategy and move more aggressively into social gaming operations."

That said, Nintendo may want to reconsider its stance against smartphone development. In 2009, the company commanded a 70-percent share of the U.S. portable game software market followed by Apple's iOS with a 19-percent share. In 2010, Nintendo lost a sizable chunk of the market to both iOS and Android, retaining 57-percent compared to the iOS/Android combo devouring a 34-percent share. Nintendo share numbers are expected to be even lower in 2011, thus triggering the assumption that it was entering the smartphone arena with the release of the Pokémon app.

But Nintendo doesn't think it's suffering a beating from iOS and Android despite the numbers. "So far, consumers have not stopped playing with Nintendo DS because they are using these [mobile] services or playing social games," Satoru Iwata said during a 2011 financial results briefing earlier this year.

Guess he hasn't seen the layers of dust collecting on my DS. Farmville anyone?

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  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , July 7, 2011 7:36 PM
    Nintendo's always been stubborn and went their own way in the face of shifting market trends. It's served them well thus far, but it may time to change.
  • 4 Hide
    Marco925 , July 7, 2011 7:51 PM
    Quote:
    Guess he hasn't seen the layers of dust collecting on my DS. Farmville anyone?

    Nintendo knows what they are doing. Not everyone has the same likes and dislikes, while You may not play with your DS, many people Do. it's biased to imply that because think your DS is boring that everyone agrees with you. It's an unwarranted attack on tech journalism and should be neutral.
  • -1 Hide
    Anonymous , July 7, 2011 7:59 PM
    I disagree ^. He could have worded it differently but that wouldn't spark comments. I suggest he is not unique and there are plenty of people who think similarly than he does. Once you develop an outline of his preferences, and start grouping all people that fit that profile, there's probably a significant number. So, in essence, he is merely stating that he and people who feel the same he does, has not been fully exploited by Nintendo, and Nintendo could of course explore this and find room for improvement to better keep all those who invested in the DS continue to invest in the DS.
  • 0 Hide
    tjspyke , July 7, 2011 8:02 PM
    Actually, Nintendo owns more than 32% of the Pokemon franchise. I am not surprised the author got it wrong though. They own most of it (maybe all). The Pokemon games are jointly owned by Nintendo, Creatures (a company that is 100% owned by Nintendo), and Game Freak (who have not made a game for someone other than Nintendo since 1999). You will not be credible when you get basic facts wrong like saying Pokemon is an independent franchise. Then again, Fox News Channel spreads lies everyday and also trick people into believing them.
  • -1 Hide
    amabhy , July 7, 2011 8:04 PM
    Marco925 it's biased to imply that because think your DS is boring that everyone agrees with you. It's an unwarranted attack on tech journalism and should be neutral.


    Umm, how the f___ is his opinion an attack on tech journalism? It's a single line simply voicing his opinion/analysis at the end of the article and saying that the DS is old, which it is. Have you ever heard of a f___ing op ed? This ain't the new york times, if you want that kind of reporting go read that, dumba__.
  • 4 Hide
    Anonymous , July 7, 2011 8:28 PM
    Farmville is not a game, it's a damn virus and should be eradicated from the internet ASAP
  • 3 Hide
    memadmax , July 7, 2011 8:28 PM
    "ignoring the industry shift over to social networking."

    News flash: Myspace is Dead, Facebook is on it's way to being dead(30 million+ users dropped out from "boredom")

    Social networking is a Fad, just like the iPad business.
  • -1 Hide
    Marco925 , July 7, 2011 9:00 PM
    IThinkDifferentlyI disagree ^. He could have worded it differently but that wouldn't spark comments. I suggest he is not unique and there are plenty of people who think similarly than he does. Once you develop an outline of his preferences, and start grouping all people that fit that profile, there's probably a significant number. So, in essence, he is merely stating that he and people who feel the same he does, has not been fully exploited by Nintendo, and Nintendo could of course explore this and find room for improvement to better keep all those who invested in the DS continue to invest in the DS.


    amabhyUmm, how the f___ is his opinion an attack on tech journalism? It's a single line simply voicing his opinion/analysis at the end of the article and saying that the DS is old, which it is. Have you ever heard of a f___ing op ed? This ain't the new york times, if you want that kind of reporting go read that, dumba__.

    Was I being insulting? No. You dont need to call me names. and you must feel pretty proud of yourself knowing you can sit there in the comfort of your own home insulting people you've never met.

    However, this is a news article in a news section. Not an opinion piece. If you wanna talk about newspapers, need i remind you that the New york times has its own separated opinion piece of what people THINK should be. andd the new york times doesnt report technology. However, i read this believing to be news, not to be told that someone thinks i might be in the minority. Seriously?
  • 2 Hide
    dark_lord69 , July 7, 2011 9:13 PM
    Nintendo would never give up on the profits it makes on the sale of the portable system and more importantly. The money they get from 3rd party game making companies. They get X amount for each game sold on thier console.

    So. lets say you are EA games.
    You make a need for speed
    You charge $40 for the game.
    Lets say retailers get $10 on each game for a retail price of $50.
    Out of that $40, lets say nintendo gets a 10% licensing fee.
    That's $4
    Times 1 million copies sold
    4 million for a game they didn't even make.
    And that's just 1 game

    At any given time there are many new games available.
    Lets say in 1 year there are 20 games that sell roughly 1 million copies at the same price.
    20 games X 4 million for each = $80 million on games they didn't even make.
    And the above is just an example it could be much more profitable than my example.

    So, they won't stop selling consoles because there is good money to be made.
  • 2 Hide
    slabbo , July 7, 2011 9:26 PM
    Satoru Iwata is correct. Just because one person plays an iOS or Android game doesn't mean that it's cutting into Nintendo's share. There isn't just 1 portable gaming pie that all three need to eat from. People can buy all three of either Nintendo's portable games and iOS or Android games. And they do cause Nintendo DS games and iOS/Android games are very different and serve different markets.

    IMO portable gaming market is split into 2. The Nintendo/PSP markets which offer console type more engaged portable games and the iOS/Android games which offer simple causal pick it up "play it while on the toilet" type games. There is some overlap between those, but not enough for each to be fighting for the same market share.
  • 0 Hide
    luckshot , July 7, 2011 9:47 PM
    Marco925andd the new york times doesnt report technology. However, i read this believing to be news, not to be told that someone thinks i might be in the minority. Seriously?


    Technology is in the business section thursdays. Also, no offense, but you are retarded if you think that toms is the technology equivalent of NYT. Although I do agree they can be retardedly biased sometimes, like that Marcus Yam. He's an obvious apple fanboi and it shows in the columns.
  • 2 Hide
    kinggraves , July 7, 2011 10:53 PM
    News or Opinion, it's just sloppy journalism to make false statements and still call yourself a professional, especially in a time when you can do a 10 second search and find the correct information. Nintendo owns all copyrights as Creatures and Pokemon Company are their subsidiaries, and all decisions regarding licensing are made by them in the long run. There is no presumption that Gamefreak owns about 1/3 and wouldn't dare bite their long term masters to make a quick buck.

    I don't need to be an analyst to predict that investors don't like the idea of Nintendo trying to get back hardcore gamers. They want another Wii, they want Nintendo to get them more money, even if it means tricking casual players into buying another machine they barely use. The fact that investors don't like it is the best thing I've heard about this new system, because it means Nintendo isn't trying to get money here, they're trying to please console gamers. Matter of fact, the whole system, even the name Wii U, reeks of antisocial single player games. You can't even use more than one of the special controllers. This doesn't rule out the possibility of online multiplayer, but this is no party system for the family. It doesn't matter to them if they lose a share of the market, because they're still going to stick to their beliefs. Sony on the other hand is fully willing to try and copy the smartphone gaming scene. At the end of this, my "analyst" prediction is that Nintendo will still keep a decent share of mobile gaming thanks to people who prefer more substance, and NGP is going to sink like a stone due to the fact that they're trying to compete with already estabilished markets like iOS and Android without bringing much new to the table.
  • 2 Hide
    negadeath , July 8, 2011 2:14 AM
    Nintendo reveals product, investors freak out. Nintendo makes billions, investors happy again.
  • 0 Hide
    Marco925 , July 8, 2011 2:30 AM
    luckshotTechnology is in the business section thursdays. Also, no offense, but you are retarded if you think that toms is the technology equivalent of NYT. Although I do agree they can be retardedly biased sometimes, like that Marcus Yam. He's an obvious apple fanboi and it shows in the columns.

    Not at all. The other person made the comparison to New york times. however, i'd like a bit less opinion and a bit more news. if you catch my drift.
  • 0 Hide
    The_One_and_Only , July 8, 2011 5:19 PM
    I hate it when people say keep your opinion to yourself in comment sections. WTF do you think it is for? A comment IS an opinion. By saying keep your opinion to your self you are effectively saying your opinion is the only one that matters, and covering up the fact that what you are saying is your opinion.. follow?
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