Iwata: Nintendo Wasn't Pushed Into Developing For Mobile

When Nintendo first revealed the Wii U console back in 2012, investors didn't seem keen on the idea. Some voiced their concerns about the console's arrival when the fate of the console market appeared to be unknown. Some investors pointed to the mobile device market as where the company needed to focus. Nintendo seemingly shrugged that off and insisted that premium Nintendo games need to run on Nintendo's premium hardware.

The company didn't back down from that stance until last week when it revealed that new Nintendo games are coming to mobile devices. Nintendo revealed that it signed a partnership deal with DeNA to bring its beloved intellectual property (IP) to smartphones and tablets. These apps will be original games but will supposedly be developed in such a way that players will want the premium experience on the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS.

In a recent Q&A regarding the partnership, Satoru Iwata, Director and President of Nintendo, said that the company was not pushed into the mobile market in any way despite the media saying the exact opposite (guilty as charged). Nintendo, he said, was not cornered.

"We are also aware that unless a company can deal with the rapidly changing world, it will face decline. But I would like to emphasize here that our alliance is not the result of a lack of better options for a cornered company," Iwata said.

Iwata added that when he first met Isao Moriyasu, President and CEO of DeNA, he wanted Nintendo to collaborate with the company. The knowledge that DeNA shared convinced Iwata that the duo could produce "more attractive" content for consumers.

"I realized that DeNA knew so many things that Nintendo did not. Mr. Moriyasu even said that DeNA did not mind remaining in the background as long as it could collaborate with Nintendo," Iwata said.

DeNA is responsible for a number of apps including Final Fantasy Brigade, Final Fantasy Record Keeper, Heroes Unite! and more. Moriyasu said that despite his company's success in the mobile arena, the best path would be to join with Nintendo to create applications based on the popular and "powerful" IP. The collaboration between DeNA and Nintendo just "makes sense," Moriyasu added.

As previously reported last week, to make this collaboration happen, Nintendo will be acquiring 15,081,000 of DeNA's treasury shares (worth around 22 billion yen), while DeNA will acquire 1,759,400 of Nintendo's treasury shares (also worth around 22 billion yen). Still, despite the new deal with Nintendo, DeNA will continue to co-develop apps with other companies while also producing its own content.

Will Nintendo and DeNA succeed in the mobile market? Are you looking forward to playing Pokémon and Mario titles on your smartphone or tablet?

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  • StarBound
    Given the stubborness of Nintendo to adapt to anything I can believe that the decision was made on their own terms but with mobile being so prevalent I do feel they felt some pressure to head in that direction.

    Still the best place to play nintendo (and the only place) is on nintendo ...atleast until you get an emulator working.
  • chibiwings
    Pokemon Online Battle! =)
  • alidan
    Given the stubborness of Nintendo to adapt to anything I can believe that the decision was made on their own terms but with mobile being so prevalent I do feel they felt some pressure to head in that direction.

    Still the best place to play nintendo (and the only place) is on nintendo ...atleast until you get an emulator working.

    they they go mobile with anything but shovelware like things, their hardware side is dead.
  • Mike Coberly
    While my smartphone has more processing power then the Wii U, it makes me wonder why they didn't do this sooner rather then later... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wii_U#Hardware
  • pervbear
    I have a feeling that these will be more "companion" games more than anything else for now. Though I think pokemon would do huge in the mobile market . in app purchases for more pokemon storage and such.
  • Picolete
    It´s probable that they just make apps, not games
  • gigantor21
    Given the downward pressure on dedicated handhelds sales, and how the WiiU has consistently underperformed and led to the first losses the company has seen in decades--something even the Gamecube never managed--I have a hard time believing this. They spent years downplaying and outright making fun of mobile games before this announcement; now they're the second biggest shareholder for one of Japan's big mobile developers and are making smartphone titles with them. The timing and sharpness of the about-face is too convenient to be a coincidence.
  • MyDocuments
    Actually the sales of the Wii-U have been rising of late due to the recent releases and announcements of certain first-party titles. I even bought one recently for the upcoming Zelda game this year and I am currently having fun re-discovering the earlier Windwaker game only this time in HD while I wait (the extra fine-tuning and features added to the game are quite good).
    The WiiFit-U with the fitness meters also improves upon the original ever-so-slightly (transferring your previous Wii-Console data was relatively easy and I can re-use the balance-board) and let's face it a 10-15 Euro / GBP WiiFit-Meter is a lot cheaper an activity-tracker than many of the wearable wrist straps, many costing upwards of 70 Euro / GBP.

    People always decry Nintendo's consoles and business methods and, well, opinions are like farts, everyone has them.
  • Maxx_Power
    When being obstinate and never admitting defeat is part of your culture, of course!
  • ksharp25
    They can color it anyway they want to but others have said the same thing here and elsewhere. Nintendo hardware (consoles) other than handhelds are all but dead. I dont think when PlayStation 5 and Xbox (Next version) hit you will see a Wii or anything else. Not if they are smart. Nintendo of the 2000s is VERY much the Sega of the 90s. Out of touch with what made them great and like Sega, they WILL one day need to go software only and license out to 3rd party consoles. Again, except handhelds, the DS market can stay strong.

    But to stay relevant, they need to what my Anthropology Professor liked to call "ABODO"...Adapt Baby Or Die Out. Nintendo needs to adapt to the new market and allow their IPs to go to 3rd party mobile devices in addition to their DS market, let the consoles die, and bring their properties to XBox and PS.