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Nintendo denies it is working on minigames for smartphones
Nintendo denies it is working on minigames for smartphones
January 27, 2014 | By Christian Nutt

January 27, 2014 | By Christian Nutt
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    17 comments
More: Console/PC, Smartphone/Tablet, Business/Marketing



UPDATE: In a statement to Engadget, Nintendo said there was no truth to the Nikkei report.

"Nikkei's article contains information previously stated by Mr Iwata during past press conferences, including statements which relate to Nintendo's willingness to make use of smart devices to promote our products, " it reads. "However during such past announcements Mr Iwata has also stated that Nintendo's intention is not to make Nintendo software available on smart devices and as such, we can confirm that there are no plans to offer minigames on smartphone devices."

Original article: Nintendo seems set to dip a toe into the smartphone market -- but go no further than that.

Japanese game industry consultant Serkan Toto has summarized a report from Japanese business newspaper Nikkei's website that suggests that at a company briefing later this week, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata will announce that the company pans to promote its games via a smartphone app.

According to the report (and bear in mind this is a report -- we'll likely know more official details later this week), the app will provide marketing materials such as videos, or even demos, of its games -- cost-free. But interested players will have to purchase its consoles and full-priced games to play them for real.

Iwata recently hinted at this strategy in comments made at a press conference after the company announced that the Wii U console would drag the company to a loss this year:

"We are thinking about a new business structure... Given the expansion of smart devices, we are naturally studying how smart devices can be used to grow the game-player business. It's not as simple as enabling Mario to move on a smartphone," Iwata said.

Nintendo has said in the past that social media sharing within Animal Crossing: New Leaf drove sales of the game. As of October 31, that game had sold over 6 million copies worldwide.

Gamasutra's editors recently tackled the question of whether Nintendo should make smartphone games. Assuming the Nikkei's report is accurate, the company clearly intends to use smartphones as tools to increase the popularity of its console and handheld titles -- not replace them.


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Comments


James Yee
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Hmmm... an ad app basically? Do those ever work?

Maybe doing a demo app will let them test and see if they can even port their games over to a mobile system?

I guess it's too soon to tell.

Scott Lavigne
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Rumor: Nintendo game ads coming to smartphones*

Ron Dippold
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Sounds like they're approaching smartphones like they approach the internet - with a great deal of trepidation and a whole lot of cootie spray.

Joe Zachery
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They are not going to put their money maker games on smart phones. Still with them on there now they can protect their licenses from all the bootleg Nintendo games on there now.

SD Marlow
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Without some money under the table, I don't think Google or Apple will be placing these "demo apps" front and center, and they might not be approved in the first place because they are basically promoting a competing marketplace (but not actually shared products, so who knows). Also not clear if this move will make it noticeably harder for indie game discovery (pissing-off the very group Nintendo should be making nice with right now).

As for the testing the waters thing... some free game (demos) would provide a lot of information about hardware being used by it's fan base... ya know, should they decide to build an android based system. Hmm, with that line of thinking, they wouldn't need to release anything for iOS devices (or conversely, if they ONLY release for iOS, it sinks the micro console idea).

Jeferson Soler
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@ SD Marlow - We should know more about Nintendo's exact plans for the mobile scene on Thursday (at least, that's the day that I read on Siliconera). The current information on Nintendo's plans for the mobile scene are somewhat vague, so there's no way to know how Nintendo will approach the mobile devices and if there will be problems when doing so. The only thing that's for sure is that Nintendo intends on using mobile devices for marketing.

SD Marlow
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I guess we know enough now to say ZERO chance of having Nintendo games on mobile devices (non-Nintendo hardware). If they don't do a hardware re-fresh, allow easier access to 3rd party devs, and finally change to "one account many devices" by the end of the year... eh, something clever about a starving donkey.

Bob Johnson
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Could work. Phone notifications are a good way to keep consumers updated on new products. New release-themed minigames would get people checking out the app. Nintendo name might be enough to get it into top of charts in the beginning.

Could not work. Apple sure won't promote it. People like me turn off notifications and don't do alot of apps as it is. Not sure the app will be of interest except to people already interested in their products.


Alex Nichiporchik
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If they release a promo app and make a big deal out of it, it'll show just how behind the times Nintendo actually is :(

Benjamin Quintero
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lol, it's like buying a TV for the commercials. I think it would be hilarious, but I don't know how well that's going to help their bottom line.

Merc Hoffner
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There's no 'buying' if it's free, and as stupefying as it is, it seems to work pretty well for youtube. How many times have you linked through to youtube and seen an ad before you get to the trailer you were pointed to? Through your own 'free' efforts you've been subjected to an ad in pursuit of an ad, and it might very well have made your mind up about the product.

P.S. A hypothetical 'you' of course - I'm not suggesting these are specific things everyone does, but plenty of people do do.

@Alex It's very synthetic and hypothetical to say "if Nintendo do this then they're soo behind". I could similarly posit that if Nintendo announced their own cloud streaming platform then they're ahead. If MS announced that they're selling up their games division tomorrow then they're dead meat. Passing judgement on our own speculations (extrapolated from a rumour) is pretty unfair and meaningless. It might make sense if these approaches were overwhelmingly likely, or if we made suppositions that if they do A) then it won't be enough and they'd have to do B) and C), but this stuff is wide open and in the air. To say, they're in trouble because they MIGHT do A) is just...I don't know, a step too abstracted?

A W
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I think Nintendo already laid out their mobile plans last year. It was for eShop and MiiVerse apps. I said this time and again, if Nintendo want to make head way, they just need to change MiiVerse and make the eShop to fit the needs of the future consumers. Also they need to take some of those coming soon games off of Nintendo Direct, and use them as advertisements to their Youtube channel and to their website. Bayonetta 2 running on Adult swim or Toonami with a "get ore info from Nintendo Youtube or visit Nintendo.com" seriously needs to happen. They already spent the money to get the commercial made, why not use it for everything from TV to Google adds.

Justin Kovac
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I would like to see a Miiverse companion app. Something that allows you to interact and post, get updated game news along with telling you about eShop games and deals. Steam you see a nice featured game page and top deals. It is easy to get curious when it is right there when you load Steam.

I have found some great games on the 3DS eShop I never knew about that have been out for a long time. Steamworld Dig I did not even know about until people talked about a Steam release. Great 3DS purchase.

Eric Geer
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I don't understand what their big hate is with Smartphones. It's a revenue stream. I don't own a smartphone, but it could be a great way for them to make some money. I think the best way for them to approach this, would be not to port their classic software over to smartphones, but rather create some specific titles made just for smartphones. Meaning they wouldn't have to sacrifice their Nintendo-core software...which obviously gives them ojida and the hebejebies, but still provide a piece of software to the platform.

Bob Johnson
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So create titles for smartphones instead of their own platforms thus diverting precious resources from their own platforms thus making their own platforms less attractive?

Eric Geer
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Yes it would divert resources, but wouldn't make their own platforms look less attractive.

It's really just dipping their toes into a different market. We've seen time and time again that the 3DS market and the smartphone market aren't really one in the same. Providing one or two titles a year on a smartphone isn't going to kill their core software offerings on their own platforms. It will more than likely draw other players in as a stepping stone back into Nintendo franchises.

Bob Charone
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"Satoru Iwata will announce that the company pans to promote its games via a smartphone app."

I wonder what that mean considering they already have official Pokedex and PokemonTV apps on iOS


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