Nintendo released their most recent financial results last week, and the numbers didn’t look good. As suspected, the Wii U is selling quite poorly (the company only sold 160,000 during the quarter) and overall sales are down 1.9% year-over-year.
So with sales of its 9-month-old console already slipping, and no new hardware on the horizon, industry watchers are again calling for Nintendo to consider porting its library of games to, and developing new games for, other consoles and platforms.
But president Satoru Iwata reiterates that won’t happen while he’s in charge…
“If I was to take responsibility for the company for just the next one or two years, and if I was not concerned about the long-term future of Nintendo at all, it might make sense for us to provide our important franchises for other platforms, and then we might be able to gain some short-term profit,” he said.
“However, I’m really responsible for the long-term future of Nintendo as well, so I would never think about providing our precious resources for other platforms at all.”
Over the past few years, Nintendo has had trouble figuring out where it fits in today’s market of casual iPhone gamers and hardcore console gamers. And pundits have suggested that it start developing its software for other platforms to restore its fortunes.
But Satoru says that would ruin the Nintendo experience:
“What I believe is that Nintendo is a very unique company, because it does its business by designing and introducing people to hardware and software – by integrating them, we can be unique. And because we have hardware and software developers in the same building, they stimulate each other,” he said.
“And those kinds of conditions have enabled us to create something that no other companies can create. Those kinds of backgrounds are there behind the fact that such a number of great Nintendo franchises exist, and those great franchises always shine for people around the world.”
As much as I’d love to play an official Super Mario Bros. port on my iPhone (not in an emulator), I have to admit that Satoru is right. Selling its games on other platforms, particularly mobile ones like iOS and Android, would not make a long-lasting business.
Just look at Rovio, who makes arguably the most popular games in the world right now with its Angry Birds Franchise—more than a billion total downloads. The company generated just $71.2 million in net profit last year, less than Nintendo does in a quarter.
So yeah, jeopardizing hardware sales to peddle a few games to mobile users might not be a great business plan. But hey, maybe Nintendo would be interested in making an iPhone-compatible game controller now that Apple is officially supporting them in iOS 7.
What do you think?