Not too long ago, Nintendo announced their partnership with DeNA to, not only produce a unified account system, but also to bring beloved Nintendo IPs to mobile devices. At the time, Nintendo also announced the NX, Nintendo’s next dedicated video game system, to make sure people understood that Nintendo were not going to focus primarily on mobile platforms.
However, with companies like SEGA and Konami now driving more focus towards mobile platforms, and with the sluggish sales of the Wii U, is it time for Ninty to hand in the towel for console gaming and go mobile?
Check out reasons why we think Nintendo should and should not go mobile only/focused after the break!
Please Note – The term ‘mobile gaming’ in this article refers to the mobile sub-platform of handhelds referring only to games which are played using a smartphone and/or a tablet.
GO MOBILE – Higher Install Base
There’s no denying that mobile gaming has become increasingly popular over the past several years. According to The NPD Group, since 2012, the amount of mobile gamers have increased by a massive 57%. Though this generally doesn’t affect the console and PC markets (only 20% of those surveyed game exclusively on mobile platforms), we still have to consider that the sales of Nintendo’s latest home console venture, the Wii U, aren’t reaching that high as many of us have hoped. This means that when a Wii U exclusive game has been released, not as many people would have instant access to it, and many people probably wouldn’t buy the console for one specific game. Even if it were a multi-platform game, the majority of gamers would probably opt for other versions.
However, if Nintendo were to exclusively publish games for mobile platforms, then they would become instantly available to millions of users on iPhones, Android Tablets etc. and because of this, there is a higher potential of increased sales for Nintendo. Not only that, but Nintendo then wouldn’t have to use as much funds developing and manufacturing hardware… assuming they go the SEGA route and just develops software.
NO MOBILE – Social Bug
One thing which I find that makes Nintendo so unique is the fact that a lot of their multiplayer titles are very social in a local environment. Sure there are some multiplayer games on other platforms, but these are mainly online only nowadays. A prime example is Super Smash Bros. The game has both local and online multiplayer modes, but it is local play where you can have the most fun. I’m sure I am not alone here, but there is just something so satisfying about seeing your friend’s reaction to you landing a Final Smash on them right in front of you.
However, mobile games kind of remove that experience especially with the stigma that mobile phones seclude its users from each other that is attached. Think about it, if Nintendo were to go mobile only, we would no longer be able to Smash it out to decide who gets the last popsicle, and no more friendly rage when Rainbow Road is the chosen track!
GO MOBILE – It’s cheaper… for the consumer
This is one of those no-brainers from the consumers point of views. One reason which could contribute to the fact that mobile gaming is getting extremely popular is the fact that, not only is there a wide variety of games and other applications to choose from, but they also tend to be cheap. You can easily get a quality title on an iPad for £4.99 when a game like that on a console would go for twice as much. Heck, even Doodle Jump is more than ten times cheaper on a phone than the 3DS. If Nintendo were to release games for mobile platforms, chances are that it would attract more users if the price is right. Why buy a £150 to £200 console as well as £40 to £50 per game when you can purchase a smart phone for £300+ and £0 to £7 per game?
Obviously, Doodle Jump probably isn’t the best comparison, which brings us to the next point…
NO MOBILE – Lowered Potential
Though mobile games may be vastly cheaper, sometimes (or most times) you just don’t get the same quality as you do in a game on a home console. First of all, one thing Nintendo do very well (usually) on consoles is being innovative. Going mobile only would mean that they would no longer bring that innovation to gaming unless they were to make their own mobile phone or tablet. Then there is the actual quality of the game. Games like Xenoblade and Zelda are huge titles with a vast amount of content. We already know that Xenoblade Chronicles X is sized at around 22GB to download which wouldn’t even fit on on most entry models of smartphones and tablets, so if Nintendo were to release a game like that for a mobile device, they would probably have to sacrifice a lot of the quality and content of the game for it to be brought over.
You also have to consider how long people generally play a game for. Most mobile games are meant for shorts bursts of play as well as having a simple concept so you can literally just pick the game up an play. Many Nintendo games that have been released require players to spend a while per game session, and playing a long time on a small mobile device can cause people to become impatient or even get hand cramp depending how the game is controlled. You also have o bear in mind that mobile platforms tend to only be controlled using a touchscreen, which can become uncomfortable when playing a game that would obviously benefit more from a traditional controller.
GO MOBILE – Some games would translate well
Though, in the previous point, I did talk about how most Nintendo games require long bursts of play rather than short, there are still some exceptions. WarioWare is a game which comes to mind. WarioWare would be the perfect fit for a mobile device as it could easily be played on the bus, waiting in the queue for Space Mountain or even on an elevator ride to the 69th floor with the quick-fire mini games it offers players. Nintendo could also use some of their franchises to make clones of other popular mobile titles like Doodle Jump or Sonic Dash, or they could even create their own formulae for a mobile game. A Link Between World’s Cucco Minigame comes to mind.
NO MOBILE – Others not so much
Once again, I go back to how a lot of Nintendo games just wouldn’t translate well to a mobile platform. I touched on it briefly in the previous ‘No Mobile’ point… the controls! Like I said previously, touch screen controls can become very uncomfortable f there are too many or if there are lots of them. Could you imagine trying to play Super Smash Bros. on an iPhone, and you thought the 3DS version was cramped enough. In my opinion, mobile games’ controls are only good if they are nice and simple. Simple taps and swipes and maybe some motion. Anything else could just become uncomfortable, and could potentially hinder a good grip, causing the user to drop their beautiful mobile device!
Personally, I don’t think Nintendo should go mobile only or shift their main focus to mobile anytime soon, and hopefully they won’t be. However, I still welcome the idea of Nintendo utilising mobile gaming to a certain extent, perhaps they could revolutionise the mobile market after all, only time can tell. As I am pretty clueless about technical details of what happens inside a console (but I don’t really care about that as long as the games are of good quality) I didn’t mention anything to do with that, but feel free to talk about it in the comments.
Do you agree with my points? Do you think Nintendo should go mobile only? Tell us in the comments below!