The effects of mobile gaming on more traditional gaming have been well known for years, but Nintendo has fought this trend with all they have. Unfortunately, this has not worked out, with the Wii U being a sales disaster. The sales have been so bad that Nintendo has updated their annual financial forecast from $950 million in profit to $335 million in loss.
Even with these challenges facing the company there have been some successes. For example, the top console of 2013 was the Nintendo 3DS family. Nintendo has decided to accept their new position in the gaming community and embrace mobile gaming.
Satoru Iwata, international president of Nintendo said,
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.
If we think 20 years down the line may look back at the decision not to supply Nintendo games to smartphones and think that is the reason why the company is still here.
Obviously Nintendo is not the first to mobile-enable their franchises. The Xbox brand is available on the Xbox 360 and Xbox One consoles, Windows 8 computers and Windows Phone devices. The PlayStation brand is available on the PlayStation 3 and 4 consoles and select Android phones. Obviously, major publishers have also published major franchise games themselves directly to mobile platforms.
So, what would a Nintendo mobile expansion look like? We don't exactly know. Iwata said,
We must take a skeptical approach whether we can still simply make game players, offer them in the same way as in the past for 20,000 yen or 30,000 yen, and sell titles for a couple of thousand yen each.
It seems that they are even considering even abandoning first party hardware in favor of a mobile gaming platform for existing mobile devices. Would they start with just a simple port of existing titles or would they have a whole new suite of titles just for the new platform? Only time will tell, but one thing is for certain: it can't go any worse than the Wii U.