Nintendo taps smartphone apps for console boost


Nintendo Co. is trying to modify its game consoles so customers can use smartphone applications on them as it searches for a way to return to profitability, company sources said.

The game console and software maker has offered professional-use conversion software to application developers so they can produce smartphone games that can be played on Wii U, a struggling home video game console that helped widen the firm’s operating loss in fiscal 2012.

Nintendo hopes smartphone software will help spur console sales, which will in turn lead to an increase in popular game titles for them, the sources said.

A lack of popular games to play on Nintendo consoles was one of the main reasons behind the company’s worse-than-expected console sales and group operating loss of ¥36.4 billion reported for the year ended in March. It was Nintendo’s second consecutive annual operating loss.

Nintendo will also focus on developing new software on its own, the sources said.

The company is slated to release a new title in the popular Pocket Monster series in October for the 3DS portable device, which is capable of showing 3-D images, while Nintendo President Satoru Iwata said it will roll out some new titles for the Wii U, which is equipped with a touch screen, from summer through next year.

  • ” it searches for a way to return to profitability”

    nintendo has been profitable for 2 quarters

    • Joey Davidson

      Yeah. They do need to start hitting estimates, though.

    • “Operating loss”

    • yes1

      That is true, but that is due to currency exchange. The actual gaming/hardware sales have had a loss recently.

  • Flash34

    Licensing out their games to iOS, even Android, will definitely get them back on track. I doubt this will happen, at least any time soon, but one can only dream. Can you imagine Super Mario, Zelda, and some Nina Gaiden on your smartphone?

    • Blake Loring

      Why imagine? Emulate.

    • mf

      The best idea would be for them to move from hardware to a software only company.

      Not sure what their profit is on consoles, but I would imagine being able to sell their legendary games cross platform (Xbox, PS, etc…) would reap more profits than their current model.

      Sega did it and now it’s Nintendo’s time.

      • Casper Steuperaert

        No, no and no. Nintendo’s games and ideas only work on their consoles. Do you see Xbox One and Sony using a tablet based controller? Nintendo is still a video gaming giant, they need not to step out of the hardware market

      • mf

        And how’s that tablet based controller selling?

        Hopefully by Christmas it’ll be $100 or $150 cheaper (the console package) than it was a few months ago – the price is already down $50 from launch, then maybe it’ll sell.

        Xbox does have SmartGlass and I’m sure if its successful Sony will have a follow up too.

      • Casper Steuperaert

        It already sells decently. Xbox’s Smartglass is a gimmick, not a selling point. Xbox’s screwup even upped sales of the Wii U. The Wii U’s gamepad is somthing only Nintendo does, they couldn’t even sell the software based around it to Sony and Microsoft because they don’t have the capabilities nor the willingness to use it. Nintendo still has a very strong selling 3DS if the Wii U sales drop again. They’ll survive

    • haruhiko

      This is the only way that I will be giving Nintendo my money.

  • If I were Nintendo I’d go for broke and build a streaming network. It would disrupt the market and give them a guaranteed revenue stream. There would also be more time to develop Triple A titles that are currently missing.

  • darwiniandude

    Ok, so the consoles aren’t selling well, so they want to put average smartphone games on them? How about putting awesome Nintendo franchises like Mario on the smartphones/tablets that are selling so well? Come on Nintendo, get your act together before you fade into irrelevance like Sony did with Walkman/Discman/Mini Disc to iPod

  • Piablo

    The obvious problem here is that Nintendo thinks I am willing to pay $200 in order to play a $5 (at best) game. The word of the decade is “ecosystem”. Nintendo doesn’t have it, so they need to play in someone else’s.
    I will not be buying a nintendo console of any kind. I would however purchase many nintendo classics to play on my iPhone.

  • Adam Chaney

    That is backwards. They need to put mario on the iPad.

  • 思德

    They are being so stupid and have it absolutely backwards. People who are honest would KILL to have the Nintendo library available on, say, their iPhone, iPad, Galaxy, what have you. They are actually crippling themselves by clinging to hardware. So many millions more would have access to the company if they went for mobile apps instead of the other way around. The king of mobile gaming for decades, has now relegated himself to a locked cell- that is, his lackluster hardware. They need to admit their lack of good hardware has lost them the battle, but they can do quite well by adapting.