Round Table: Nintendo’s Move Into Mobile

The staff offer their thoughts on Nintendo’s partnership with DeNA.

By Nintendojo Staff. Posted 03/19/2015 15:00 Comment on this     ShareThis

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Earlier this week, after years of reluctance to enter the mobile space, Nintendo made the surprise announcement that it would be partnering with mobile gaming giant DeNA to develop games for mobile devices. We asked you what you thought of the announcement; now it’s time for the staff to weigh in on Nintendo’s unlikely foray into mobile gaming. What do they think of Nintendo’s partnership with DeNA? And what do they predict we’ll see from the company’s next dedicated gaming platform, codenamed NX? Read on to find out!

Shawn Wilkins

Knowing DeNA, being the giant it is, I can only imagine good things can come from this partnership. Nintendo teamed up with third party companies in the past and when the relationship fizzled, it led to the majority of DS and Wii games no longer being able to access online play. It was a cool idea, worked well when it worked, but it has me antsy. Nintendo teaming up with one of Japan’s biggest mobile game distributors seems like something that can only breed success if they want to get into the mobile gaming market, but there’s still a lot to be desired.

However, I’m pretty interested in the creation of the games themselves. Nintendo has the final say in what will be published, but they’ve also gotten their hands in a pot filled with food they’ve never tasted before. Bad metaphor? Maybe. They’ve never done mobile games at this level and going forward they have to figure out to transport that fun seen on handhelds and consoles to a phone. Either way, Nintendo has always put fun first, so I imagine I’ll more than enjoy whatever they bring forth.

Jon Stevens

It’s probably an odd thing to say, but I’m actually more excited in DeNA’s role in developing an overarching “service” for Nintendo. The fact that Nintendo is looking to build some sort of membership programme which will exist across all platforms is interesting, to say the least. Their online offerings so far have traditionally been behind other publishers, but it looks like they are really planning something truly innovative now.

In any event, Iwata’s reluctance to enter the smartphone space up to now makes me think that Nintendo isn’t going to simply cash in on their greatest franchises through this. As long as we don’t start seeing Mario and Pikachu endless runners, though, I’ll be happy!

Robert Marrujo

Is it weird that this whole thing doesn’t totally excite me? As someone who snatches up anything and everything Nintendo, I know I’ll be on board once everything is launched, but I don’t have a lot of enthusiasm for seeing Nintendo go mobile. Mind you, I currently have Camp Pokémon downloaded on my iPod, so it’s not like I’m picketing outside of Nintendo’s corporate offices or anything, but with nothing but specks of information to go off of, I’m dipping my toe very gingerly into this particular pool of water.

The potential is certainly there, though. As Jon points out, Nintendo is looking to create some kind of program that will encompass its various pieces of hardware, and though I’ve been pleased with the unified accounts that we’re currently using, it’s been far from a perfect solution. Sony figured out its account system years ago, it’s about time that Nintendo really got something solid in place– especially if it ends up being unique, somehow.

NX, though! What the heck is it?! That more than anything else has me very, very curious. Part of me thinks it ties into the quality of life initiative, which I’ve also been anxious to set eyes upon. To repeat, though, I’m nervous about this. I love Nintendo, I think some change is overdue, but I also don’t want to see the company completely upend the tea table. Again echoing Jon, no endless runners, please! Unless they’re extra special.

Though I gotta admit, Angry Birds Nintendo has me fantasizing about a Jenga Legend of Zelda Angry Birds set that would have to be purchased the second it’s made. Seriously, Ganon is already a pig half the time– take my money, Nintendo!

Andy Hoover

When it comes to Nintendo’s plans to create a total user experience that spans across every conceivable platform, I’m quite excited. Nintendo has always been a step behind the competition in terms of creating a unified user experience across consoles, handhelds, and every other device that at least would let you log in. Club Nintendo managed to evolve a great deal to make the company competitive, but never stand out. Hopefully this new system they’re planning will not only bring them totally up to speed, but set the standard for the industry going forward.

As for the company’s foray into mobile games, I’m rather indifferent. Don’t get me wrong, I’m confident Nintendo will work with DeNA to maintain the level of quality gamers have come to expect over the last thirty-some years, but I, as a gamer, have never really been all that interested in mobile gaming. While I’ve found a few games on the various app stores that have warranted my attention, the types of games that excel in that environment rarely play to my tastes.

Altogether, this news is almost universally positive. My personal tastes aside, Nintendo entering the mobile space is undoubtedly going to result in plenty of interesting games that meld their franchises with mechanics and ideas that work best with tablets and smartphones. The fact that this will, hypothetically, be integrated into a vastly improved account system is just the icing on the cake.

Us long time Nintendo fans can be a stubborn bunch, but we need to accept the fact that Nintendo needs to evolve and change over time, and these announcements suggest to me they are embracing change without sacrificing the values that resulted in their impassioned fanbase.

Angela Marrujo

I ultimately have mixed feelings about Nintendo’s foray into mobile. While I think it’s smart of Nintendo to consider the opportunities in mobile gaming, I also think that if Nintendo is still having issues with making sure Wii U is stable with strong third-party support and a solid online network, maybe they need to be focusing on what will keep their home console an attractive option for current and prospective owners, rather than grappling with yet another venture.

I’m rather curious to know what the new membership service will be, especially regarding a rewards program (I want to keep getting cool free stuff!). NX is also intriguing; if I had to wager a guess based solely on the image shown by Nintendo at the press conference, it appears as though NX isn’t meant to replace Wii U and 3DS, but rather to work alongside them (and of course, mobile and PC). But is it a physical system? Merely a platform or network that will work with the consoles and mobile?

I’m not a big mobile gaming fan. Perhaps it’s akin to the PC Gaming Master Race mindset, but aside from the few mobile games I enjoy, I don’t feel mobile gaming holds a candle to the console gaming experience. I think Nintendo at the helm of a mobile game can only mean a quality experience, but it honestly isn’t where I want to see Nintendo going.

Craig Harnett

I don’t think that Nintendo’s move into mobile gaming was particularly shocking. It has been speculated for some time now and it’s clear that a lot of people out there feel that this is a step in the right direction, as is evident from Nintendo’s 25 percent rise in stock price since the announcement. There are some great mobile games out there but let’s be honest, there are a lot of truly terrible ones and I was initially concerned that, just as Jon had mentioned, Nintendo may just put some of their biggest IP’s either into some mediocre runner or a straight port that just simply does not work.

My concerns are dwindling slightly since Nintendo have made it apparent that they will not do simple ports but look to build specific titles in partnership with DeNA for mobiles and tablets. Given Nintendo’s experience with handheld titles and DeNA’s wealth of experience in mobile this does actually make for an exciting prospect and therefore should be foolproof (I hope I didn’t just jinx this!). One thing I am sure of, though, is that if there is one company that can entice the typical console-only gamer like myself into playing and enjoying mobile games, it would be Nintendo.

Maurice Tyler

My prediction is that the NX is some type of network-based platform. “X” is the universal symbol for transmit. With streaming technology becoming all the rage and current-gen consoles having firmware upgrade capability, there is no reason why the Nx (note the lowercase “x”) platform capability cannot be added to both the Wii U and 3DS systems.

Anthony Pelone

I agree with Jon. It’s great to see Nintendo realize they can’t hop into this new venture alone, and while I’m not too familiar with DeNA, their relative experience in the field should help get Nintendo on the right track. I’m also quite excited for the universal account system (about time!).

I’m certain Nintendo’s quality standard will ensure we won’t see any DK Runners or Wario Fart Apps, but I’m interested in seeing what familiar properties will be introduced to mobile. Mario and Pokémon are guarantees, yet I wonder if they’ll consider neglected IPs such as Metroid and F-Zero? WarioWare would be a perfect fit as well.

What do you think about Nintendo’s venture into mobile gaming? And what do you expect (or hope) to see from the new membership service it is building with DeNA? Share your thoughts and theories with us in the comments!

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