Nintendo Is Trying To Attract Smartphone Game Developers To Build For WiiU

7 May 2013

The Japan Times:

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.

The WiiU has sold, approximately, 4 million units to date.

From the perspective of a smartphone game studio, there is very little incentive to spend the energy converting your game into a WiiU title, when your current market (iOS and, to a lesser extent, Android) dwarfs the number of WiiU customers by about factor 2001.

From the perspective of a hypothetical buyer in the market for a games console, there is very little incentive to buy a WiiU based on the fact it has smartphone titles. Demonstrated perfectly by Blackberry, ports never work that well to begin with. They just won’t stand up against the rivalling game selection of Xbox and PlayStation. Moreover, there is a high chance that the prospective customer already owns the game on her phone.

Finally, as you have may have already inferred, from my perspective this sounds like a stupid plan for recovery. I think Nintendo have to admit that they have already ceded the console market. Rather than pleading smartphone developers to convert their apps to WiiU, I believe Nintendo should do the reverse with their own titles.

Please Nintendo, bring your intellectual property (Mario, Pokémon, Zelda) to iOS and exploit the pent-up demand2 for these brands on mobile.

1 Okay, that was a slight exaggeration.

2 This opportunity won’t exist forever. A lot of kids today are growing up addicted to Angry Birds, rather than Mario.