Nintendo Mobile Games: 6 To Start With - InformationWeek

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3/18/2015
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Nintendo Mobile Games: 6 To Start With

Nintendo is jumping into the mobile gaming business. Here are six games we'd like to see available for smartphones and tablets right away.
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(Image: WeKnowMemes )

(Image: WeKnowMemes )

Nintendo has (finally) announced that it is getting into mobile gaming. The company is partnering with DeNA, a mobile gaming veteran, to create a line of tablet and smartphone games and a mobile gaming platform. The most exciting part of this deal is that all of Nintendo's giant lineup of characters from its IP catalog is available.

If you're interested in the business side of things, check out my article Nintendo Mobile Gamble Might Kill 3DS, Save the Company. Here, we're celebrating the sheer joy of Nintendo games being made available without having to lay down cash for a separate gaming console.

Let's face it, the Wii U was a total disaster. That giant, clunky, expensive, tablet-style controller was the wrong idea at the wrong time. And the U is just not worth buying for a handful of games, no matter how great they are. The 3DS family is better, but a whole separate device is still an expensive option for the right to play Nintendo games.

Now, with a phone you already own, you'll soon get to enjoy the games you missed. So, where should Nintendo start?

According to the deal, all of Nintendo's game characters are on the table for potential mobile game development. Which ones will best translate to mobile play? Which could take advantage of the unique properties of mobile gaming? The lack of a joystick/wiimote on your smartphone or tablet does make certain games less appealing.

On the following pages, you'll see my suggestions the games Nintendo should pick for its first round of mobile releases. After you've reviewed the ideas, tell us which are your favorites, and alert us to any others you'd like to see, in the comments section below.

David has been writing on business and technology for over 10 years and was most recently Managing Editor at Enterpriseefficiency.com. Before that he was an Assistant Editor at MIT Sloan Management Review, where he covered a wide range of business topics including IT, ... View Full Bio

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Thomas Claburn
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Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Author
3/18/2015 | 6:17:20 PM
Nintendo's prospects...
...I suspect Nintendo will follow the path of Atari. Companies that made their fortune with combined hardware/software platforms don't tend to fare well when the hardware element is removed. Surviving by producting great software (content) release after release is hard.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
3/18/2015 | 6:28:11 PM
Re: Nintendo's prospects...
@Thomas- I don't know Sega seems to be doing fine after they gave up the hardware battle. Admittedly, software is more boom or bust. If you look over the last couple of years of Sega's earnings they have quarters that have dropped by half or gone up as much as 400%. It is sort of like being a movie studio in that way.

But no but looks at Electronic Arts or Bioware or even King and says they can't be a viable gaming company because they don't have a console.
Thomas Claburn
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Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Author
3/18/2015 | 6:37:24 PM
Re: Nintendo's prospects...
I'm not saying Nintendo can't be viable. It's sure to be able to coast on the value of its IP for years. But software-driven gaming studios face the same problem as movie studios: you're only as good as your last hit. Over time, hit-driven businesses have trouble, because it's hard to be consistently creative. Pixar is among the best creators of consistently good content I can think of; Blizzard is probably the analog on the gaming side. But I wouldn't invest in a company like that; it's too random. Electronic Arts has had its near-death moments. Zynga and Rovio show that it's hard to maintain a hit-driven business. Ninentdo may thrive for a time. But I wouldn't bet my 401K on Mario & company.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
3/18/2015 | 6:47:30 PM
Re: Nintendo's prospects...
@Tom- Well, I think the difference is the long tradition of Nintendo. People often forget it was founded in 1889, long before even the japanese played video games. Nintendo has adapted with the changing times repeatedly. Sure, they might become a little more boom and bust. Seems like a bronco worth riding if you want to make some money in the market.

That said, I'm not sure it is Nintendo's choice anymore. I just don't see the dedicated gaming console lasting that many more years. Mobile gaming, smart TVs, and even good old fashioned PCs are too much competition. The console is a tax on the right to play a game. It is exactly why I don't own Mario Kart 8. Because to play it, I'd have to shell out $360, not $60. 

Nintendo is no longer good enough to charge that tax. And soon neither Microsoft nor Sony will be either.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
3/19/2015 | 1:05:22 PM
Re: Stockpile
@whoopty- The game cube was very cute. I liked the little strap they designed so kids could take it to another house for sleepovers.

As for the cash, that will last them a few years, you are right. But that doesn't stop the pressure ont he leadership or the negative press. Nintendo has to change the story, too. It looks like it did that nicely.
DDURBIN1
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DDURBIN1,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/22/2015 | 7:46:41 AM
Mobile gaming at what cost?
Its good they are partnering with a mobile developer but I still wonder how they're going to screw this up. They have kept their heads in the sand for so long. I'm guessing these games will be offered at full game console prices sadly something the other major players will also do I.e. EA and Activision, if they get into the mobile gaming.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
3/23/2015 | 5:57:57 PM
Re: Mobile gaming at what cost?
@DDRURBIN1- I suspect they will screw up in two ways. First, they'll probably start with lousy clones. Then the next thing they'll do is try "all new games" before realziing that what they really should do is adapat existing games to the form factor. They have great games. They don't need to get fancy. Just find a way to make them work in a new way and they'll be fine.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
3/23/2015 | 6:00:01 PM
Re: Stockpile
@batye- I suspect that from a pure tech point of view, a phone is more powerful than a GameCube. But the issue is controls, right? Some games work better than others. i wouldn't just purely clone a game. i would take a game and re-imagine the game fo rthe form factor. But i would use the same characters and same general premise.
DDURBIN1
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DDURBIN1,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/31/2015 | 12:42:04 PM
Re: Mobile gaming at what cost?
@Wagner, Your on the money.  This is what EA and Activision are currently in the mist of, resisting putting their grade A games on mobile.  It seems to me the "in game purchases" will be the route all three will take but personally I hate this type of back door charging.  I'd rather deal with the ads but this too gets abused by developers to force a purchase.
DDURBIN1
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DDURBIN1,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/31/2015 | 12:47:30 PM
Re: Nintendo's prospects...

@rchiiibob, You have to wait for the Note5 with a 64-bit chip and 16 cores.  You'll be able to emulate anything on this puppy whenever it gets here.

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