∞ Nintendo CEO attacks Apple, Google smartphone games

Nintendo is one of the most recognizable gaming companies in the world, but as the smartphone industry matures, pressure on the traditional companies has increased dramatically.

[ad#Google Adsense 300×250 in story]There is no better proof of that pressure than comments from Nintendo’s CEO, Satoru Iwata, last night. He criticized smartphone companies like Apple and Google for going after quantity instead of quality.

Iwata said he considers Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft to be the only ones making high-value gaming products, according to VentureBeat.

It’s hard to imagine that Iwata hasn’t seen some of the game offerings on the iPhone or iPad, but judging from his comments, I have to wonder. For a mobile platform, the iPhone and iPad host some pretty incredible games.

Companies like EA and Firemint (and many others) make some incredible looking games that are fun to play. More fun than anything I’ve seen on anything from Nintendo in a long time.



  • currymac

    The man obviously needs to get a life… or at least a new occupation. (grin)

  • He obviously feels threatened.

  • Anonymous

    I bet the dinosaurs whined about those furry little mammals eating their lunch, too.

  • I hope he doesn’t change his attitude towards games on iOS until 02/2012.

    Because then his successor will be presenting a few classic Nintendo games during the unveiling of the iPad 3 in 03/2012. Maybe even an officially supported controller case for the iPhone and iPod Touch.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t see much of a future for dedicated hand held gaming devices like those from Nintendo and Sony. As an anecdotal form of evidence, once my daughter (7) had her own iPod touch, she never went back to her Nintendo DS. She’s found many games and many of them were free. Those she’s paid for have been very inexpensive. It’s hard to justify paying $40 for a DS game that is essential the same as an iOS game that sells for $2.

  • Anonymous

    Did he ever hear of a little company called iD? Or Unreal? Or EA?

    The Apple (and Android) model of constantly upgrading the hardware, the OS, opening up the SDK to all comers and paying the developers 70% is going to bury Ninentendo mobile gaming.

    And someone ought to mention to him that the AppleTV is just two or three baby steps from becoming a full iOS-capable device. The much rumored double-resolution iPad would have apps that look fabulous on HDTVs. Add Airplay and an AppleTV and buh by console market as well.

  • “Iwata said he considers Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft to be the only ones making high-value gaming products,”

    It sounds like he might be comparing consoles to mobile devices.

  • Games via AppStore has destroyed the “value” for paying $30-50 for a game on a handheld device. For the casual gamer (the fastest growing segment), it does matter if you get a game for free (or $2) that lets you kill some time vs. the shrinking group of kids willing to pay $50 for the latest Pokemon.

    I do worry, however, about the value of how many people it takes to create that DS cartridge for $40 vs an iOS game for $2. How many people are creating essentially free content in the hopes that some small % of people will donate or pay for the upgrade? Yes, it is a democratization of the platform but it also drives value down.

    • For the casual gamer it might matter, but we’re beginning to see a slow migration of serious gamers to iOS. The games are getting better and better, just look at N.O.V.A.2, Galaxy on Fire 2, Real Racing 2, Infinity Blade, Hero of Sparta 2, LEGO Harry Potter and the Need for Speed franchise.

      With these games you can also observe willingness to pay higher prices for higher value games.

      I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that iOS and gaming on non-dedicated today’s and tomorrow’s mobile devices will break Nintendo’s neck in mobile gaming. Sony might’ve turned the corner at the very last moment.

      Nintendo’s and until now Sony’s model is too slow, too expensive, too expensive, and too draconian — there, I said it — for today’s developers and game publishers.

      iOS’s inherent characteristics; disintermediation, shorter time to market, lower cost of entry, lower risk of failure, customer interaction, upgradeability, all work in the developer’s favour, whether he’s a single-man-show, or a massive game publisher.

  • When you can’t compete, trash-talk. Good luck with that strategy, Mr. Iwata.

    • It’s especially telling because he’s Japanese, they don’t resort to smack talk fast 🙂

  • Anonymous

    There are two types of companies:

    1. Those that catch the wave of progress.
    2. And those that get washed out on the backside of the wave.

    Iwata is up to his neck in, well, wata, and he didn’t catch the wave. No one will know his name or occupation within 3 years.

  • Roy

    I agree with iwata on this one, even though I liked angry birds for an hour or two and plants versus zombies was ok. They are not nearly as deep as a game like the world ends with you or zelda phantom hourglass. I think he is right in saying that the thousands of cheap crap posted on the appstores kind of distracts the attention from the good games. I really hate it to search in appstores for slightly fun games that will last me an hour while on DS i can buy one good game and play it for weeks. I rather pay more for a deep experience than pay less for crap.

    • Have you played games like Galaxy on Fire 1&2? Or Hero of Sparta?

      Games on iOS can be as captivating as games on Nintendo’s and Sony’s platforms and the production values aren’t lower.

      It seems that you simply didn’t find games that really spoke to you. But to be honest; I’d pay good money to get Super Mario World, Mario Cart or Zelda on my iPhone. These games sure are great.

      • Peter Cohen

        It’s worth pointing out that Galaxy on Fire, Hero of Sparta and some of the other examples in this thread aren’t exclusive to iPhone – in fact, they’ve been widely distributed across multiple mobile platforms, which dilutes their emphasis on iOS specifically.

        So far, there have been very few “killer” iOS games that are exclusive to the platform, unlike Nintendo’s Mario, Metroid, etc., and the reason for this is obvious: Apple isn’t in the business of creating its own killer games. I wish it would.

        • You’re right, both games and a few others have been distributed as Java games before, but they’ve had their greatest success on iOS devices by far.

          I agree that we have yet to see a killer platformer like the Mario franchise on iOS, but I’m not necessarily sure the customers need one. iOS as a gaming platform would benefit greatly from a title as great and successful as Zelda, but the diversity of games available on iOS is unmatched.