Japanese video game maker Nintendo has announced it will start making smartphone and tablet games, having resisted the venture into mobile gaming for years. The video game giant will collaborate with local developer DeNA to create new titles for mobile devices, revealing that existing games made for other Nintendo consoles will not be transferred. Nintendo’s move means that for the first time gamers can enjoy playing popular characters like Super Mario, Zelda and Pokemon on their mobile handsets. But why has Nintendo finally given in to the tide of mobile gaming? Dean Takahashi, gaming reporter for technology news website VentureBeat, explains to Metro.
What does this announcement mean to the gaming world?
Nintendo is a late entry to smartphones and tablets. In fact, it's the last major entrant. It is an acknowledgement that mobile games will be the biggest and most important segment of the market. It also means the competition will go up a notch, as Nintendo's brands will put pressure on the mobile-first brands in mobile games.
Is Nintendo trying to expand because they want to take a piece of this profitable pie?
Nintendo's dedicated hardware isn't selling like it used to, with even the 3DS falling short of the total DS adoption. They have to move into mobile to try to hang on to their traditional market share in game software. On top of that, they see that mobile, at $30.3 billion in revenue in 2015 (according to games research firm Newzoo), will be bigger than the console game business. And they need a piece of that revenue to continue growing as a game company. To do that, they need the market knowledge of DeNA.
So, will we see gaming companies moving more and more into apps rather than consoles?
Sony already tried to its own dedicated mobile devices with the PlayStation Mobile. That means that Nintendo and DeNA have to design the right piece of hardware for the market or they will fail. We can expect to see the world's biggest brands in gaming and everything else dive into mobile games. They will flood the market, and only the best quality will survive.
Smartphone games offer a different game experience to consoles. Why have mobile games been such a hit?
They are accessible with intuitive touchscreen user interfaces. They are always with us and keep us from getting bored. It's a much easier way to play games. Many people would never pick up a game controller, but everyone on the planet will have a mobile phone.
Can we expect that one day apps will be in the majority amongst all types of games?
That is expected to happen this year, according to market researcher Newzoo. So it's closer than you think.