Nintendo discusses why their games aren’t on smartphones

By Alexander Perepechko – 5th March 2014
Nintendo discusses why their games aren’t on smartphones

Nintendo’s recent financial difficulties has prompted many critics and analysts to discuss whether or not the company should release their games on mobile devices. After all, how hard could it be to put a Mario game on a smartphone? What would the company have to lose?

In a recent interview with GameSpot, long-time Nintendo producer Kensuke Tanabe spoke up about these recent discussions, and has offered his own views and feelings on why it would be a bad idea for Nintendo to release games such as Mario and Donkey Kong on smart devices. Kensuke believes that the control-scheme of mobile devices simply wouldn’t work well for many Nintendo games:

“With games like Mario and Donkey Kong, the control input is such an important part of that; I think if you’re trying to replicate that feeling of control that you have traditional to those games, translating those to a smart device, that’s a just a really, really difficult task […] Of course I’m not ignoring the fact that the marketplace is flooded with these devices and that there are a lot of games created specifically for them. Personally, as I mentioned earlier, I don’t have a curiosity of or feeling of needing to create or wanting to create games for those devices. I want Nintendo games to be played on Nintendo hardware.”

Retro Studios CEO Michael Kelbagh also chimed in on this discussion. To him, thinking about which platforms to develop for is secondary to the ultimate goal of creating great games. He stated that he doesn’t give concern himself with the debate on whether or not the company should make games for iOS and Android devices. In the end, the business decisions are left to Nintendo, and Kelbagh’s job is to create compelling, fun games.

“We make games, and more importantly, we make Nintendo games. That’s where our emphasis is and that’s what we want to do. Hardware to us is kind of secondary,” Kelbaugh stated to GameSpot.”We put everything we have into making great games and we’ll make those on whatever hardware Nintendo supports.”

Kelbaugh went on to state that, “What we’re focused on is just making a great game. Wherever it ends up, that’s not our decision, so I think we need to concentrate on making great content and let Nintendo decide what box they want to put it in, how they want to package it […] Watching this whole debate going on right now…I don’t give it a whole lot of thought just because I’m concentrating on making a fun, great game and hardware’s always kind of a revolving target I guess.”

So there you have it, the reasons why Nintendo refuses to bring games such as Mario to smartphones and other, non-Nintendo devices. Whether this is a smart decision by Nintendo remains to be seen. It seems certain though, that the company will continue to to focus on releasing games on their own hardware and in trying to create the most compelling and interesting games that they possibly can.