UPDATE: Nintendo has stepped up to clarify Nikkei’s report with a statement given to Engadget:
Nikkei’s article contains information previously stated by Mr Iwata during past press conferences, including statements which relate to Nintendo’s willingness to make use of smart devices to promote our products. However during such past announcements Mr Iwata has also stated that Nintendo’s intention is not to make Nintendo software available on smart devices and as such, we can confirm that there are no plans to offer minigames on smartphone devices.
Note that the statement doesn’t outright deny the company’s alleged plans to deliver some sort of mobile app. It simply says that there’s no plan to bring minigames to smartphones.
ORIGINAL POST: Nintendo boss Satoru Iwata’s recent comments about how his company is looking to “smart devices….to grow the game-player business” left many wondering if the Japanese console maker was about to embark on a huge push to launch current and future games for iOS and Android devices.
Iwata explained his increasing interest in mobile platforms at a press conference earlier this month when the company slashed its annual operating income forecast for the fiscal year ending March 31 from 100 billion yen profit ($790m) to a 35 billion yen ($340m) loss following weak Wii U demand.
However, according to a report by Japanese business publication Nikkei, it appears Iwata is more interested in using smartphones and tablets to market Nintendo hardware and games instead of offering its titles on such devices.
Nikkei’s report says the Kyoto-based company is planning to launch a free app showcasing new titles, with content including videos, mini games, and character profiles. The full versions of the mini games will reportedly only be available on Nintendo’s handheld and console offerings, with the company hoping users of the app will be impressed enough to check out – and ultimately buy – its hardware products for a more complete gaming experience.
The plan is clear, but with smartphone users happily whiling away the hours with an endless supply of free and cheap mobile games, it’s impossible to imagine any of them suddenly spending out on a Wii U or 3DS device, plus extra for games. Or even downloading the Nintendo app.
With advancements in smartphone and tablet technology allowing developers to create increasingly complex and addictive games, casual gamers no longer see the need to lay down cash for consoles like the Wii U, while hardcore players continue to be drawn to the Xbox and PlayStation consoles.
According to Nikkei, Nintendo is planning to announce details of its new mobile app on Thursday, while its financial figures for the last three months of 2013 are due out Wednesday.