Nintendo: the Era of Portable Game Consoles Is Not Over

Nintendo to Continue Development of Portable Consoles As Long As They Provide Superior Experience

by Anton Shilov
08/21/2012 | 09:22 PM

It is not a secret that the market of portable video game consoles are facing tough competition from smartphones and media tablets these days. Sales of Nintendo 3DS and Sony PlayStation Vita are not as strong as those of their predecessors, but Nintendo claims that the epoch of portable gaming devices is not over. The company will continue to make mobile consoles as long as they provide superior gaming experience.


"I think that if we are able to provide experiences on handheld devices that consumers cannot get on another device, then we will continue creating software and hardware going forward, and if it comes to a point when we're not able to do that, I think, yeah, you will see portable handheld gaming devices go the way of the Dodo, I guess," said Satoru Iwata, the president of Nintendo, in an interview with Kotaku web-site.

The head of Nintendo admits: smartphones and media tablets are evolving very quickly these days. Nonetheless, there are technologies not available on them, but which are present on devices  like Nintendo 3DS. Therefore, for Nintendo it is important to both develop exclusive hardware and exclusive software, which guarantees unique experience not available on other gadgets. Back in the days of Game Boy Advance the company already had to fight cellphones that gained ability to play games. Hence, the mobile phone is clearly not a new competitor for Nintendo.

"It is just like in the day of the GBA our challenge was to provide experiences you could not have on a cellphone at that time. In the same way, we have to look at the Nintendo 3DS and other platforms in our future as being able to do the same thing in terms of what smartphones can provide as well," said Mr. Iwata.

It looks like not everything is bad about Nintendo 3DS. So far, Nintendo has sold 19 million 3DS units worldwide. What should be noted is that this required the company to cut 3DS pricing by around 30%, which negatively impacted financial results of the most successful supplier of handheld game consoles.

"I am not saying there aren't people out there who are not going to purchase a dedicated handheld device based on the availability and the fun factor in their smartphones. [...] I do want to say that there are still people buying our devices and that is also factual. I do not think there's not a bright future for handheld devices but I understand that the competition, again with the rise of smart devices is different, and I do recognize that. [...] One way we can ensure that there's a market for handheld gaming devices is by continuing to bring out entertaining and engaging software that will provide users experiences that they cannot get on these other devices," stressed the head of Nintendo.