Should Nintendo go mobile?

After all, investors are always right. Oh wait…

Well, it’s here. The 3DS price drop is now upon us (where is the full Ambassador’s list, Nintendo!). But, as we all know all too well, a major price drop always comes with major criticisms, and now, many analysts and investors are calling Nintendo to stop making hardware and go third-party software and mobile. Is that really the future for Nintendo?

It’s obvious. The answer is “no.”

But why all the criticism? Everyone knows why: Wii sales are slumping, the DS is coming to a slow end, and the 3DS is just not selling all that well. But that doesn’t mean Nintendo is dying. After all, they were the hardware champions of the seventh-generation of consoles, in both the handheld and home console markets. It would be so absurd for Nintendo to go third-party, and even more absurd for Nintendo to develop for the mobile market at all. We all know that Nintendo is going to continue making hardware and software for their own consoles only, even if they do end up being last in the next console generation. But though Nintendo going third-party wouldn’t be all that bad (it would be devastating, sure, but it won’t be the end of the world for me), Nintendo going mobile would be a complete nightmare.

We all know it. Almost all iPhone games suck. Even if most of them are for under ten bucks, an overwhelming majority of them are only fun for about twenty minutes. The only genre on the iPhone with games anywhere close to even being decent is the RPG genre (most notably the Zenonia series) because they actually benefit from the touch-screen. Though some cool games like Angry Birds and Doodle Jump also work well, I can’t seem to get into them for more than half an hour.

Nintendo going mobile would obviously suck. Name a good iPhone platformer that actually has decent controls. None. Name an in-depth racing game on the iPhone that has decent controls. None. Heck, name any good game that will have you glued to your seat for an hour. Zenonia. That’s practically it. If Nintendo went mobile, Mario would be dead, and so would Kirby, and even Donkey Kong, with all three franchises relying heavily on the platforming and racing genre.

My point is not just about Nintendo. It’s about portable gaming in general. Nintendo and Sony are not going to stop making handheld gaming devices. People are still going to buy them. I think analysts who say that the 3DS is not selling well because everyone is going iOS and Android are kind of jumping the gun. We all know the real reason: mediocre games and a high price tag. Apple is no more of a threat to Nintendo than Sony is. The 3DS is going to sell a lot, and so will the PSVita. Perhaps they won’t sell as high as the DS did, but there is still a wide audience that enjoys “real” portable gaming. I would like to do something other than fling birds on my 10-hour flight to the other side of the world. I would like to do something with my friends other than “bump” pictures. Handheld gaming is not going to die, and I don’t expect it to die any time soon.


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