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Nintendo claims the iPhone killed the handheld game console

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Nintendo claims the iPhone killed the handheld game console
Ok, so the handheld gaming console isn’t dead just yet. But with Nintendo reporting their first-ever yearly loss to the tune of half a billion dollars amid struggling 3DS sales, it’s clear that Nintendo feels the specialized handheld gaming market may be on life support. And they weren’t coy about fingering Apple’s iPhone as the main culprit – during their quarterly financial report they released a slew of charts to document the rise of hand-held gaming on Apple’s devices, and how it correlates with the declining sales of Nintendo’s portable consoles.

We imagine that Android users are wondering why they don’t get some share of the blame – and of course people who purchase games for Android devices probably only add to the problem. But game sales were long ahead on Apple’s mobile platform, where the ease of developing for a single hero device makes it easier on game development (the same dynamic plays out with PC and console games – the newest PCs can support better gaming graphics, but it’s much easier to develop games for a console since everyone uses the same piece of hardware). As a result, Nintendo has long focused on Apple as a competitor.

Regardless of which mobile platform you want to assign the most blame to, Nintendo really does seem to be chronicling the disruption of handheld gaming consoles by the more ubiquitous mobile devices. This type of death-by-convergence has already been impacting sales of digital cameras, and there will surely be many more such disruptions to come – as handheld computing gets ever more powerful it will be that much easier to have a general computing device/smartphone you take with you rather than several specialized devices.

This doesn’t have to mean the end though; when Sega lost in the gaming console market to Sony, they reinvented themselves as a software gaming company. Nintendo has lots of incredibly popular IP, so if they are unable to reinvigorate sales of their portable devices then sooner or later it will make sense to transfer all of that rich game-making experience to the mobile devices market, even if they don't want to admit it right now.

And who doesn’t want to see Super Mario Brothers be available on their phone?

Nintendo claims the iPhone killed the handheld game console


source: Nintendo via The Verge

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