Nintendo claims the iPhone killed the handheld game console

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?



source: Nintendo via The Verge

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36 Comments

1. imkyle

Posts: 1114; Member since: Nov 18, 2010

I could see this. iPhone and iPad put the handheld game consoles to shame over the years.

12. cepcamba

Posts: 717; Member since: Feb 27, 2012

No other mobile device can put the PSP to shame. But yeah, the mobile devices are slowly killing the handheld gaming consoles because games for them are more affordable. But still doesn't put it to shame.

18. ardent1

Posts: 2000; Member since: Apr 16, 2011

Once I got my iPod Touch (my first Apple device), I gave away my PSP 1000, most of my PSP games, all my Gameboy Advance, DS, DSi hardware, and all my Nintendo cartridges. Once you play on retina diaplay, the Nintendo games looked cartoonish. Plus, these games played slow. I kept my Sony PSP 3000 and three of my favorite games: Hotshot Golf 2, Hotshot Tennis and a Tactics Orge game. I am disappointed by the PSP Vita since the game cartridges are $40 or more. When you can buy Infinity Blade for say $6, it's hard to justify a $40 game.

22. cepcamba

Posts: 717; Member since: Feb 27, 2012

Exactly, the price of the games is the thrusting knife that maims the gaming consoles heart. I agree with the retina display being superior but games designed for the PSP are far more advanced than the ones on any Apple device. Here's my hierarchy regarding the consoles involved: PSP>iOS devices>nintendo

28. anywherehome

Posts: 971; Member since: Dec 13, 2011

I think you should consider any another platform to see not everything is about "retina"http://goo.gl/ZuTmL you will discover a new universe in simplicity of using new "gaming" console:)

19. ardent1

Posts: 2000; Member since: Apr 16, 2011

Nintendo did this to themselves -- they forget that they can't control the speed of innovation. As chips such as processors and memory got cheaper, and as displays got cheaper, Nintendo shoud have adopted Apple's strategy of giving the latest and greatest device each year. Instead, Nintendo was focused on beating the Sony PSP. When the iPhone and iPod Touch came out, Nintendo had enough time to introduce better hardware but didn't. The 3D DS hardware was a bust.

21. Jonathan41

Posts: 532; Member since: Mar 22, 2012

Are you speaking in the context of sales or game quality? I ask because, in a qualitative since Nintendo's DS/3DS games hold much more production value and are much more immersive than most games on iOS. A big reason iOS is so successful in this category not because iOS devices are better device to play games on, people play more iOS games then other handheld devises of convenience. iOS devices serve so many other purposes other than gaming that it is more practical and convent to buy cheap and some what simplistic games that imitate console games then to buy an actual game console. High-end iOS games are usual waterdown versions of hardcore gaming concepts. Most people are satisfied with playing games that are kind of close in quality to the games that they would play on a handheld console without having to by a new device. Also iPhones appeal to a much larger audience. Many people who buy iPhone's don't have much intrest in gaming per se but, end up buying games on iOS because there cheap, accessible and simple meaning that iOS "gamers" aren't gamers in the traditional since due to their lack of commitment to the act of gaming. Nintendo customers buy there devices for the main purpose of playing games and for that reason Nintendo has a much smaller customer base then iOS due to their focus on that specific demographic of consumers. Therefore these statistic are not that surprising. These numbers do not have much credence when it comes to the argument that iOS games "put the handheld game consoles to shame over the years" in a qualitative sense but, do show that iOS's simplification of console gaming on a device that is not essentially ment for gaming is causing more consumers (many who would otherwise buy handheld consoles or, not play games at all) to buy games on iOS devices as opposed to device that are ment for gaming.

2. Commentator

Posts: 3722; Member since: Aug 16, 2011

The handheld gaming industry is moving at a much faster rate than Nintendo can keep up with at one device every 4-5 years, due entirely to tremendous advances in technology. If they released a new iteration every year with upgraded specs, it might be a different story.

3. Leon101

Posts: 90; Member since: Feb 27, 2012

yea i agree APPLE APP STORE has a lot of hardcore and better (MUCH BETTER) graphics than the Nintendo ones!!!

4. theday68

Posts: 2; Member since: Mar 20, 2012

Nintendo...the writing has been on the wall for quite some time. the iPhone & Android are not going away. Get over it and make a mobile product that can compete. Or just develop your games to work on iOS, Android, and maybe even Windows Phone. I would happily pay for Super Mario Bros or many other awesome Nintendo games!!!

6. Commentator

Posts: 3722; Member since: Aug 16, 2011

The Nintendo Phone would be pretty interesting.

5. irvinkeith

Posts: 58; Member since: Jan 27, 2010

All I'm asking for is Pokemon for iOS & Android

7. jbash

Posts: 345; Member since: Feb 07, 2011

I second that, $.99 for iOS and free(ads) for Android

33. irvinkeith

Posts: 58; Member since: Jan 27, 2010

Go Eagles

8. forkpuppy

Posts: 3; Member since: Mar 23, 2012

Heck yeah i that would be great!!!!

9. forkpuppy

Posts: 3; Member since: Mar 23, 2012

(it would be great)

13. cepcamba

Posts: 717; Member since: Feb 27, 2012

YES!!!! Pokemon for Android! I'd love that. :p

35. Jonathan41

Posts: 532; Member since: Mar 22, 2012

You know you can still get an emulator of the Slide Marketplace and download and Gameboy, Gameboy Color, Sega Genesis, NES, SNES, Nintendo 64, Sega Game Gear or Atari game that you own and play it on you phone. You can also get FPse for Playstation One games.

10. ngo2dd

Posts: 896; Member since: Jul 08, 2011

Of course a phone is going to sell more a handle held system. That chart is dumb

11. Jyakotu

Posts: 867; Member since: Dec 12, 2008

As a gamer, I still don't see iOS or Android as a competitor to the 3DS or Vita. Sure, some iOS and Android games are good, but let's get real here. Handheld gaming goes way beyond casual arcade titles. Most iOS games now are just ports of old console games, whereas, handheld gaming can go above and beyond the casual titles. Nintendo just made a lot of bad decisions with the 3DS, especially that $250 price tag that the thing didn't even deserve.

14. cepcamba

Posts: 717; Member since: Feb 27, 2012

Agree 100%.

31. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010

I was thinking the exact same thing. I have a 3DS and Vita...and I literally laughed out loud reading this article. The fact that you can get casual gaming on handheld systems....I dont see it the same way. Of course casual gaming is easier to do on your phone which you will more than likely carry with you more, but if I had to choose....it would be handheld gaming systems.

15. shimmyx20

Posts: 280; Member since: Mar 03, 2009

Gamers would disagree, but the majority of the people would agree with this. I sold my DS and my PSP after getting my iPhone, and my Android phone has some kick ass games too. Yeah they're not as good as what you can get on a dedicated handheld gaming console, but they're good enough for most people. Also, games on iOS and Android are almost always much cheaper. Plus, I like not having yet another thing to carry around. Now that the weather is nicer, and I'm riding my motorcycle everywhere, carrying space is very limited for me.

16. akhi216

Posts: 61; Member since: May 01, 2011

I cringe when I hear drivel like that. Nintendo lost handheld sales because of their watered down console titles. The #1 selling game in the west is Call of Duty; this proves that people want multiplayer online enabled games as no one buys COD for the single player campaign. The vast majority of games on Nintendo handhelds lack online play. Nintendo just doesn't want to admit failure on their end so they put the blame on the iPhone's profit margins. And besides, what do they expect when they market their handhelds to kids.

17. mercorp

Posts: 1045; Member since: Jan 28, 2012

Nintendo-all talk,no do. Give me a android ds phone !

20. networkdood

Posts: 6330; Member since: Mar 31, 2010

This make sense - unfair to compare an iphone to a 3DS as the 3DS does not make calls. Nintendo will adapt and you will see a gain by them over the next 5 years as they adapt. As for failure of Nintendo....they still easily outsell all handheld devices that do not start with "I"

23. BattleBrat

Posts: 1476; Member since: Oct 26, 2011

I own more games on iOS, than I've owned on pc, gameboy,color,advance, gamegear, COMBINED AND DOUBLED

24. crysiswarmonger

Posts: 81; Member since: Feb 06, 2012

Ummmm Duhhhhh..... Games costing 19.99 or 29.99 or 34.99 for a game system for a Nintendo DS or other game system with low resolution..... Phones have tremendously high resoultion and everyone has noted ... free with ads or $0.99.... I can buy a whole bunch of games for the price of one DS game.

25. ChafedBanana

Posts: 409; Member since: Sep 20, 2011

Gameboy was cool in '89 when only the rich had car phones. If i had a mobile phone like the iPhone then, it would have been badass. It was still pretty badass though, having a Gameboy before all my friends, bringing it to 5th grade. Nintendo should sue Apple. That's what Apple would do.

26. ngo2dd

Posts: 896; Member since: Jul 08, 2011

Dumbest thing is to compare a handheld to a cellphone. People get real, real game are not on iOS or android, not even close. Yes iOS and Android game sell more people they are cheaper. Angry bird VS. Uncharted? Temple run vs.RE?

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