Close
Are you sure? Are you sure you want to report this comment? I understand, report it. Cancel

Mario must be made playable on non-Nintendo devices says analyst

Mario must be made playable on non-Nintendo devices says analyst

Thu 26 Apr 2012 2:54pm GMT / 10:54am EDT / 7:54am PDT
Business

Japanese analyst Nanako Imazu believes it could happen in a few years

Nintendo today reported its first annual loss of over $531 million (328.7m), and with pressure mounting from the mobile sector, it's not about to get any easier for the house that Mario built. Many believe that Nintendo ought to give into the pressure and put some of its IP on smartphones and tablets in addition to its own hardware.

"Nintendo has to deal with the change and let Mario games be played on non-Nintendo devices," Nanako Imazu, an analyst for the brokerage firm CLSA in Tokyo, told the New York Times. "I think it will take at least couple of years to see that."

David Gibson, an analyst for the Australian bank Macquarie in Tokyo, added, "They have been beaten by smartphones and tablets, in particular, for consumers' spending and, more importantly, time."

Nintendo has repeatedly said that it will not put its games on non-Nintendo devices, and in the meantime the company is laser focused on making sure its Wii U launch later this year is a success. The price point on the hardware will be key (it was vital in Wii's success), but with Microsoft and Sony both likely to consider price drops on their respective hardware, Nintendo will have to think carefully.

Some have said that anything over $300 for Wii U would be disastrous, but according to Imazu, Nintendo may need to go higher in order to break even on Wii U costs. He said that a price point of $350 should allow the company to break even on the hardware, but that's $100 more than what Wii launched at and may not sit well with consumers - Nintendo learned that lesson already with 3DS.

The good news is that Nintendo is still flush with billions in cash, and in reality the company can afford to lose money on each unit sold as it solidifies its strategy and software lineup.

31 Comments

Jim Webb
Executive Editor/Community Director

2,246 2,232 1.0
Can I have their jobs? Please.

Nintendo posts a $531 million loss with one third of that coming from foreign exchange losses and suddenly they need to put Mario on the iPad?

Isn't Sony about to post a $6 billion loss? Do I hear any analyst claiming that Sony needs to put Gran Turismo on iPad?

What gives?

Posted:2 years ago

#1

Antony Cain
Lecturer

263 21 0.1
Look at the feature image and try to image how it would be controlled. I've got Sonic 2 on my phone and the control system has totally killed any fond memories I ever had of playing it; it's just terrible.

If the analyst had suggested Professor Layton however...

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Antony Cain on 26th April 2012 4:38pm

Posted:2 years ago

#2

Morville O'Driscoll
Games Blogger & Journalist

1,519 1,312 0.9
Analysts trying to prove they're relevant. Feh.

I can see Nintendo putting its IP on other formats, yes. But not for a good long while (at least 6 or 8 years). It took Sega a long time to swallow their pride and get out the hardware biz, putting their IP on other's hardware, and 1) Sega had far worse uptake on their hardware prior to that decision and 2) they posted losses far more often. One loss does not signify a massive failure on Nintendo's part, nor a turning point in releasing their IP on hardware that they don't develop themselves.

tl;dr version - Analysts trolling.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 26th April 2012 4:40pm

Posted:2 years ago

#3
Putting 'classics' on iOS makes sense. Not the latest titles, but ports of the NES/SNES classics.

Posted:2 years ago

#4

Rolf Moren
Freelance Marketing Consultant

36 22 0.6
Is he actually telling the company that has sold most gaming devices ever, and still does, they are not fit to sell devices? Are they saying that the company that has the biggest brands in the history of gaming won't be able to use them to sell the hardware to get people to play them?

Not much of analyzing done there..

I see the social and casual game platforms more as a gateway drug towards, rather than competition to, the hardcore gaming platforms.

Edit: moved a comma

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Rolf Moren on 26th April 2012 5:21pm

Posted:2 years ago

#5

Antony Johnston
Writer & Narrative Designer

112 18 0.2
I assume these are the same analysts who spent decades telling Apple they needed to licence MacOS in order to survive.

Posted:2 years ago

#6

Josh Meier

40 15 0.4
I do find it laughable that they think Nintendo would ever consider this as long as Mario is still a big seller for them.

Now if they'd actually put their NES and SNES classics on the 3DS eshop, that would be a smart move.

Posted:2 years ago

#7

Ken Varley
Owner & Freelance Developer, Writer

40 30 0.8
What this article doesn't tell you, is that Nintendo will start to make profit on the 3DS from September.

Queue the holiday season buying frenzy. Next year I forecast that Nintendo will be back in profit. Especially if the Wii-U sells like it did when the Wii was launched.

Posted:2 years ago

#8

Robin Clarke
Producer

300 684 2.3
#9

Christopher Garratty
Trainee Solicitor

77 83 1.1
Sony intend to have "PlayStation Certified" devices that are not Sony branded. Perhaps analysts aren't saying it because it's already on the way? http://www.industrygamers.com/news/playstation-certified-devices-coming-from-htc-in-2012/

Personally, I think it's a good idea. I'm not a fan of platform exclusivity. The more places I can play the games I like, the happier I'll be.

Posted:2 years ago

#10

Morville O'Driscoll
Games Blogger & Journalist

1,519 1,312 0.9
@ Christopher

Generally, I agree with you. But then I look at all the compromises developers go through to fit their games onto multiple platforms. The reason why this is ridiculous is because Nintendo hardware can be used to make Nintendo software better; once they start having to play by other platforms hardware standards, the software can (though won't always) suffer.

Or, to put it another way, could you see Mario 64 being on a system other than the N64 when it was produced?

The only reason I can see this happening is because the console model can only last so many more generations. At that point, the companies with the best IP can and will move into software only; it's at that point that Nintendo becomes equivalent to Valve - producing a handful of games over the course of a few years.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 26th April 2012 5:47pm

Posted:2 years ago

#11

Kevin Patterson
musician

185 99 0.5
Zelda on the Phillips CD-I is what I think about regarding Nintendo on other platforms. I realize they didn't develop those travesties, but it didn't feel right then, and wouldn't feel right to me now playing Mario on my iphone.
I don't think Nintendo is going to be doing that anytime soon. Unless Apple releases a control dock for their I-Devices, playing console games is an exercise is frustration and barely worth the time.

Posted:2 years ago

#12

Brian Smith
Artist

195 84 0.4
If they put Mario on other platforms along with the rest of their strong IP then they kill their own hardware business. The only way I could see that happen is if they decided to abandon hardware and concentrate fully on being a multi-platform publisher/developer. We all know that won't be happening any time soon.

Posted:2 years ago

#13

Jamie Read
Junior 3D Artist

126 64 0.5
No. Just, no.

Posted:2 years ago

#14

James Brightman
Editor in Chief

226 266 1.2
@ Kevin, @ Morville, I think the key would be to make sure you're not making a "Mario 64" experience for something like iPhone. I'm sure Nintendo could make compelling experiences for IP like Mario or Zelda or anything else that wouldn't cannibalize the console/handheld experiences they would also offer. It just needs to be tailored to the device with proper presentation and controls; in fact, I think it would give Nintendo an opportunity to upsell some consumers. If you like a Mario experience on iPhone/Android, maybe you'd want the "beefier" Mario experience on Wii U or 3DS.

Posted:2 years ago

#15

Morville O'Driscoll
Games Blogger & Journalist

1,519 1,312 0.9
@ James

Good point. But, let's face it - Nintendo are massively arrogant when it comes to their key IPs. They're not going to provide a slimmed-down Mario experience for iOS in the hopes of people buying into the larger Mario games. In their eyes, it would devalue the Mario name just too much to do that. (Yeah, I know the Mario name doesn't mean as much anymore since Super Smash Bros Party Golf Olympics 5. :p I still don't think they'll willingly cut their vision down. Especially if they have to pay Apple a share to do it; that's just a step too far).

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 26th April 2012 9:26pm

Posted:2 years ago

#16

Andrew Goodchild
Studying development

1,235 396 0.3
Not only as Jim pointed out were most, if not all of the losses to do with exchange rate fluctuations, but I believe they were mainly to do with the value of western investments becoming worth less when converted to yen, not cash losses. Surely this means if the yen weakens against the dollar in 2 years, they suddenly will have a massive boost in on paper profits?

Posted:2 years ago

#17

Thomas Dolby
Project Manager / Lead Programmer

331 279 0.8
Another analyst gets his name in the headlines by spouting uneducated opinions he knows will generate controversy, what's new.

Posted:2 years ago

#18
When I bought the Wii here in Australia (on launch day), it was $399AU. There was a long queue, and it was a very reasonable price.

If the WiiU launches at a similar (or lower) price, I'll be super-happy. I think there is a lot more "value" in the WiiU than the Wii (assuming it comes with a title packaged in).

I guess the other factor, is that the next 360/PS3 is likely to come next Xmas - room to move on pricing will be important. I'll rather Nintendo start at a higher price, and have room to move in the future.

Posted:2 years ago

#19

Robin Clarke
Producer

300 684 2.3
@James Superficially a plausible idea, but in reality it would be diluting their brand for the sake of scraps of revenue. Properties like Mario Kart, NSMB and Wii Fit make orders of magnitude more money than any third party games.

Posted:2 years ago

#20

Haven Tso
Web-based Game Reviewer

255 8 0.0
These "analyst" have been saying that since GameCube era and they will just keep on saying this so to show themselves as "analyst".

Seriously their jobs are easy to do.

The simple fact is as long as Nintendo has a strong hold on high profile and quality IPs, they have a base market sales to keep the company going.

Posted:2 years ago

#21

gi biz
;,pgc.eu

341 51 0.1
As far as I know, there is an interesting experiment about a Mario/Portal mix. I'm not sure about the legality seen the recent laws that make almost everything a copyright infringement, but here it is: http://www.linuxgames.com/?s=portal
So yeah, maybe it's better if they do that themselves. Should Mari0's creators just change the graphics, they would have a finished product they can sell, leaving Nintendo lagging behind.

Posted:2 years ago

#22

Stephen Richards
Game Deisgner

68 28 0.4
Generally, I agree with you. But then I look at all the compromises developers go through to fit their games onto multiple platforms. The reason why this is ridiculous is because Nintendo hardware can be used to make Nintendo software better; once they start having to play by other platforms hardware standards, the software can (though won't always) suffer.
Do you really think, ignoring controller differences, there's a single game on the wii that wouldn't run better on xbox 360/ps3? Nintendo making games only for the wii has left them years behind high definition graphics. Even cross-platform developers have a lot more options than wii developers. Besides, Nintendo wouldn't be forced to make cross platform games if they stopped making hardware, they'd still have the option of focusing on a single console.

At the end of the day, the only real benefactor from Nintendo making their own consoles is Nintendo. Consumers are worse off because they have to pay more money for another console simply because it's the only way to play nintendo games. They could be getting the same experiences without the need to buy an extra console if nintendo made their games on other platforms. Other developers are hurt too, as they have to spend more time downgrading their games if they want to make a wii version.

It confuses me every time people talk excitedly about first-party exclusives. The more exclusives are made, the more games you're unable to play because they aren't on the console you picked.

Posted:2 years ago

#23

Morville O'Driscoll
Games Blogger & Journalist

1,519 1,312 0.9
@ Stephen
Do you really think, ignoring controller differences, there's a single game on the wii that wouldn't run better on xbox 360/ps3? Nintendo making games only for the wii has left them years behind high definition graphics.
Oh noes! No HD graphics! The Wii's graphics suck, it's true. But so what? Nintendo have always prioritised gameplay over graphics; look at Sonic 1 vs Super Mario World. I know which is prettier, but I surely don't touch Sonic 1 nowadays, whilst SMW I do. This race has already been run, though - no, the Wii doesn't have Deus Ex:HR or BF3, because of the lack of third-party support and graphics limitations. But, oh, hi Zelda, Metroid, Mario, so it's down to preferences and expectations.

Btw, you contradict yourself:
Besides, Nintendo wouldn't be forced to make cross platform games if they stopped making hardware, they'd still have the option of focusing on a single console.
and
They could be getting the same experiences without the need to buy an extra console if nintendo made their games on other platforms.
So, which is it? Nintendo limiting themselves to a single platform, in which case the consumer still has to make certain to buy the console with the Nintendo games on? Or multi-platform, which limits Nintendo's development abilities?
It confuses me every time people talk excitedly about first-party exclusives. The more exclusives are made, the more games you're unable to play because they aren't on the console you picked.
What about third-party exclusives? I'm sure 360 players would like to play Uncharted, and PS3 owners would like Gears.

(btw, I do agree - exclusives suck hard. But you're being rather selective with your argument. :) )

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 28th April 2012 4:39pm

Posted:2 years ago

#24

Stephen Richards
Game Deisgner

68 28 0.4
Oh noes! No HD graphics! The Wii's graphics suck, it's true. But so what? Nintendo have always prioritised gameplay over graphics; look at Sonic 1 vs Super Mario World. I know which is prettier, but I surely don't touch Sonic 1 nowadays, whilst SMW I do. This race has already been run, though - no, the Wii doesn't have Deus Ex:HR or BF3, because of the lack of third-party support and graphics limitations. But, oh, hi Zelda, Metroid, Mario, so it's down to preferences and expectations.
I'm not saying this makes nintendo games bad, I quite agree that they're among the best you can get. What I'm saying is that making these games on their own hardware did not make them better because they could have made the same games on HD consoles, giving consumers the same fun gameplay just a bit prettier. The argument works better for PS3/xbox exclusives which can be made in ways which would not be possible for cross-platform games.
So, which is it? Nintendo limiting themselves to a single platform, in which case the consumer still has to make certain to buy the console with the Nintendo games on? Or multi-platform, which limits Nintendo's development abilities?
At least games would only be split between two consoles, rather than three, if nintendo didn't have their own. And then consumers could buy the console nintendo picked to make games on, knowing they can also play most of the best third-party games out there without buying another console. Whereas they are unable to do this with the wii.

I think, for many reasons, it would still be better for nintendo to go cross platform. If they did (or had done), their development abilities would have been far less restricted than they were making wii games. And this pattern's only going to continue with the wii u continuing the trend of staying a generation behind the competition's hardware capabilities.
What about third-party exclusives? I'm sure 360 players would like to play Uncharted, and PS3 owners would like Gears
Yes that's true. I should have said exclusives in general. I think they're a bit more justified with sony and microsoft. After all, if ps3 had no exclusives at all then the power advantage it has over xbox 360 would be largely wasted.

Posted:2 years ago

#25

Doug Paras

117 61 0.5
I just thought I would point out HD doesn't make a great game, there are alot of games on the SNES that are far superior to games today even with 16bit graphics.

Posted:2 years ago

#26

Morville O'Driscoll
Games Blogger & Journalist

1,519 1,312 0.9
Yes that's true. I should have said exclusives in general. I think they're a bit more justified with sony and microsoft. After all, if ps3 had no exclusives at all then the power advantage it has over xbox 360 would be largely wasted.
Just think how PC gamers feel. Almost every game out there is made to 360 and PS3 constraints - doesn't matter how many people complain, developers still ignore things like proper mouse+keyboard controls and fov options. Which I think is my point about Nintendo games on a Nintendo console. You say
making these games on their own hardware did not make them better because they could have made the same games on HD consoles
But the Wii had motion controls before either PS3 or 360 - it may not have improved all games immeasurably, but Twilight Princess certainly had something which neither the Sony or MS consoles had, and they could develop gameplay in mind for the Wiimote. They never thought "Oh, what if the take-up for this is bad?" because the Wiimote was there from the beginning.
At least games would only be split between two consoles, rather than three, if nintendo didn't have their own. And then consumers could buy the console nintendo picked to make games on, knowing they can also play most of the best third-party games out there without buying another console. Whereas they are unable to do this with the wii.
Perhaps. Like I say, I'm against exclusives, but Nintendo has always been a company that's tried to ensure a perfect creative vision of its games, and that to some degree relies on their own hardware. And, let's be fair, it's not just Nintendo who have this attitude. Look at Valve - they develop mostly on PC, and yet they're talking about making hardware, because their desire to create interesting gaming experiences is hampered by the lack of already existing kit.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 28th April 2012 10:43pm

Posted:2 years ago

#27

Tynan Muddle
Writer

5 2 0.4
I'm not sure it does make sense. Nintendo sell these games for upwards of $9 on Nintendo 3DS, Wii, etc - if they put them on iPhone (etc) they'd have to sell them for $0.99. Would they sell more? Probably, but they also risk diluting their brand and, of course, Apple will be the biggest winner out of such a relationship - and Apple are doing just fine. They don't need the help.

If you want to use iWork, buy a Mac. If you want to use Windows, buy a PC. If you want to play Mario, buy a Nintendo. It's called "competition" - the world runs off it. Do all these analysts really want every company in the world to just hand over all their assets to Apple so that Apple will be the only technology related company?

What a horrible world that would be.

Posted:2 years ago

#28

Dominic Jakube
Student

92 13 0.1
I bought supergsnes from the android marketplace for my experia play and it works great with real controls but I do wonder how big the the market is for less tech savvy people or people with more scruples.
They wouldnt have to sell them for 99 cents as plently of prenium mobile games sell for $5 and over like GTA3 and gamelofts knock off's.
Oh and for the record I still have a shoe box of old carts in the cuboard but admittedly not the 600 it took me 15 minutes to download.

Posted:2 years ago

#29

Stephen Richards
Game Deisgner

68 28 0.4
But the Wii had motion controls before either PS3 or 360 - it may not have improved all games immeasurably, but Twilight Princess certainly had something which neither the Sony or MS consoles had, and they could develop gameplay in mind for the Wiimote. They never thought "Oh, what if the take-up for this is bad?" because the Wiimote was there from the beginning.
That would be the obvious argument justifying a separate console. But technologically, couldn't nintendo have built the wiimote as a third party accessory to the xbox/ps3? I realise there might be various kinds of barriers to them doing this, but third party companies do make their own controllers and wheels and that kind of thing. So my guess is it would at least have been possible.

I don't blame nintendo for not taking this route, I realise they'd have made much less money if they had because they wouldn't have sold all those profit-making consoles. But that's kind of my point. Consumers with multiple consoles have so much unused processing power at their disposal every time they turn on their wii it just seems like a waste. Nintendo wins, but the only customers who save are the ones who only use the console once every other month and don't own any others.

Posted:2 years ago

#30

Morville O'Driscoll
Games Blogger & Journalist

1,519 1,312 0.9
But technologically, couldn't nintendo have built the wiimote as a third party accessory to the xbox/ps3?
Yup, they could've. But read my point about take-up again. It's not whether the device exists, it's whether you can force the consumer (or, rather, enough consumers) to use it. Not only to make it a financially viable thing to manufacture-and-sell, but also to make it creatively viable from a software point of view.

As an example, how many games out there use PSMove? From the Wiki for the Move - "There are currently 85... games on this list." Is it really worthwhile developing for it? You could argue that if Nintendo developed their own controller and packaged it with the game then yes, it is. But that's relying on the RRP being low-enough that it doesn't put off customers.

*shrugs*

I suppose it could go either way, but I still think it's a risky proposition compared to the tried-and-tested route of producing your own console. :)

Posted:2 years ago

#31

Login or register to post

Take part in the GamesIndustry community

Register now