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Nintendo rules out move into PC publishing

Mobile push was made to help expand the console business, president Tatsumi Kimishima said

Despite its recent push into the mobile market, Nintendo has no plans to make its games available to PC players.

In the company's annual shareholder meeting, one question observed that Nintendo made games for console and mobile, but a third key market segment: PC gaming, which has "shown incredible growth." However, while Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima acknowledged the size of the market, he made it clear that PC is not a part of the company's strategy.

"We believe that the integrated hardware-software business is the best way for us to provide the surprises and new gameplay experiences that we want to achieve," he said, before addressing the obvious contradiction presented by the release of Miitomo, Super Mario Run and Fire Emblem Heroes for iOS and Android devices.

"Though the content and consumers playing the applications were different, each one was received extremely favorably," Kimishima continued. "Super Mario Run, for example, achieved 150 million downloads worldwide, and consumers who had never played our games before were able to experience our IP on their smart devices.

"We believe that we can further expand our core integrated hardware-software business by providing our software on smart devices and increasing the number of consumers who experience our IP."

The implication is that Nintendo does not see PC gaming as an effective method of expanding its console business. However, Kimishima later detailed the effort the company is making to open up the Switch to the smaller, indie studios that would target a platform like Steam.

"Indie development, or software development by individuals or small teams of developers, is becoming extremely popular, but developers must go through a wide variety of procedures in order to develop software, so we are taking initiatives to lower the procedural and cost-related difficulties," he said.

Among those procedures is employing a small army to debug software released on the platform, which one of the questions stated comprised around 300 people. "Our development environment is one of those initiatives," Kimishima said, "and I believe that the article you read conveyed that our framework is more than capable enough to handle debugging.

"We hope to maintain momentum for Nintendo Switch for a long time by increasing opportunities to build up various businesses on our hardware while simultaneously adjusting our development environment so that even small-scale developers who could not support us before can support us now."

At GDC this year, we asked independent developers about their experiences working with Nintendo Switch, to a largely positive response.

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Latest comments (2)

Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.4 years ago
Nintendo games on mobile are a marketing tool. It's to reach an audience that will most likely identify with their IP enough to consider buying into their hardware/software environment. The PC market is already aware of Nintendo's IP and are more likely to emulate their IP than buy into their environment.
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Jeff Kleist Writer, Marketing, Licensing 4 years ago
Nintendo is terrified of the internet and they know nothing about PC development. In addition. They'd be paying out to third parties to port and sell the games, the latter of which they find unacceptable.

Nintendo is the most aggressive company I've ever seen when it comes to fighting piracy. And that's to be applauded. But the PC is awash in piracy, and no one can guarantee them even a month of safety. Not very attractive to them

Nintendo' games also burn out slower than most due to the constant trickle to their platforms of more casual purchasers after the church is satisfied. It's not like Mario Kart dries up in six months or even a year.

However, Microsoft hasn't been making kissy face with them for nothing. Quite a coup if they could be porting Nintendo and selling them on Windows store, and the PC version running on Live with Switch crossplay. Not saying it's going to happen, but I will say I'd bet money such a concept is on their minds, as it is something they can offer Sony can't, and Nintendo is unwilling/able to do themselves.
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