Nintendo President disses the iPad gaming experience

Thu, Apr 8, 2010


There’s no denying that the iPhone OS (comprised of the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad) is a legitimate gaming force. Ever since the iTunes App Store first opened for business, gaming on the iPhone has slowly but surely eaten away at competing handhelds like the Sony PSP and the Nintendo DS.

Still, when asked about the gaming potential of the iPad, Nintendo president Reggie Fils-Aime scoffed at the idea that Nintendo had anything to fear from Apple’s newest device, or any of its products at all.

[Apple] is not having an impact on Nintendo when you look at our business, our volume, our hardware, our software. I’ve seen data that suggestions that while consumers are constantly downloading Apps, they play with them for a few times and then they are moving on to the next thing.

Clearly it doesn’t look like their platform is a viable profit platform for game development because so many of the games are free versus paid downloads.

While its true that many users play with an app for a few times before moving on to something new, the fact remains that that “something new” is more often than not another iPhone game.

Fils Aime also believes that the quality of Nintendo DS titles when compared to the iPhone will, in the end, ensure that Apple’s lineup of mobile products will do nothing to eat threaten Nintendo’s profitability.

“If our games represent a range between snacks of entertainment and full meals depending on the type of game,” Fils-Aime said, “(Apple’s) aren’t even a mouthful, in terms of the gaming experience you get.”

If you’re Nintendo, you have two options to choose from. You can either a) address the legitimate threat iPhone gaming poses or b) you can ignore the problem with clever analogies about snack foods and eating.

But even if we play along with Fils-Aime analogy for a second, the fact remains that most mobile gamers prefer tiny snacks from a variety of suppliers as opposed to a full course meal. You can argue about the difference in quality till the cows come home, but at the end of the day, the people have already spoken.

via Kotaku


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6 Comments For This Post

  1. David Wesley Says:

    FYI: Snacking is a commonly used term in marketing and advertising circles to describe products that don’t require excessive time commitments from the user. Many casual games and social networking games fall into this category. It is not a “clever analogy” about eating.

  2. Joe Says:

    Why is everyone giving Nintendo free publicity over their silly statement?

    No one expects that the iPad is a threat to the Wii. While there could be SOMEONE who would actually be choosing between them, they’re not competitive.

    Someone MIGHT consider whether to buy a Nintendo DS or an iPad – and apparently a considerable number have chosen the iPad. The last survey showed that something like 15% of mobile gaming users were using iPhones. Nintendo is not stupid – they’re obviously concerned about that.

    “We’re not worried about Apple” is a mindless PR statement that no one in their right mind takes seriously, but it’s the kind of thing CEOs say. Don’t give them the satisfaction of reprinting it.

  3. Doug Petrosky Says:

    Well, yes it is, it is just an analogy that has been used many times. Unfortunately for Nintendo, apple is starting to take a bite out of the snack games business. I’ve seen reports saying that Apple has captured 20% of mobile gaming revenue in the US. Now if it all stops there, Nintendo has little to worry about but I’m thinking the end of 2010 will show continued growth, and nintendo will have to try to figure out how all of those bites added. A bigger problem for them is that at some point they have to figure out which is more important? The revenue being lost every day because they are not releasing titles, or the perception that the iThings are actually serious competitors.

    Oh to be a fly on the wall!

  4. Hammers Says:

    The iPad will never compete with a Nintendo DS or a PSP for the sole reason that it was built as a tablet computer. If you’re going to compare it with something, compare it with other tablet computers.

    This is why Nintendo isn’t worried about Apple.

  5. Gloryride Says:

    Just a slight correction: Reggie is President of Nintendo of America (NOA), not Nintendo. They are different companies.

  6. Justin Freid Says:

    I think the business model of getting 30% from millions of $.99, $1.99, $2.99, and higher cost games that consumers can download quickly and easily (even if they’re only played a few times) is more sustainable than selling relatively expensive cartridge based games.
    Nintendo could create its own app store, even for existing devices, but I think that would be its hardware up for more direct scrutiny to the iDevices, to which the DS doesn’t compare that favorably (consider maps, email, web browser, photos, etc).
    Nintendo’s next generation mobile hardware is going to have to be super compelling to reverse the trend of consumers choosing, as Doug Petrosky referred to them, snack apps.

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