Nintendo preparing for war with Apple

Nintendo preparing for war with Apple 1

Nintendo preparing for war with Apple 2

Despite recent statements dismissing Apple’s impact on the company’s business, Nintendo is internally preparing to launch an assault on Apple as the latter’s iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad begin to eat away at Nintendo’s handheld gaming business. Citing sources close to Nintendo, the Times Online reports that Nintendo president recently told senior executives to treat Apple as the “enemy of the future,” after profits at the Kyoto-based company fell for the first time in six years. According to the report, sources describe a mood of concern at the company, with the hardware and software teams racing to restore the “surprise” the company considers a hallmark of its gaming experiences. The report does not describe what, exactly, Nintendo plans to do about Apple’s encroachment on its business, short of saying that it plans to “unleash the full force of its development and marketing artillery.” [via Mac Rumors]

  1. I love my Nintendo handhelds, have had most of them since the very first Gameboy. We now have one DS for each member of the family, even the 2 y.o. (not recommended, but sometimes peace has its costs ;-)).

    That said, Nintendo has done a positively awful job responding to the iPhone OS platform. The DSi was their response, and it wasn’t a good one. While I believe it is a much better gaming machine in and of itself, it fails at everything else. It has web browsing, downloadable content, music playback, camera, built in entertainment apps, etc. – on paper, the DSi matches the iPhone and iPod touch 1 to 1, but in practice fails to deliver since the execution is often poor and, in the case of downloadable content hampered both by a terribly cautious approach and a draconian DRM scheme.

    So, for the casual on the go gamers, who account for a large amount of Nintendo’s handheld business, it’s no wonder that Apple is winning them over. For example, a DSi XL costs about the same as 8GB iPod touch, which one do you think the average consumer will gravitate toward if they have a chance to play with both?

    I wish Nintendo luck, they’ve kept me entertained for over 20 years, but they’ve got some heavy work to do due to their willingness to sit on their laurels these past three years since the DS lite.

  2. Nintendo in my opinion deserve this. They have been complacenet for far too long. Happy with their sales of Wii’s and DS’s while talking down the iPhone/iPod touch as not viable gaming platforms. They havent seen the growing threat which is Apple and now its on top of them they now decide they need to do something about it? Good luck Nintendo restoring your “surprise” you are going to need it.

  3. I love many Nintendo games, but their 3DS would be pwned by a 3D iPhone/iPod touch. They would be so far behind they would likely never recover.

  4. Sorry Nintendo – I love your handhelds too (I’ve bought pretty much every iteration of the Gameboy and DS you’ve released…… EXCEPT for the DSi – I have no interest in losing my GBA slot, and I have no interest in purchasing DSiWare that apparently is locked to your specific device and not transferable if you ever get a new DSi or upgrade to the next device like the DSi XL or 3DS).

    And the truth is, I carry my iPhone around with me all the time – its inherently a much more convenient gaming platform for me, even if it doesn’t have physical buttons, because I don’t carry my DS around.

    (this same post applies to Sony and the PSP too)

  5. Hopefully, Nintendo’s ‘Surprise’ will inject some much needed competition to the HandHeld Gaming Market.
    Stripping out legacy features like TomHandy’s GBA Slot is a step in the right direction, but not having a way to replace it is a step in the wrong direction.

    Sony are relying an Vendor Lock-in with the rest of the PlayStation ecosystem for their PSP Go. Now they have to innovate some new features to stay competitive.

  6. I would assume that the majority of purchasers are parents for their kids. How can these things hope to compete against devices that can actually be useful?

    One-trick pony handheld game toys will keep a certain, and I would assume, shrinking bunch of fans. Unless they can create some kind of miracles, they can’t hope to compete with multi-purpose devices like the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.

  7. I am convinced that Nintendo is run by a bunch of old, clueless men who seem to have absolutely no idea where technology is headed.”

    “Streaming Audio? Lazy programmers! Why would any decent gamer want to listen to that instead of high quality MIDI tracks?”

    “CD/DVDs? Naaah! Consumers dont want larger games with more content, textures and graphics! They want games that load immediately regardless of the fact that cartridges have less capacity and are(were) three times more costly than CDs.”

    “Online Gaming? Who does THAT anymore? We think our users would prefer to play OLD Gameboy games on their new Gamecube”

    “Updated Graphics? We really think our users would prefer some kind of wand-like input device, and to hell with including a Hard drive of some sorts, like WHO downloads games?”

    “iPod, iPhone and iPad? Why would anyone want to use a multifucntion device instead of our one-trick-pony handheld? EVERYONE would prefer to lug around a phone, gaming device AND a PDA in their pockets”

    You get the Idea.

    Nintendo has no-one to blame but NINTENDO! They have dropped the ball too many times and need to get their heads out of the collectives a***s to pay attention to the world around them. No-one else is sitting still and living off of their past successes, so why should THEY?

    Or is it a little too late for them?

  8. I believe that Nintendo’s Handheld gaming division is making the same amount of money they made before. That being sad their home console division is where the bleeding is. I agree that Apple is a threat to Nintendo, but it’s not happening yet so do me a favor and don’t drink the koolaid.. yet.

  9. All these are good points, but nobody’s touched on the real reason why Nintendo has been so successful: Excellent software. Say what you will about the Wii and the DS, Nintendo consistently makes 1st-party games that are fun, engaging, and appeal to a broad spectrum of players.

    Additionally, having an excellent portfolio of franchises (Poekmon, Mario, Zelda, Metroid, etc. etc) still makes them a go-to company. Unless they start licensing their mascots, Nintendo will still be selling thewir consoles.

    Finally, innovation. As long as they keep innovating (WarioWare DIY, Picross 3D), the DS will still be relevant and compelling, even if it is not my primary portable gaming system. The DS has 37 million units sold; this ubiquity is not something that will become irrelevenat overnight.

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