Nintendo might be going mobile, but not in the way many people are calling for. Japan's Nikkei business daily reports that the company is planning to leverage smartphones as a platform for marketing videos and, more interestingly, free mini-games designed to drive new users to Nintendo hardware.
The mini-games are reportedly designed to make players understand the appeal of Nintendo's software in a short period of time and convince them to purchase the full experience elsewhere. Nintendo will release further details at its investor briefing on Thursday, according to the report. Nikkei also claims that Nintendo will let users purchase 3DS and Wii U software through smartphones, a feature available on other platforms.
"Our philosophy that Nintendo games are best played on Nintendo devices has not changed."
It's not the first we're hearing of the mini-game idea — Nintendo of America president and COO Reggie Fils-Aime himself said last year that the company was "experimenting" with simple gameplay on smartphones for marketing purposes. "If we can motivate you to have a little taste of a Nintendo experience and drive you towards the Wii U or 3DS, we’ve won," he told Seattle's King 5 News, insisting "Our philosophy that Nintendo games are best played on Nintendo devices has not changed."
Although analysts and consumers alike have been imploring Nintendo to abandon proprietary hardware and bring its stable of popular franchises to other devices, it's far from certain that the cut-throat world of mobile development would make financial sense for the company, even in the short term. If the smartphone mini-games do come to pass, expect Nintendo to explain them as a reinforcement, not a refutation, of its long-held position — that the appeal of Nintendo's traditional software is inextricably linked to the design of Nintendo hardware.