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Nintendo president recognises the need to differentiate to compete against smartphones and tablets

By: Muhammad Qasim Hassan

  |   July 16th, 2012   |  
News, Uncategorized
Japan Nintendo

Regardless of what is being said by the analysts and depicted by the statistics, Nintendo refuses to acknowledge smartphones and tablets as a significant threat to the success of its portable video game consoles.

In an interview with the UK newspaper The Independent, the president of the Japanese video game giant Satoru Iwata asserted that competition from the likes of Apple’s iPhone and iPad has had little effect on market success of its DS line.

“I don’t think this is a central factor, I think it’s much more about our lack of ability to release software in a timely matter that will motivate people to go out and buy our gaming hardware,” said Iwata.

The advent of smartphones has undeniably taken away a share of market space from Nintendo and Sony who had been pretty much in control of the particular market through their dedicated portable consoles DS and PSP respectively.

The President of Nintendo however did admit that iOS and Android software had indeed changed the market dynamics and thus it was integral for the company to differentiate itself from its competitors by offering a unique experience that was exclusive to its hardware.

“Obviously smartphones and tablets have changed the environment that we operate in and we can no longer offer some kinds of games experiences that couldn’t also easily be offered on a smartphone, so we need to differentiate and offer something exclusive,” he conceded. “I think if we can offer exclusive entertainment that cannot be replicated on other devices then we’ll have the chance to survive.”

The extent of smartphone’s effect on the success of Nintendo’s portable devices in the market has come under spotlight because of the company recording an operation loss earlier this year for the first time in its history. A major part of this loss was associated with the underwhelming response of public to the 3DS and the desperate measures that Nintendo was compelled to take in order to avoid complete failure.

Iwata contends that the poor performance of 3DS is heavily attributed to the unstable global situation and the exchange rate of Yen, which has proven to be a bane for the Japanese companies. Both the factors were outside of Nintendo’s influence, consequently leading the company to incur losses.

While Iwata’s point of view sounds pretty convincing, there is no denying the fact that companies with dedicated portable video game consoles are rapidly losing their grip on the market space. The growing popularity of smartphones has attracted the attention of game developers, tempting them to make games for the new platform. With simpler and cheaper games on offer, majority of the casual gamers, which outnumber dedicated gamers by a huge margin, find little need to spend big money on portable consoles and games when they can get their dose of gaming experience at a much cheaper price on their mobile devices and tablets.