By Georgianna Pisano-Goetz ’15, Contributing Writer
Older fans of the classic catalogue of Nintendo games have long awaited the games’ availability on the increasingly popular smartphone operating system, be it iOS or Android. Those technologically-inclined fans may have risked voiding their warranty by jailbreaking or unlocking their phones. This practice allows the user to download unauthorized and usually copyrighted applications onto their phones that were not approved for the iOS App Store nor for the Android shop.
Jailbreaking practices are often in pursuit of classic Nintendo games, including Pokémon and Super Mario, which are currently only legitimately offered on Nintendo’s own consoles.
Nostalgic smartphone users weary of or too timid to try jailbreaking will be pleased to hear that Nintendo may be entertaining the idea of introducing classic Nintendo games to the smartphone app marketplace.
Since the WiiU was released in November 2012, Nintendo has faced a loss of over $240 million in expected profits. The most recent console has not done nearly as well as anticipated and the result is Nintendo’s largest profit decline in nearly 13 years.
Many different factors contributed to the low performance of the WiiU system, including gamers migrating to mobile devices. Given the changing landscape of gaming in the modern age, Nintendo President Satoru Iwata consented that the company is flirting with new business models.
President Sarturo said on Friday, “We are thinking about a new business structure. Given the expansion of smart devices, we are naturally studying how smart devices can be used to grow the game-player business. It’s not as simple as enabling Mario to move on a smartphone.”
It is undeniable in the face of this record-setting loss that Nintendo needs to try something new. However, Sarturo is correct in saying that it’s not as easy as it seems. Nintendo would face massive losses if it abandoned its own consoles. While providing fans with Super Mario and Pokémon on their phones would be well-received by the public, it does not seem viable at this point in time.
Other business models appearing in the smartphone arena may be better suited for Nintendo’s new strategy. The classic gaming company could offer games at a lower price, as those familiar with the iOS App Store will pay between one and five dollars for a sidebar-scrolling game similar to the Super Mario canon.
Furthermore, the game markets on the WiiU, as well as the Nintendo 3DS, could be opened up to any developers. The open forum would allow for a wider variety of games and would certainly attract developers to the consoles. Even still, Nintendo has a remarkable back catalog of classic games and characters already beloved by multiple generations. There are many avenues the company could explore with its pre-existing catalog of games and characters.
The news is exciting in anticipation of the major gaming console companies responses to changing marketplace. Playstation, Xbox, and Nintendo have been taking small steps to attract modern gamers, but more drastic measures could be called for depending on what the profits look like for this new generation of gaming systems.
Junior Georgianna Pisano- Goetz is a staff writer. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.