Leave Nintendo Alone
Console sales are typically dictated by the games that run on those consoles, not by their competition. Different devices can coexist peacefully, if each of them has unique games. The Wii, the Xbox 360, and the PS3 all sold quite well during the last generation, because all of them had good, exclusive games. Many people ended up buying more than one console, because they wanted to play exclusive games. In other words, if you want to play a Mario game, or the new Zelda, the fact that you own an iPhone won’t prevent you from also buying a 3DS.
-Lukas Mathis, ignore the code, “Nintendo”
Lukas Mathis has some astute observations regarding the recent discussion that Nintendo should become a software-only business, creating their games for the mobile platforms that have all but suffocated them out of existence. What I think is prescient, however, about Mathis’ discussion is the fact that Nintendo is still actually doing quite well in terms of their console business, a business that is changing and may die in the future, but is still profitable, a fact that is not mutually exclusive with the iPhone’s profitability. In other words, as Mathis states, owning an iPhone does not preclude the consumer from going out and buying a DS for the games that those people apparently greatly desire to play.
Update: Chuck Skoda has a couple good points that touch on this subject, so I thought I would share it as an update (link after block quote).
But I think Nintendo might be past seeing everyone as their potential market. They’re doubling down on core gamers. The people who never left them behind. The people who have always valued their games, and the care they put in making them. But leaving the bigger market behind will look like a step back. How can you compare the broad success of the original DS and Wii with the limited market they’re approaching today. Can Nintendo be successful with a market of tens of millions vs. the billions appeal of smartphones? Actually, it’s a far more addressable market, and one they’ve been serving for decades now.
-Chuck Skoda, technochocolate, “nintendo today”