Nintendo announces (finally) that it will release games for iOS.
Nintendo announced today that it has reached an agreement with the company DeNA to develop games for mobile platforms, in which it will include the most popular characters, such as Mario. Late, very late, the Japanese arrive to fight for a market that for years has led the growth rates of the sector.
The Japanese company has been incredibly stubborn in its strategy of sticking with its own handheld consoles as the only way to sell its great games. And that shocks me a lot because Nintendo has always been characterized by its innovation in video game supports (I still fondly remember my GameBoy, or the new Nintendo DS and Wii that brought games that no one had imagined until then). However, in this matter they have been very inexperienced and the cakes they have received have forced them to rectify before the unstoppable advance of mobile platforms (especially iOS and Android). Observe the chronicle of an announced decision. This is all that has had to happen for Nintendo to have gotten off the donkey:
- July 2008: The App Store is born, marking the beginning of the distribution of applications (and, of course, games) on mobile platforms. Shortly after comes Google Play (back then called Android Market).
- March 2009: Nintendo looks at its new competitor from the top. It announces the best results in its history, with sales of 1.8 trillion yen (about 14,000 million euros).
- March 2010: Only a year later Nintendo’s sales suffer a 20% collapse. The new portable devices are beginning to steal space from traditional consoles (both portable and desktop) that are the core of the Japanese business.
- January 2011: The App Store reaches 10,000 million downloads
- February 2011: Nintendo criticizes the pricing policy of the App Store, especially the cheap games offered there. Meanwhile, both iOS and Android continue to grow steadily.
- August 2011: Nintendo adds two years of sharp sales declines. Nintendo’s investors grow impatient and pressure the company to release games for iOS. The company responds that it does not plan to do so.
- October 2011: Nintendo launches the Nintendo 3DS, a renewal of the previous model with which it aspires to compete with mobile devices.
- December 2011: The trend consolidates. Mobile game downloads are sweeping compared to those of traditional media. Angry Birds ends the year with 400,000 more downloads than all Nintendo DS games combined.
- January 2012: Sales of mobile apps already reach 10,000 million dollars.
- March 2012: The App Store reaches 25,000 million downloads and its exponential growth ends up convincing everyone (except Nintendo) that it has become a new and phenomenal distribution channel for software (and games, of course).
- March 2012: Meanwhile, Nintendo announces results of about 0.6 trillion yen, a third of what it achieved just three years earlier. The company begins an internal restructuring to survive and contain losses.
- October 2012: Sega does react and launches Sonic Jump, its first game for iOS. Since then they have released many more.
- November 2012: Nintendo launches the Wii U.
- May 2013: The App Store reaches 50,000 million downloads.
- January 2014: After contradictory rumors, Nintendo once again insists that they will not release games on mobile devices because they would damage the user experience.
- February 2014: Nintendo blames its problems on free and freemium games on mobile platforms. Still they say that they are a fad and that in two or three years no one will be interested in them.
- May 2014: They force the GBA4iOS developer to shut down the service. Not only do they not want to get into iOS but they also don’t want others to.
- August 2014: They lay off 320 employees in Europe.
- November 2014: Nintendo registers a patent for a GameBoy emulator for mobile devices, which indicates its intention to enter this sector.
- January 2015: Nintendo’s sales continue in free fall and although they have managed to maintain the profit, it is already impossible to close our eyes to the future of the sector.
- March 2015: Nintendo announces that it will release its games for mobile platforms.
I would really like to have attended one of the Nintendo board meetings and see how they have been discussing this step until, finally, they have decided to take it today.
In any case, and returning to what concerns us as users, it is great news that they give it. That will bring us to our beloved legendary Nintendo iPad and iPhone games. I’m already rubbing my hands thinking about an online game of Mario Kart on the screen of my iPad.