Nintendo the iOS game maker

August 29th, 2013

I say they should just give in and start making iOS games. They’re not going to win this battle.

I wish John Gruber wouldn’t talk about games, because I don’t think he really understands them. Here he’s reacting to Nintendo’s surprise 2DS announcement.

Sure, Nintendo has a lot of problems. And, yes, many of them are a result of losing a vast amount of control over handheld gaming since the advent of iPhone. But still. He sees games/devices as a ‘battle’ in which sheer numbers are the only marks of success rather than long-term passion and wonderful expressions of creativity (you know, like many of the things he celebrates Apple for). He’s also ignoring the clear and present benefits of gaming-centric hardware. Like many, I don’t want a future in which handheld gaming devices don’t have physical buttons and joysticks. Broadly speaking, 3DS is better for games than an iPhone. Anyone who loves games should abhor the idea of them losing such vital parts of themselves.

I think also that the iPhone/iPod Touch argument as the ideal gaming device ignores the practicality of a (far cheaper) Nintendo handheld for kids. Among other reasons, they’re more or less indestructible and their games don’t include the terror of microtransactions.

And besides, Nintendo’s real issue right now is its bid for the living room, not the pocket, with the floundering Wii U. I’d be surprised if Nintendo hasn’t explored making iOS games in its labs, just to figure out what they are and how they work, but for Nintendo to simply become an app maker would be to lose its very soul.

NB I wrote a second part to this that hopefully makes me look less like a naive idealist (instead just an idealist).