Failures

by Timothy Geigner


Filed Under:
3ds, games, handheld, mobile games, smartphones

Companies:
nintendo



Nintendo Plans For The Future By Pretending All Of Our Smart Phones Aren't Great Handheld Gaming Devices

from the should-work dept

While Nintendo isn't necessarily known for forward-thinking when it comes to its business models, you don't necessarily expect the company to be on full-on denial mode. Coupled with its rather tragic history on treating its customers well, the gaming giant seems to make a habit out of restricting its own revenue in favor of backwards thinking. That mode of business planning appears to be progressing as Nintendo has announced that, rather than making old Nintendo games available legitimately on smart phone app stores, the company is going the other direction and looking to make smart phone games available on its 3DS mobile device.

In a recent interview with the Nikkei, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata revealed that Nintendo will be remaking more smartphone games on the Nintendo 3DS. Iwata added that the company will also be remaking old Nintendo games for the handheld. The games will be low-priced, going for a few hundred yen (a couple of bucks). That's right, instead of remaking old Nintendo games for smartphones, which anyone with a smartphone and a brain would love, Nintendo is releasing revamped and remade titles on the 3DS.
That sound you here is the collective gaming world's eyebrows raising in unison. While the 3DS product may certainly do things most smart phones cannot, that doesn't really come into play when it comes to Nintendo's back-catalog of games. Imagine, just for a moment, if Nintendo chose to go the opposite direction on this. Imagine if they suddenly made their NES, SNES, and N64 games available for purchase on smart phones, devices that are perfectly suited for running those older games. Piles of money doesn't even begin to describe what Nintendo would make from doing this.

Unfortunately, Nintendo is steeped in such a pervasive culture of wanton control that this strategy may not even have occurred to them. But they certainly must be aware that these games are already being played on smart phones, which really just drives home the notion that not making them legitimately available is simply pissing money away.
I get that Nintendo makes games for Nintendo hardware. I get it! I also get that some of these smartphone tie-ups could be big money-makers. But there are old games that people are already playing with emulators on smartphones anyway. So why not give these games a proper (and official) release?

Because, Nintendo. That's why.
Well okay then.


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  • icon
    SirThoreth (profile), 6 Feb 2015 @ 2:59pm

    Not surprising

    Like Apple, Nintendo is primarily a hardware company that sees their games as a way to get people to invest in their hardware. They're well aware that people would buy their games if they were available on smartphones, but that would undermine their core business, which is selling consoles.

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    • icon
      Roger Strong (profile), 6 Feb 2015 @ 3:20pm

      Re: Not surprising

      This explains the "Like" button on our new fax machine.

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    • icon
      JP Jones (profile), 8 Feb 2015 @ 2:17pm

      Re: Not surprising

      I would argue that this isn't strictly true. Most consoles are sold at a loss (the hardware is more expensive to create than the price). For example, the Wii, probably one of the most efficient cost-to-profit consoles ever made, reportedly only made about $6 per unit sold. Console developers sell the hardware at a loss with the expectation of making up the difference in game sales.

      By this logic, anything that causes your games to be sold more will make you more profit. By selling their games on smartphones, they are making money on something they aren't actually selling now.

      It's more likely that Nintendo is trying to get people to have smartphone games on their portables to encourage people to buy the hardware, then buy their games because they already have the console. I just think they're overvaluing the attraction of being able to play Angry Birds on the DS.

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  • icon
    Dennis S. (profile), 6 Feb 2015 @ 3:00pm

    Not Only Would they Make Money but Could Market Their Consoles As Well

    I read an article on this topic earlier today and it made the good point that not only would releasing their old games on smartphones be a good moneymaker, it would also get people interested in their current generation of consoles and games in effect acting as a marketing tool as well as a moneymaker. Imagine someone playing the old Mario, Metroid or Zelda games getting excited by them and wanting to play the newer versions that aren't available on smartphones. Nintendo is being really really stupid with this.

    Nintendo’s Mobile Game Plans Are Literally the Opposite of a Good Idea - The Mary Sue - 2015-02-06
    http://www.themarysue.com/nintendo-mobile-games-no-why/

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Feb 2015 @ 3:04pm

    I shudder to imagine trying to actively support a 10-20 year old title on a million different system configurations.

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    • icon
      Chronno S. Trigger (profile), 6 Feb 2015 @ 4:31pm

      Re:

      Square Enix is doing it with Chrono Trigger and a bunch of versions of Final Fantasy.

      As much as people feared the fracturing of the Android market, that's becoming less and less of a problem. Running an emulator would be even easier as it doesn't need to access special hardware. The biggest problem now is system specs, just like PC gaming.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Feb 2015 @ 6:03pm

      Re:

      "I shudder to imagine trying to actively support a 10-20 year old title on a million different system configurations."

      NES games are so incredibly small (most are less than 512kb in size) that you could easily deploy them across multiple platforms through a web browser.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Feb 2015 @ 3:09pm

    Dear Nintendo

    With your current and future business models you will not see a single drop of cash from me. You have effectively stated that you do not care about me as a gamer and neither want my money until I bow to your ideas of what gaming and entertainment should be.

    Thank you for the Nintendo and Super Nintendo.
    You are no longer relevant because you refuse to service your core clientele accordingly.

    Enjoy your fall, I will only be missing what you once were, not what you are now.

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  • icon
    Roger Strong (profile), 6 Feb 2015 @ 3:10pm

    The road to hell is paved with good nintendoes

    The iPhone 6+ is excellent for playing Pong. The screen is just the right size, and so far hasn't cracked when the ball hits it.

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    • icon
      JP Jones (profile), 8 Feb 2015 @ 3:27pm

      Re: The road to hell is paved with good nintendoes

      The iPhone 6+ is excellent for playing Pong. The screen is just the right size, and so far hasn't cracked when the ball hits it.

      This made me laugh out loud once I got it. Sometimes I'm a bit slow, haha.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Feb 2015 @ 3:25pm

    To be brutally honest... I'm not sure how much of a moneymaker this would be. Not that there would be a huge cost to port the software, or develop a working app. Frig, they could easily hire one of the fifteen billion emulator developers currently in play and they would say 'Okay.. here's my existing emulator, and here's a torrent of every SNES game you've ever made. Where's my paycheck?'.

    The sad truth is anyone who >wantsBADLY

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  • icon
    DocGerbil100 (profile), 6 Feb 2015 @ 3:31pm

    Actually...

    For once I'm going to have to disagree. Normally, I'm quite happy to decry the demented control-freakery of Nintendo, but when it comes to smartphones, I have to concede they have a point.

    Smartphones are good for games that have been designed and built for touch-screen control. For old-school games, which generally require continuous, clear sight of everything on-screen and reliable, responsive controls, they are frankly terrible.

    My experience with games on smartphones is limited, but as far as I've found it, on higher-quality smartphones, the results of porting old-form gameplay have been disappointingly poor and on lower-quality smartphones, the results can be literally unplayable.

    I'm not a big fan of Nintendo, but I can't kick them for not wanting anything to do with something that's only likely to hurt their reputations. If I were them, I wouldn't do it either.

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    • icon
      CK20XX (profile), 6 Feb 2015 @ 4:38pm

      Re: Actually...

      Pretty much my perspective too. Smartphones not only require rather specific kinds of games, but the sea of awful games out there for them is as bad as the Atari 2600's library ended up being. (And, heck, arguably the Wii's as well.)

      Nintendo's new YouTube partnership program would make for a much better story than this and would highlight their flaws more effectively.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Feb 2015 @ 6:24pm

      Re: Actually...

      I have yet to use any of the emulators on a mobile device since it takes quite a lot of preparation...
      Either way, as far as controls go, most modern touch controls feature two action buttons and a directional pad that is not all too different from an NES controller so I would imagine it wouldn't be too difficult to emulate...

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 6 Feb 2015 @ 8:34pm

        Re: Re: Actually...

        You can sort of make it work for NES, Gameboy, etc. Pretty much anything with the equivalent of a D-pad, start, select, A, and B.

        More buttons than that, and things start getting rather crowded. Probably the biggest point of failure is various shoulder/trigger buttons. Touch screens don't really have a good way to replicate them, and a number of games have them tied to functions that call for them to be either continuously pressed, or pressed in conjunction with other buttons.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 6 Feb 2015 @ 9:23pm

          Re: Re: Re: Actually...

          Well, the only solution to replicating those buttons (triggers, bumpers, thumb stick buttons) is to incorporate pie menus...Which I would imagine would require a full time developer. But once it's done for one game, it shouldn't be all that hard to apply to all the others most especially if they rely on the same bits of code.

          I mean, how many mainstream controllers do developers have to emulate...

          Three to Five tops?

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 6 Feb 2015 @ 10:40pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Actually...

            I doubt a pie menu would work for an action game. They tend to rely on fast weapon switches at the tap of a button, different weapons on different buttons, and holding buttons down for continuous effect. That's not the sort of thing suitable for a pie menu.

            It seems like a poor choice as a button replacement in general. Those things you could do before with the press of a button? Go into a menu for them, possibly 2-3 layers deep.

            The bottom line is that when you have a game designed to be played on a screen, controlled by a separate controller, you are going to run into a lot of problems when you attempt to place both screen and controls on one screen the size of the controller or smaller. You get a bit more leeway with tablets, but there's only so much you can do. Some things you can make them work. Others you simply won't be able to.

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          • icon
            CK20XX (profile), 6 Feb 2015 @ 10:56pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Actually...

            It still wouldn't be adequate though for the same reason that motion control ended up being just a fad. There's no sensory feedback; the feel of a button compressing under your finger is an often overlooked but indispensable part of playing a game. It instantly tells you that you performed an input correctly so you don't have to mash the touchscreen trying to figure out what the game wants from you.

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    • icon
      Ninja (profile), 9 Feb 2015 @ 2:48am

      Re: Actually...

      There are means to pair a Wii controler or a PS3 controller to the phone. It's awesome, it makes the phone a full gaming machine. I"m currently playing Final Fantasy VII on my phone using a bluetooth controller. There's no excuse, really.

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  • identicon
    Jack Red, 6 Feb 2015 @ 4:04pm

    Truth is

    Nintendo is well aware of the Smartphones because they consider them competition. But, What Nintendo is doing is kind of smart. They're giving you Smartphone Games to play on your 3DS without having to pull out your Smartphone. Plus it's a way to keep their current 3DS owners who have only played on the 3DS and not on Smartphones from switching to the Smartphones. And if they were to release their back catalog onto Smartphones. What does that make them to the average Smartphone owner who knows nothing about Nintendo. They'll think Nintendo is simply a third party mobile game company. They'll have no knowledge on knowing they're a first party video game company. Believe me Nintendo does not want to be considered third party in anything, They want to be known as a first party Video Game Company not a third party mobile game company. Everyone, before you complain about Nintendo not releasing games on Mobile or PC use your heads on why they don't do that. It's because they want to be recognized as solely a first party video game company.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 Feb 2015 @ 12:58am

      Re: Truth is

      This may be the dumbest comment I've read on Techdirt in the past month. And that's saying something.

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    • icon
      nasch (profile), 10 Feb 2015 @ 2:02pm

      Re: Truth is

      They're giving you Smartphone Games to play on your 3DS without having to pull out your Smartphone.

      Yeah, instead of going to all the trouble of pulling out your smartphone, you can just pull out your larger, thicker, heavier 3DS instead. It's so much... easier?

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  • identicon
    Bob, 6 Feb 2015 @ 4:14pm

    Old Nintendo games on new hardware as a science project

    My 11 year old's project for his school science fair just yesterday was to run old Nintendo games on a Raspberry Pi, using MAME and some other componentsi. Not sure it was the best SCIENCE, but it was very popular with all the other kids at the science fair.

    He has a 3DS XL, but would much rather have the old DonkeyKong, etc running on his iPhone rather than on the DS. It's too bad that Nintendo hasn't figured out that they are fundamentally a software company, and their hardware basically amounts to expensive packaging and somewhat unsuccessful DRM.

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  • identicon
    Jake, 6 Feb 2015 @ 4:16pm

    Oh, I think they'll release some classic Nintendo games for smartphones alright. Smartphones made by Nintendo.

    Think about it. The latest 3DS model has pretty much every feature of a smartphone except for making and receiving calls, doesn't it? And they've got the capital and the hardware-design chops to carve out a big chunk of the market for themselves, especially with their whole back-catalogue as launch day exclusives.

    Heck, I know I'd buy one.

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  • icon
    seedeevee (profile), 6 Feb 2015 @ 4:25pm

    Nintendoh!

    Nintendo has repeatedly said that they do not want people to think their games are as crappy as they would be if you had to play them on a phone.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Feb 2015 @ 4:58pm

    The simple fact of the matter is that games suck on phones. Touchscreens are an inherently fuckawful UI for gaming. The reason Nintendo doesn't port its games to phones is because they care about quality, and about the reputation they have built up.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Hero, 21 May 2015 @ 3:59am

      Re:

      in some cases the touchscreen may work, but mostly for games that are all menus like jrpgs or adventure games.

      no action game would work on a smartphone and touchscreen.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Feb 2015 @ 5:03pm

    dang smartphones

    Smartphones aren't great handheld gaming devices. I'll take having real buttons in an ergonomic layout over a single giant touchscreen any day. Granted, I'd rather see people put effort into making good games for good devices than see people port crappy games to devices they aren't meant to be played on.

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    • icon
      JP Jones (profile), 8 Feb 2015 @ 2:36pm

      Re: dang smartphones

      People don't play smartphone games for the quality gaming experience. They play smartphone games because they're bored sitting around somewhere and already have their phone in their pocket, and it's better than staring at the wall.

      Also, if a game is designed from the ground up with a touchscreen in mind, there's no reason why it can't work well. Games like Angry Birds and Candy Crush are a great example, as are most games that can be played easily with just a mouse (low precision), like tactical strategy games or board games.

      If a person has a smartphone, and they're traveling, 99% of the time they will have the smartphone with them. Also, most people will justify the cost of the smartphone due to the versatility and usefulness of the device. Neither are true of handheld gaming devices. Handhelds require you to have the device on hand (and deal with it's crappy battery life, often a proprietary charging plug which also must be carried, and headphones if you want sound for all their fancy games). They are also a purchase you may not otherwise make.

      So yes, from a pure gaming standpoint, a 3DS or Vita are vastly superior to a smartphone. But from a convenience and availability standpoint? Smartphones win by a landslide.

      And based on the market, I think we can safely say that more people are looking for convenience and availability over fancy graphics and buttons.

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  • identicon
    Vel the Enigmatic, 6 Feb 2015 @ 5:06pm

    Something I think Timothy doesn't quite understand or comprehend...

    When the original games came out on their respective systems, they all had controllers with very different button schemes: NES had the D-Pad and two buttons plus the staple Select and Start, SNES had had the D-Pad, Start, Select, and four buttons (ABXY) and L and R, and the N64 had the D-Pad, a Control Stick, C Buttons, A, B, Z, L and R and Start.

    The overarching point here is that saying you can easily port these games to smartphones, that they're perfectly suited for it based on nothing completely, utterly ignores that not only that these systems had different button schemes, but that it means more buttons you must have to cover all the functions.

    I'm no trained UI designer, but I think I can speak UI designers when I say the number of buttons needed to perform all the functions the original buttons did would eventually become far too cluttered to be workable, or even appealing. Not even to mention that the more of the screen is dedicated to the buttons, the less of it that is dedicated to the on-screen gameplay that's happening.

    You wouldn't be able to, say, play Perfect Dark, or DK64, or Ocarina of Time on a smartphone, and that's just 3 of the hundreds you wouldn't be able to play.

    So think about it for a moment before you say Smartphones are perfectly suited to playing N64, SNES, and NES games.

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  • identicon
    Anonmylous, 6 Feb 2015 @ 5:41pm

    They can't.

    Not a matter of them wanting to or not, they likely only have licensing to release on their hardware. Theirs, not others. The game makers also likely only have licensing to release on Nintendo hardware.

    I know we want to think corporations are mindless idiots that don't like making money, but if you look at the trends, they do like making money and are not mindless. So not releasing their games on smartphones has to have a reason behind it that is more than simply their own competing device. They know they could make a ton of money releasing them for 1-2 bucks a hit on Android and iOS. Millions a day in fact, they would immediately become the single largest gaming company on either platform, overnight, and everyone else would be running scared.

    So there has to be something preventing them from just doing it. And its likely a matter of licensing and contracts. No conspiracy, no stupidity, just contracts that were made before mobile phones weighed less than 20lbs and computers barely had 256 colors available on 13 inch CRTs.

    *moonwalks out*

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    • icon
      DocGerbil100 (profile), 7 Feb 2015 @ 3:53am

      Re: They can't.

      This is partially correct and worth expanding on. Licensing issues vary from game to game.

      In the case of Nintendos own works - such as Mario, Zelda, etc - there are no licensing isssues to overcome: Nintendo is the sole owner of the code inside the original console hardware and the games and can do whatever they like with them, including porting them to any platform they like without anyone else's permission.

      For non-Nintendo games, many titles are probably owned by large companies such as EA, courtesy of all the acquisitions they've made over the years. They might be willing to license their properties to Nintendo, or if profitable enough, might seek to license an emulator from Nintendo and release the games themselves.

      On the other hand, given that companies like EA, et al, have their own interests in mobile gaming, it's just as likely that they would simply refuse to allow the games to be published at all, seeing it as competition for their own newer investments.

      There are probably also many instances of orphaned works, where ownership details have gotten lost in the fog of historical acquisitions. Those titles can never be released without substantial research efforts to establish precisely who bought what and when, which is unlikely to be profitable.

      In the case of games licensed from films, such as Super Star Wars and Goldeneye, there is almost zero chance of republication. The costs of merely negotiating for the rights would vastly outstrip any potential sales.

      It's worth noting that old games are not as popular as some might think. I think that re-releases of older titles, while profitable, rarely achieve anything like the sales needed to justify significant investment. This is why there are so many buggy, bare-bones PC re-releases that barely function.

      These days, we all have access to emulators and copies of old ROMs, etc, but how many of us actually bother to play them?

      For all the value that nostalgia has for us, most of us would rather play something new.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 7 Feb 2015 @ 8:33pm

        Re: Re: They can't.

        I agree with everything you've said up until this part:

        "For all the value that nostalgia has for us, most of us would rather play something new."

        It's fairly clear that you've never sat down to play a bunch of old roms using an emulator...Thus, I'm sorry to say, you're not a gamer at heart.

        Don't take it the wrong way, but most so-called mainstream games (Moba, FPS, FIFA, etc) are not games, they're e-sports that have nothing to do with the spirit of being a gamer in the classical sense.

        Take a second to look at the definition of the word 'game' and you'll find that it's something that's done for pleasure...

        I swear 99% of the time people who play 'e-sports' are not enjoying themselves until they win...

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        • icon
          DocGerbil100 (profile), 7 Feb 2015 @ 10:02pm

          Re: Re: Re: They can't.

          It's fairly clear that you've never sat down to play a bunch of old roms using an emulator...Thus, I'm sorry to say, you're not a gamer at heart.

          Your inferences are entirely wrong. I have emulators for many systems prior to PS2 and maintain a not-insubstantial collection of original titles and systems stretching back to the Sinclair ZX-81. Every now and then, I even play the things. Most people don't.

          With very few exceptions, I do not usually play online games. Your comments about e-sports are unrelated to my post or my gaming habits.

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        • icon
          Ollie (profile), 8 Feb 2015 @ 9:08am

          Re: Re: Re: They can't.

          That's an incredibly narrow-minded definition of a gamer... who are you to say who is a gamer and who isn't? Granted, I do like to sit at an emulator and play old roms- or at least, I play the virtual console games on my 3DS and Wii U like the original Zelda and Sonic games, Link's Awakening, Kid Icarus, Earthbound; also old PC rereleases like Descent 3 (gamer credentials established)

          But if other people have fun playing what you call "e-sports" why aren't they gamers too? Last I checked sports are still considered "games". And as much as I love classic games, I do like to play stuff like DOTA or TF2 or Counterstrike every once in a while. Though my favorite modern games are still the ones that have the old gaming spirit at heart- the recent Rayman games especially. How about gamers are just people that like videogames?

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Feb 2015 @ 5:42pm

    The problem I've found with playing old games on cellphones is that they aren't quite that great as a gaming device. Sure you're average smart phone will run the game itself just fine. Using the touch screen as a control pad on the other hand really tends to suck. You either make trade offs between image display space and control button space, or have the "button" on the "screen" itself. Plus the "buttons" themselves suck in comparison to a real control pad. They're serviceable enough for slower paced games like RPGs, but I couldn't see playing a reflex based action game on them with anything other than mounting frustration. Partial solutions exist, it's trivial enough to connect a bluetooth enabled control to your phone, and people do make clips designed to hold your phone while gaming with a controller. Sadly such clips tend to be designed for the phone itself, rather than cases. So unless you want to take your phone out of the nice protective case you've gotten for it, they aren't particularly helpful.

    That's excluding the issue of spending battery power on your phone on games instead of any other purposes you might need it for while out and about. The trade offs there are the same as for any other cellphone game.

    So all told, while it's probably short sighted to not see what can and can't be ported to cell phones and do so, I don't think it's quite as simple, or short sighted as you suggest. Nor can I fault them for opting to strengthen the library of their hand helds instead.

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  • icon
    Ollie (profile), 6 Feb 2015 @ 9:19pm

    "Smart phones are great handheld gaming devices"

    Do.... do you actually have a smartphone? More importantly, do you have a smartphone that actually plays games well? Because if you do, please tell me where I can find it; I sure don't know any (not any reasonable ones, anyway). I have to side with Nintendo here. They're backwards on a lot of stuff but they're right about this. Nintendo games on a smartphone would suck. And all the games they could release are downloadable on 3DS- an actually, legitimately good handheld gaming device. Why would they release games on smartphones, where they would be miserable to play, when they can keep them as an incentive to buy a 3DS? It's not like they're holding them hostage on a bad platform- 3DS is the best-selling current gen handheld because it has a TON of really good games. And the retro games you can download have new features like save states and even a virtual gameboy screen- as in, when playing gameboy games you can shrink the screen size and tint it that monochrome green color. It's kinda neat. Some of them have even been updated to play in 3D.

    I also have to say Nintendo seems to keep things on their own hardware for a good reason- Nintendo games are undeniably polished. In an era of broken, buggy games and DLC features that should have been included in the game itself, Nintendo releases polished and complete games. I don't think they could keep that high standard unless they were optimizing for a platform they have complete control over, and releasing on smartphones might hurt that reputation.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Feb 2015 @ 9:52pm

      Re: "Smart phones are great handheld gaming devices"

      We can't really see where you're coming from if you don't list the mobile device you're using to game on.

      I've been gaming on mobile devices for around 10 years now and your generalization about them all is not at all too far fetched to be honest..

      However, it's still ill-conceived given the fact that you claim that Nintendo has 'magical standards' that protect them from releasing terrible games.

      This is where I stand:

      I was born in 1983 which is the release date of the NES within NA. My parents saw the gaming phenomena as an opportunity to leave me unattended and as a result I learned to beat Super Mario before I learned to talk. (I'm not shitting any of you!) Which resulted in me having to take several years of speech therapy in order to become comprehensible by others.

      In any case, Nintendo has never been known to release ground breaking hardware nor have raised the bar in gaming mechanics...

      Their only claim to fame is nothing less than nostalgia.

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      • identicon
        Lurker Keith, 6 Feb 2015 @ 10:40pm

        Re: Re: "Smart phones are great handheld gaming devices"

        In any case, Nintendo has never been known to release ground breaking hardware nor have raised the bar in gaming mechanics...


        The NES, GameBoy, SNES, N64 & GameCube were ALL groundbreaking hardware. The PlayStation (successor from the aborted Nintendo CDi, which NOONE wants to remember) would've been the N64, but Nintendo backed out for some reason to stick w/ cartridges (a move that granted Sony 1st place for most console cycles since).

        And where were you when Nintendo kept redefining Platforming & Action games? Mario changed Platforming. Several times. Zelda changed dungeon crawlers. Again, several times. Zelda: Ocarina of Time & Mario 64 (developed together, influencing each other) completely mapped out how to do 3D (play-space, not visual) games. These are still the standards today.

        When Nintendo does something, anything, they're usually copied. Even the motion stuff got copied. Heck! Even their poorly supported dual screens, one a touchscreen, was copied, since XBox 1 & PS4 can use Tablets for their 2nd screen. How is that not "raising the bar in gaming mechanics"?




        In response to the general conversation about touch screen buttons. Just how do you emulate an analog button w/ a digital touch screen? Just touching a button isn't how Nintendo games play. Tap a button, you get a small jump; SLAM the button, you get a high jump. How would that work w/ a touch screen? Also, for NES & SNES games, you have to constantly hold a button down to run, WHILE using another to jump or shoot or whatever, in most games. N64 switched that to the analog Joystick. Digital doesn't tend to replicate analog that well.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 7 Feb 2015 @ 1:58am

          Re: Re: Re: "Smart phones are great handheld gaming devices"

          There were so many developers ripping off one another during the 80s and 90s that's actually pretty difficult to determine who exactly is responsible for the underlining breakthroughs that we've come to cherish today...

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          DocGerbil100 (profile), 7 Feb 2015 @ 4:50am

          Re: Re: Re: "Smart phones are great handheld gaming devices"

          Although I would put the onus of invention on Miyamoto's games and on the controllers, rather than the often-underwhelming boxes, I mostly agree with you.

          But the Gamecube? Seriously? If the Gamecube did anything inventive or influential, I must have blinked and missed it.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Lurker Keith, 7 Feb 2015 @ 5:29am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: "Smart phones are great handheld gaming devices"

            The GameCube was more powerful than people give it credit for.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 8 Feb 2015 @ 1:07pm

          Re: Re: Re: "Smart phones are great handheld gaming devices"

          Tap a button, you get a small jump; SLAM the button, you get a high jump. How would that work w/ a touch screen?


          You make a good point that hadn't occurred to me before. A number of controllers have pressure sensitive buttons, and more than a few games take advantage of that. That's not something that can be easily replicated on a touch screen.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            JP Jones (profile), 8 Feb 2015 @ 2:51pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: "Smart phones are great handheld gaming devices"

            Um, most games (if you're thinking of Mario games) that use this mechanic base it off the time you hold down the button, not the pressure used.

            Either way, it's a moot point, because emulators already play all these games on smartphones, and they play just fine. Could they be better with a bit of modification specifically with touch screens in mind? Absolutely. But I've played everything from Super Mario to Donkey Kong Country to Starfox on a smartphone and they take about thirty seconds to get used to.

            Sure, an actual controller is preferred (and Bluetooth controllers are available for a fraction of the price of a handheld console...) but it's playable, and for turn-based games (the Final Fantasy games come to mind) the control issues are almost non-existent.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 8 Feb 2015 @ 4:30pm

          Re: Re: Re: "Smart phones are great handheld gaming devices"

          "Just how do you emulate an analog button w/ a digital touch screen?Just touching a button isn't how Nintendo games play. Tap a button, you get a small jump; SLAM the button, you get a high jump."

          There's a lot you can do with a single button no matter which device you're using.

          Press and hold
          Single Tap
          Double tap
          Modifies (hold one button while pressing another...)

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Ollie (profile), 7 Feb 2015 @ 8:39am

        Re: Re: "Smart phones are great handheld gaming devices"

        I don't claim they have a magical standard that prevents them from releasing terrible games. I just said they release polished, complete games- no DLC that should have been part of the game all along, and no obvious, game-breaking glitches. Compared to, say, games released by EA or Ubisoft. Assassins Creed Unity, anybody? Master Chief Collection? Or, imagine if another company released Smash Bros? Half the roster, outfits, and stages would be DLC.

        Nintendo only releases on their own platform because they can be familiar enough with the hardware to make games that at least have an objective standard of quality.They're the only developer I will preorder for or buy from on day one because of that (I usually wait at least a year on PC games) And rereleasing games on smartphones would hurt them in the market that they are doing the best in- handhelds. 3DS has sold around 40 million worldwide, and the rereleased games on it are cheap and work well. Why would they hurt that by releasing games on a platform that isn't cut out for it, hurting their reputation and canibalizing their hardware sales?

        Also, to your statement about "raising the bar in gaming mechanics".... Ocarina of Time and Super Mario 64 say hi.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Candescence (profile), 8 Feb 2015 @ 3:44am

    Actually, Nintendo are pretty much right this time around.

    Let's be frank, smartphones are pretty terrible gaming devices for anything that isn't designed around the use of a touch screen, and Nintendo knows that.

    Putting old Nintendo games on smartphones would be a terrible idea, because the lack of tactile buttons would make them virtually unplayable. Maybe the NES and Gameboy would be doable, but anything more would be pretty much out of the question. There are emulators of various consoles, but I'd be surprised if anyone actually used them for anything other than turn-based RPGs, because that's honestly really the only thing they're good for.

    Really, the lack of proper controls is pretty much the only thing preventing smartphones from becoming a legitimate gaming device. There are special controller add-ons, but those are a niche at best. And the app stores are terrible, not to mention the utterly unhealthy digital market on those things, it's either F2P, or 2-dollar apps at best.

    Nintendo's focus is entirely on its own hardware, and only its own hardware. Microsoft and Sony do the same thing, except they actually make smartphones while Nintendo doesn't. And Nintendo don't need to anything on smartphones, they'd rather release nothing at all rather than a compromised user experience that smartphone ports of their old games would bring.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Ollie (profile), 8 Feb 2015 @ 10:35am

      Re: Actually, Nintendo are pretty much right this time around.

      I completely agree about the unhealthy digital market. People balk at Nintendo's prices on their own consoles- between $5 and $10 depending on the system the game was on. I cringe to think of people saying "too expensive" in response to THE ORIGINAL LEGEND OF FREAKING ZELDA for $5 on a smartphone. "Should be $1.50"

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Violynne (profile), 9 Feb 2015 @ 3:22am

    Because, Nintendo. That's why.
    Wrong.

    The actual phrase should be:

    Because, Iwata. That's why.

    Ever since this brain-dead CEO took the helm, Nintendo has suffered greatly. Hardware? No issue there. Software, however, has been Iwata's biggest failure.

    I can't see how anyone can keep this man in the position he's in.

    "We don't need HD.", he once said, all the while now clamoring for HD units because they sold incredibly well.

    "We don't need online gaming.", he said, because hell, I suppose this internet thing was just a fad then?

    Nintendo can easily return to a dominate player in the gaming world if the company just did one thing: Fire the brain-dead CEO that's holding the company back.

    Never did like Iwata. This article is just another example of why.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Geno0wl (profile), 9 Feb 2015 @ 6:24am

      Re:

      Iwata pretty much only pays attention to the Japan market. His only focus is to listen to his Japanese investors. It is SO apparent that is the case it is painful.

      Also since when did "pre-oder" go from "you have a week-month to sign up and we will make what the demand is" to "we have X number of units and if you are not a scalper or somebody who lives on gaming sites 24/7 you are not getting one". Nintendo is really pissing me off with that recently.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Simon Dufour (profile), 9 Feb 2015 @ 11:42am

    I love gaming on a 3DS

    I might just be hold school but I really tried gaming on my phone. I installed a emulators and even used a PS3 controller with a GameKlip. I tried playing a wide range of games without a controller before that. It's cumbersome and it doesn't work really well. Some action games would have a really slight delay that removed the joy from the game completely. Some other games worked well but I somehow abandoned them after a few days. It wasn't as fun. So.. I let go. I decided I would play some native games.

    Finished Duet at 100%.. even went as far as completing dailies for 50 days in a row. I played Threes! for a while. I don't play a lot of 3D games because on-screen controls don't work really well. I tried playing Minecraft a bit but.. it just didn't work for me. The controls were not precise at all. I paid for a lot of games. I got ripped off more than once by a stupid game that wouldn't work or would ask me money to revive my character if I didn't want to wait 3 hours.

    That's when I decided I had enough. I unpacked my wife 3DS, went to the store and bought a Pokemon game and Bravely Default. In the last two weeks, I've been playing games on my commute, every single day.. without any unpleasant experiences. My phone has more battery life. The controls are more precise. The GAMES! REAL GAMES! Now, my precious time isn't wasted finicking with games anymore. I can actually play.. from the first minute of my commute to home. It doesn't even stop there because even though I have more than 1000 games on Steam, I continue playing my 3DS at home. Because the games are good.

    It might be only anecdotal evidence.. and yes.. It does cost more money to play games on a 3DS.. but I do think I got more fun/$ on my 3DS in 2 weeks than from my smartphone since 2011. At the end of the month, I'll be getting the New 3DS XL and I'll give my wife her 3DS back.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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