Support Marketplace

Will Nintendo ditch hardware?

Nintendo announces third quarter earnings today and things aren’t looking good. The game maker already slashed its full year outlook -- instead of profit it now expects a net loss. You could say Nintendo’s facing an identity crisis. For thirty years, it’s made games you can only play on Nintendo hardware. But does it have to change to survive?

Every good identity crisis needs a foil. You know, that character who highlights your own weakness. Hamlet had Laertes (and Fortinbras and just about everyone else).

Nintendo has The Smart Phone.

“Because anyone who’s carrying a smart phone is carrying a mobile gaming device,” says Jeff Ryan, author of “Super Mario: How Nintendo Conquered America.”

Ryan and other analysts say Nintendo’s market has been eaten away by phones and tablets where casual gamers get tons of games free. Nintendo fans buy a dedicated console that only plays Nintendo games.

So, will the company make its games available on other platforms? Michael Pachter is a research analyst at Wedbush Securities, and he’s dubious.

“I don’t think there’s a chance that they’ll do that,” he says. “They should. But I don’t think they have any intention of it.”

Nintendo is making a strategy announcement this week. Jeff Ryan says they may try to play nice with other people’s software. But not how you think.

“People are trying to invite Nintendo to their party, but instead Nintendo is going to invite the other people to Nintendo’s party,” he says.

He thinks they may try to increase the range of games you can play … on Nintendo consoles.

About the author

Kate Davidson is a regular contributor to Marketplace.

Comments

I agree to American Public Media's Terms and Conditions.
With Generous Support From...