Nintendo boss Satoru Iwata is adamant that smartphones won’t gobble up the market previously reserved for dedicated portable gaming devices.
“I’m not saying there aren’t people out there who aren’t going to purchase a dedicated handheld device based on the availability and the fun factor in their smartphones,” Iwata told Kotaku in a lengthy interview.
“I’m not saying that that’s not true. I do want to say that there are still people buying our devices and that is also factual.”
Iwata said he recognises that the future of dedicated handheld gaming devices has changed with competition from smartphones and tablets, meaning Nintendo isn’t just squaring off against platform holders and publishers any more. Nevertheless, he still believes the 3DS can carve out a market for itself.
“The games available for smartphones, I’m not saying that none of these are interesting, rich or fun experiences, because I know that there are some,” he said.
“One way we can ensure that there’s a market for handheld gaming devices is by continuing to bring out entertaining and engaging software that will provide users experiences that they cannot get on these other devices.”
Iwata said games can be time-fillers, or satisfy a desire for a rich experience; presumably Nintendo aims for the second category.
“I think that consumers who are willing to pay money for a gaming experience are looking for something that is more rich and are willing to spend some of that valuable time on that experience,” he said.
“I don’t think we’re going to see the desire to have, again, rich and deep sort of gaming experiences – we’re not going to see that vanish. That’s not going to go away.”