Slapping Mario on smart devices isn’t a “recipe for printing money,” says Fils-Aime

By Stephany Nunneley, Saturday, 12 December 2015 21:34 GMT

Mario is a popular and iconic figure, but that doesn’t mean a smartphone game starring the plumber would be an automatic success.

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Speaking with Time, Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime said many are under the assumption his is all Nintendo would have to do, and then sit back and watch the cash roll in.

“Unfortunately, there’s a simplistic mentality out there, that ‘Make a Mario game for smart devices’ is a recipe for printing money,” he said. “And it’s not. It just simply is not. It’s that Kyoto craftsmanship mentality that says whatever we’re going to do, it needs to be a wonderful experience for consumers.

“Our strategy is not to port games developed for our dedicated systems to smart devices as they are. We have to develop new software experiences that give people the opportunity to interact with Nintendo IP and that matches the play style and control of smart devices.”

It also wouldn’t be easy to port a standard Mario game to mobile devices, he explained. Mario’s gameplay mechanics, for instance, are optimized for a “play-control approach” which “doesn’t exist” for smartphones.

Instead, the company will develop mobile titles the same way it designed its 3DS and Wii U offerings.

“We will absolutely continue our traditional maxim of developing software that matches the hardware,” said Fils-Aime. “We have looked at the limitations of software design on mobile platforms, and worked within those parameters. A 3DS game that requires the full manipulation of joysticks and multiple buttons can’t be exactly replicated on a touch-screen mobile device.

“Our strategy is not to port games developed for our dedicated systems to smart devices as they are. We have to develop new software experiences that give people the opportunity to interact with Nintendo IP and that matches the play style and control of smart devices.”

He went on to reiterate what executives at the firm have said previously: the games need to be fun, not hurt the company’s IP nor its brand image, and get more people interested in its dedicated video game systems.

Nintendo announced in March its mobile titles would be created in-house using DeNA’s network, and all of the smartphone games currently in development would be free-to-play.

The first title, Miitomo, is slated for release in March 2016, while the other four will be released by March 2017.

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