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Nintendo courting smartphone developers to boost Wii U sales
News reported by 
May 06, 2013, 03:28:37
What do you think? Will smartphone developers be interested? Can these kinds of apps drive consoles sales? It certainly couldn't hurt to get some more games on the system.

The game console and software maker has offered professional-use conversion software to application developers so they can produce smartphone games that can be played on Wii U, a struggling home video game console that helped widen the firm’s operating loss in fiscal 2012.

Nintendo hopes smartphone software will help spur console sales, which will in turn lead to an increase in popular game titles for them, the sources said.

Source: Japan Times

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Posted: 05/06/13, 03:28:37  - Edited by 
 on: 05/06/13, 03:28:30    
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Zero said:
@Xbob42Valve isn't as dependent on people buying their hardware.

Why, exactly, does Nintendo need people to buy their hardware? The easiest cash comes from software. Aren't they losing money on the Wii U at the moment? It sounds to me like they need people to buy their hardware because they need people to buy their hardware. Kind of a "WELL IT'S WHAT WE'VE BEEN DOING FOR 20+ YEARS MIGHT AS WELL KEEP IT UP" kind of situation. You can make a lot more software than you can hardware, and you can reach a lot more people a lot more easily. People know MARIO. They also know Wii to some extent... but Wii U? Not so much. Why rely so hard on that? People on all platforms crave Nintendo software. Other developers go multi-platform because it's the best way to make tons of cash, imagine if Nintendo, one of the most beloved names in software, tried their hand at it?! It'd be insane.

A little tidbit on Square selling games for high prices on iOS. They are VERY stingy with their numbers, though. The most I can find is "we make good, easy money off of it."

They used to charge a lot more for their iOS games, but prices higher than $30 and sometimes $40 are a bit too much. The games still did very well, but they weren't topping the charts like they do now at fairer prices. I can tell you this much: It's making them enough money to be porting many, many titles, creating unique and lengthy titles and focusing quite a bit on the platform. If it was a wash or even too tepid to worry about, I'm fairly certain they'd have quit by now instead of redoubling their efforts.

Posted by 
 on: 05/06/13, 09:49:37
Stephen said:
I am surprised this is for the Wii U and not the 3DS. Surely that would make more sense? I guess the 3DS isn't struggling.

I was just thinking this.

Posted by 
 on: 05/06/13, 15:05:01
I honestly think this could be a good thing. If Nintendo picks the top games on ios to come to the eShop, then things are great. Games like Zenonia and Minigore would be great for the system. There are obviously quality games that could come to Nintendo from ios, just ignore the mountains of trash.

I'd pay $5 to play a $1 ios game with buttons.

Posted by 
 on: 05/06/13, 15:20:20

Go read the link in my last post if you want some definitive numbers on how much money can be made on iOS by and actual developer. It's absurd.

Posted by 
 on: 05/06/13, 15:42:23
Also, why did a thread about phone games coming to Wii U turn in to an arguement about why Nintendo should develop for ios.. This shit is the reason why I barely come to this site anymore.

Posted by 
 on: 05/06/13, 15:51:50

Posted by 
 on: 05/06/13, 15:54:55

The thread may have been derailed to an extent, but that doesn't make the notion in the OP any less silly. Games are a nice value add for smartphones, but the overwhelming majority of people do not base their smartphone purchase on its game library. As such, courting those developers to a home console doesn't seem like a great idea if Nintendo's goal with that strategy is to boost hardware sales.

If those games don't cause people to flock to one smartphone over another, why should we expect equivalent content to have a more meaningful impact on home console sales?

Posted by 
 on: 05/06/13, 17:18:16
@Xbob42 I'm not sure, but I do know that Nintendo has, hands down, made more money than any other video company year after year until very recently, and they're also (finally) making a killing on the 3DS lately. I don't think a bad start to the Wii U is a reason to throw out something that has historically worked for years on end.

I'm not sure that I really agree with your "there is so much more to be made 3rd party" argument either. Nintendo currently makes money off of every single piece of software released on their hardware. This is why they back their own hardware so hard.

@Oldmanwinter I asked what traditional publishers / developers are making big money on iOS. Your argument seems to be that if some nobody from Finland is making X, Nintendo should be able to make 2X or more. But that kind of ignores that this nobody is not a common case but an exception (the article even calls their success a "rare feat"), and that EA, Capcom, Squarenix, etc. already make iOS games and haven't seen some logical multiplication of the success of nobody developers despite their years of being successful publisher / developers (to some degree) with known IPs in the console and handheld markets. I just don't think that the iOS market is working in a way that known publishers and developers from the console and handheld world get to walk in and say "look, we're better than the stuff you're buying, buy our stuff!"

In fact, I still have yet to see that premium games on iOS have much of a healthy market at all. It just seems like a race to the bottom of the barrel, where now you have some customers complaining about 99 cents because tons of games are "free". I know, I know, this is the same tired complaint about iOS that has been going on for awhile, but its a complaint that exists for a reason. There aren't many premium games you can point to that were big successes.

Here are some interesting numbers. Not the most formal research, but this is what I found.

In an effort to discover what the average game developer could make from iPhone game apps, in 2011 Streaming Colour conducted an informal survey of 252 game developers. Thirty-six percent of the respondents were full-time game developers, 60 percent were part-time developers and 4 percent were employed by a game development company. The median revenue for developers was $3,000. This is lifetime revenue, regardless of how many games each developer made. The average revenue was $165,121. About 25 percent made $100 or less; another 25 percent made between $1,000 and $10,000; about 22 percent made between $10,000 and $100,000; nearly 12 percent made between $100,000 and $1 million; and 4 percent of respondents -- that's 10 developers in this survey -- said they had made over $1 million from their iOS games.

The fact is, that Finland developer is not even close to the norm in this market. Nintendo should have a leg up on the average developer, sure, but I'm not sure that much anyone has really figured out how to make consistently healthy returns in the iOS market yet. I'm not saying that there aren't some companies doing it, I'm just not sure that there is a formula that others can look to and say "oh, if I do this, I have a good chance of..." It's a very hit-based market and the hits seem almost random.

On a side note, those two games sound like the worst damn thing that is happening to the industry right now, so personally I'd never want Nintendo to try to get involved in this kind of money-making anyway:

In both games, advancement requires cannons or feed mills that cost virtual currency, which can take a maddeningly long time to accumulate in meaningful sums. Players with a real-world credit card, however, can purchase these items from in-game shops as a shortcut to speed things along. The average user plays for short bursts 10 times a day: Threats endanger players’ digital domains even when they’re logged off, so the games prompt frequent returns with text messages warning of incoming raiders or broken plowshares, demanding further investment in reinforcements or supplies.


By contrast, Clash of Clans players looking to climb past the first few easy levels are paying $100 a pop for a chest of gems usable as currency in its virtual store; Hay Day’s trunks of gold coins cost $80 each.

Is this really where the video game market is heading? For god's sake. It's not even about providing a quality product and supporting it, it's about getting someone addicted and offering negative consequences if they don't keep paying to play. It's like one step away from dealing drugs at this point.

@Scrawnton Come on don't be like that man. Tons of awesome people here talking about fun things. You should be playing Phantasy Star IV with us right now!

Posted by 
 on: 05/06/13, 17:23:17  - Edited by 
 on: 05/06/13, 17:35:48
@Kal-El814 it's about offering a variety. Some ios games are great and with traditional controls they could evolve in to something great. Zenonia is a great ios game, but with buttons on D's it was even more amazing and worth the huge price difference. Some of those games could be easily ported to Wii u and add to the value of the system. What does it hurt by doing this? Look at it this way,

A) we get the best ios games on Wii u but with good controls. The best version.
B) some of those games are actually good and can be seen as building a strong line up for Wii U
C) some developers can see their games sell bet on Wii U than on iOS, or they at least make more of a profit, and those devs and more Increase Wii u output.
D) we, the gamers, get amazing software to play on a console that we normally wouldn't be able to play

I really don't get why people think this is a dumb strategy. If Nintendo picks the best phone games to be put on Wii U, this could be nothing but good news for us.

Posted by 
 on: 05/06/13, 17:24:27
Hopefully indies get going on Wii U because the big third parties are not looking to be on board.

Posted by 
 on: 05/06/13, 17:30:31

I'm not opposed to having these games come to the Wii U at all; the more, the merrier.

Again though, I don't think they will have a meaningful impact on moving hardware, which I assume is Nintendo's most immediate concern for the Wii U.

Posted by 
 on: 05/06/13, 17:30:59
@Kal-El814 I doubt any one game will move hardware, but a mass library could turn a few heads.

Posted by 
 on: 05/06/13, 17:34:04
anon_mastermind said:
Hopefully indies get going on Wii U because the big third parties are not looking to be on board.
At this point, I would prefer indie games to most third-party stuff. There's not a lot from big-name publishers that I'm remotely interested in...

Posted by 
 on: 05/06/13, 17:38:22
@Kal-El814 @Scrawnton To get back to the initial post... I kind of don't think getting a ton of indies on board will drive console sales that much. It will help as far as the "core" gamer is concerned, but I think most "core" gamers, at least on consoles / handhelds, still look to retail games first and foremost, and use indie games to kind of fill in the gaps.

Which feels like a bit of a shame to me. A lot of people insisting that the Wii U has "nothing" seem to have not, in many cases, played some of the best games on the platform... RUNNER2, Little Inferno, Trine 2, etc.

Posted by 
 on: 05/06/13, 17:45:36

All of those games you listed are available on other platforms.

Posted by 
 on: 05/06/13, 17:48:59
@Zero you are right about people ignoring the shop, but digital games are increasing in popularity a lot every passing year. Nintendo do trying to secure smaller digital games is a smart thing. They did this is 3DD, it's only appropriate they do it on Wii U. Nintendo is embracing phone games and trying to bring it to their system. That is a healthy way of merging the two demographics and evolving the industry again.

Posted by 
 on: 05/06/13, 17:50:23

The problem is most people already have platforms where they can play those games. Those games don't make the Wii U much more appealing if at all, even if there are slightly more features. That's why I don't think Bioshock Infinite on Wii U would have made much of a difference for console sales either. People who already have a Wii U would have bought it, but I doubt many people would buy a Wii U for it.

Posted by 
 on: 05/06/13, 17:51:25
Maybe Bioshock Infinite alone won't sell consoles, but it looks bad for the Wii U to not be getting the same support as the PS3/360. Prospective buyers might think to themselves: "Hey, Wii U isn't getting the major 3rd party games like Dead Space, Bioshock, Madden, etc., that might not bode well for the future of the platform, maybe I'll just wait for the PS4 or next Xbox to jump into next gen because Sony and MS seem to know what they're doing in terms of getting 3rd parties on board."

In other words if Wii U was getting every major release that comes to the 360/PS3 it might seem like a more solid investment.

Posted by 
 on: 05/06/13, 19:23:17  - Edited by 
 on: 05/06/13, 19:25:20
Scrawnton said:
Also, why did a thread about phone games coming to Wii U turn in to an arguement about why Nintendo should develop for ios.. This shit is the reason why I barely come to this site anymore.

What the hell kind of silly response is this? It's a completely natural direction for the thread to take. Nintendo is approaching the cell phone market in a completely backwards way. This is the kind of "Oh no, Nintendo can't develop games for anything but their own hardware or I'll kill myself!" bullshit I was talking about. WHY DO YOU CARE SO HARD.

Posted by 
 on: 05/06/13, 19:34:46
Except that they're not "courting the cell phone market" as much as they're courting developers for their hardware. So this really isn't the place to rehash the "Nintendo should make cell phone games" discussion.

Posted by 
 on: 05/06/13, 19:37:44
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