Touch-screen, free-to-play Pokémon. It sounds like a license to print money, but Nintendo doesn’t want anything to do with it.
Nintendo chief executive officer Satoru Iwata says that the gaming company isn’t ready to release its popular titles on smartphones and tablets yet. That’s despite the fact that its stock price fell 17 percent on the Tokyo Stock Exchange to 13,120 yen ($126) early this morning. Investors are bailing on the company after Nintendo revised its outlook from a full-year net profit of $530 million to a loss of $240 million late last week.
Iwata held a press conference on Friday, where he insisted he wouldn’t resign and handled questions about releasing Nintendo games on smartphones. Several Japanese developers are making huge profits by releasing free-to-play titles on Android and iOS. A Pokémon-style release called Puzzle & Dragons was making nearly $4 million every day at certain points of 2013.
“The spread of smart devices does not spell the end of game consoles. It’s not that simple,” Iwata said in a press conference (as translated by The Wall Street Journal).
Instead, Iwata said that Nintendo needs to leverage smartphones to inform people about its games. That means Nintendo might release apps that tie into its titles, but it won’t release original games for mobile platforms.
“It doesn’t mean that we should put Mario on smartphones,” said Iwata.
Nintendo’s bleak situation is primarily due to the Wii U’s performance. The company’s latest home console isn’t selling. As part of its revised outlook, Nintendo revealed that it now expects only to sell 2.9 million Wii Us for the year ending March 31. That’s down from the 9 million that Nintendo originally expected to sell.
Gamers are instead flocking to the new consoles from Sony and Microsoft. The PlayStation 4 and Xbox One systems debuted in November, and both are selling better than their predecessors or the Wii U.
A bright spot for Nintendo is its 3DS handheld — although that still isn’t selling quite as well as Nintendo predicted. The company originally predicted it would sell 18 million 3DS units for its fiscal year. That number is now down to 13.5 million. Despite its failures to sell as Nintendo expected, the 3DS was still the best-selling piece of gaming hardware for all of 2013 in the U.S.