Nintendo 2015 and beyond

Nintendo can probably afford the occasional stagnating console; what it cannot afford (in the long run) is the slow dilution of its core franchises.

The next shift.

As a follow-on to the 3DS generation, they might want to consider developing a snappy clam-shell smart phone that is primarily a portable gaming console.  Think about a low-power e-ink screen (or similar interface) for phone calls and other minor tasks in the closed position.  Maintain and improve the Streetpass feature set.  Do not use Android.  Do consider Ubuntu or Firefox OS.*

Why this could work.  Adults are unlikely to give up their existing smart device/app collection but are probably already playing their portable gaming device(s) in the comfort of home anyway.  Look into it.  Children in the market for their first smart phone would be the primary target for a converged experience.  Their minimum third-party app requirements will be lessor than their parents and those few they’re inclined to use could, in most cases, be ported.

EDIT: A less expensive phone incapable version might be released alongside the flagship device.  But both versions should be able to communicate via some form of root-level walkie-talkie app.

Contrary to some contemporary opinion on the subject Nintendo does indeed need to remain in the proprietary hardware space.

Final note.  The legacy of the Wii U (including the supposedly ‘controversial’ tablet controller) has not yet been written or (I’m inclined to think) accurately foreseen.

*Consider Tizen with care.  It could be a candidate if a hardware licensing deal is needed.  But be cautious about this approach as Samsung will one day [I predict] try to acquire the company wholesale.  Nintendo, even as an independently operated subsidiary, would lose something.

Published in: on June 12, 2014 at 11:08 am  Comments (1)  
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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. I liked your idea, but I don’t think making the DS into a phone is the way forward.

    Just by adding a SIM card slot into the console, the very definition of the device changes. It would essentially become a ‘smartphone’.

    You could say, “Hey, it is just a handheld with the ability to make calls, like the Nokia N-Gage was”, and you wouldn’t be wrong.

    But the trigger-happy big dogs in the industry : Apple, Samsung and Nokia (now Microsoft), would clearly see it as a threat. And an opportunity for litigation, given their absurd patent portfolio.

    On operating systems, I would rather Nintendo used their own proprietary OS, for two reasons. First, as it is their own system, it reduces the hassle and dependence on other projects. Manageability improves.

    FirefoxOS and Ubuntu Touch are both young, and apart from lacking the graphical capabilities, would have to be manually ported to Nintendo’s proprietary platform. That is a whole lotta work you do not want to do.

    Ubuntu Touch, specifically, won’t be considered, as it is licensed under the GNU General Public License, Version 3. This license would force Nintendo to not apply any hardware restrictions to the console.

    Plus, they would also have to release all their changes and improvements to the public. Making it available to competitors.

    (See and

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