On Nintendo going mobile

The Mobile World Congress is hardly interesting anymore these days.

I’ve only been in the tech business for a few handful years and already I am no longer thrilled upon hearing announcements and reveals of new phones.

What is there to expect anyway? Phones with bigger and brighter screens? Phones with more RAM and more processing power? Those things are expected. Now, if the newest Galaxy S phone ended up having 720p instead of 2K, then we’ll have something serious to talk about why that happened. Otherwise, it’s the same old thing year after year.

One positive thing here, we’re getting phones that are powerful enough to run original PlayStation games. We got “Grand Theft Auto III” in the whatever-app stores for years, and then we’re getting hit by other titles, notably “Final Fantasy VII” and “IX.” In no time, we’ll have most FF titles on-the-go.

If you check out Ubisoft, they have been making a ton of mobile apps and tossing them for download in the Play Store and the App Store. It’s good that more developers are considering mobile as their next biggest step, with VR and that, almost everyone in the world has a smartphone, which is where all the money leads to. So it’s natural the industry follows. Though I’m not saying consoles and PC gaming will go away, they will just have a reduced population.

Nintendo is starting their move to mobile, beginning with the “Miitomo” mobile app. It looks like they have joined the gold rush in mobile applications. If things go awry with the new console, then, at least Nintendo has built a small foundation to move to, at least, for the time being.

Even Konami is claimed mobile is the future. Though I think that’s just a smoke screen, what else can Konami do without Kojima anyway? None. That’s right. None. Kojima IS Konami. Besides, when Konami said mobile is the future, I think they meant mobile is Konami’s future, cause they no longer have a place in consoles and PC gaming. Anyway….

It’s also good that phone makers are taking notice too. Since the iPhone 6 and 6+, Apple has been dedicated in improving mobile gaming experiences. With games like “Monument Valley” and “Shadowun: Dragonfall,” more gamers, both casual and serious ones, are diving into mobile.

Going back to MWC, Samsung has announced that the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge will feature gaming capabilities. LG, as far as I know, despite mentioning VR, hasn’t really said anything too much about mobile games. They did however, introduced LG Friends.

If you haven’t heard, the LG G5 is a modular-ish device. A modular device allows its users to upgrade only certain components the user deems necessary. You can take out the G5’s bottom slider, which holds its battery. Separate the module from the battery and plug another module with a different function into the battery and slide it back in to the G5. The “Friends” part is the upcoming accessories and modules that will make the G5 experience flexible.

Now, this seems to be the perfect opportunity for Nintendo to start partnering with other companies. If they could co-develop new modules for the G5, they will be able to bring out the most out of their new platform.

For instance, Windows (and in extension, Xbox) is having the Oculus Rift, Vive, and HoloLens. PlayStation is getting their own PlayStation VR. What about Nintendo? We got zero information about their VR. In fact, they don’t seem interested to go into mobile for 1) They realize it will be a niche market, and their platform has already been niche as it is or 2) They don’t have the budget and unwilling to take too big of risks, which is a shame – considering Nintendo introduced VR in the ‘90s with Virtual Boy.

Mobile devices on the other hand, are getting a slew of VR headsets, the Gear VR and the LG’s own VR, seem to the most promising, until first four mentioned above take over.

If Nintendo plays ball for a while, they will have a decent market for VR. And even without all this VR stuff, it’s never going to replace standard gaming anyway, but a module that can play 3DS games will be gold. Though, that should require a lot of re-tweaking to accommodate from two-screen to single-screen. Modules that are compatible to Amiibo should make people feel their investment over these figures to worthwhile as it use continues to expand.

Then again, mobile users is a niche market. Not everyone will be interested to play Nintendo games. But, we’ll see. It looks like “Pokemon Go,” is among the first wave of experiments they are going to launch for the company’s hope.

There’s a lot of good stuff lying around for Nintendo to use. We need them to succeed. We all want to. Let hardware issues become someone else’s problem for a while. At least, this should give Nintendo some time to carefully evaluate their situation and how to tackle it. For a long time already, Nintendo has tried to turn their systems, particularly the DS, into social networking devices. Looks like they haven’t changed their plans about it, just switch platforms.

In any case, Nintendo is not giving up just yet in good old console gaming. We still have the NX to look forward to.

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