Death By A Thousand Cuts: The iPhone Is Killing Nintendo


No one wants to buy a Nintendo 3DS when they have hundreds of thousands of games in their pocket already.
No one wants to buy a Nintendo 3DS when they have hundreds of thousands of games in their pocket already. Mario knows that.
Photo: Ninten

Apple’s iOS devices have been stealing market share from portable consoles since the day the App Store opened its doors. Four years later, they have led Nintendo to report its first ever annual operating loss of $454.4 million.

Of course, the fact that the Japanese company hasn’t released a new console in nearly six years has also helped contribute to its $454.4 million loss between 2011 and 2012. But the company’s biggest problem is that its latest handheld, the Nintendo 3DS, just hasn’t taken off as it had hoped.

The portable’s launch was dismal, and Nintendo admitted that there just weren’t enough big titles available at launch to provide the device with a successful start. Just several months after its release, Nintendo slashed the price of the 3DS to just $169.99 in an effort to improve its sales figures, but the console is still struggling to build up any momentum.

It’s not that the Nintendo 3DS is a terrible console; the device builds upon the success of its predecessors by introducing glasses-free 3D technology and processing power that “far exceeds the Nintendo Wii.” It’s that Apple’s devices are, well, better… in so many ways.

Apple’s record-breaking quarter — thanks mostly to the iPhone — proves that iOS devices are selling faster than anyone had ever predicted. And of course, one of the most appealing things about an iOS device is its App Store, which provides access to over half a million titles.

It’s never been easier to access such a library of mobile titles, many of which rival — and often even exceed — those played on dedicated handheld consoles. And with prices starting at $0.99 and rarely exceeding $5, there’s just no reason to spend $35 on a game that you need yet another device to play. Your iPhone is already in your pocket.

Nintendo is now targeting yet another reduction for the 3DS with hopes that it can turn things around. It is also has a new console, the Wii U, set to launch within the next year.

But I know one way the company could make big bucks, and fast: Swallow its pride and bring Super Mario to iOS. Come on, Nintendo!

[via TUAW]


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