Nintendo says no to promotional mobile games, makes sense

Nintendo claims it will not release demos or minigames on smartphones as a way of enticing people to buy the real thing on Nintendo Wii U or 3DS.  This is a sensible decision, because releasing Nintendo games on smartphones would disguise some of the benefits (and hidden downsides) to playing on a genuine Nintendo games console.

What Super Mario Bros might look like on the iPhone
What Super Mario Bros might look like on the iPhone

Gamers trying Nintendo games on a smartphone or tablet would miss important parts of the Wii U or 3DS experience.  For example, they would not have the dual-screen play available on both Nintendo consoles, or the tactile physical controls that provide the signature Nintendo-style control that’s smooth and precise.  And they would miss the auto-stereoscopic 3D that’s unique to the 3DS.

On the other hand, if these demos and minigames did convince people to buy a Nintendo console and full-price Nintendo games, players might be put off by the screen resolutions that are so much lower than the ones on their smartphones or tablets.  In other words, the promotional material would be unrepresentative of the actual product.

Wii U gamepad: not like a smartphone
Wii U gamepad: nothing like a smartphone

Targeting promotional games at smartphone and tablet users would probably fail to sell people on the unique and defining features of Nintendo’s consoles, and those who are convinced may feel let down by products that are superficially worse than the promotion.

Smart move by Nintendo to reject this option, but there’s always time for a classic corporate U-turn.

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