Pokemon going mobile
The company behind the addictive role-playing series announced plans this week to develop a free Pokemon-based rhythm game for iOS and Android smartphones. And that, somewhat understandably, has led to speculation that Nintendo might be tempering its opinion about mobile gaming and considering making games for other systems.
The company was quick to shoot down the rumors, though, with a spokesperson saying Nintendo's plans to develop software exclusively for its own hardware "hasn't changed and won't change."
Confused? You're not alone.
It turns out that while Pokemon has been a loyal Nintendo staple, the company that makes the game is technically independent. Nintendo owns a 32 percent stake, but that's not enough to force the company to bypass other systems.
As a result, Pokemon Tap will hit the app store later this summer.
Nintendo has been quite critical of the mobile gaming market historically. At this year's Game Developer Conference, global president Satoru Iwata took the rhetoric to a new level, saying the explosion in cheap and free apps has devalued game development and could eventually put the industry at risk.
"Smart phones and social network platforms are not at all like our [industry]," he told developers. "These verticals have no motivation to maintain the high value of video games. For them, content is something that is created by someone else. Quantity is what makes the money for them. Quantity is how they profit. The quality of video game software does not matter to them. ... The fact is: What we produce has value and we should protect that value."
The company has good reason to fear smartphones. Flurry Analytics says Nintendo controlled a 70 percent stake of the portable game software market in the U.S. in 2009. At the time, Apple devices held just a 19 percent share.
Just one year later, Nintendo's market share had fallen to 57 percent, while iOS and Android combined controlled 34 percent of the market.
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