Saturday, December 20, 2008

Encroaching on Nintendo's Turf

Can Nintendo afford to upgrade every so often while mobile devices like smartphones have a shorter upgrade cycle?  The reason I posed this question is because a lot of smartphones and mobile devices are now making gaming one of its main features or soon will be.

Granted that Nintendo has sold millions and made gazillions from its handheld devices dating back to the original Game Boy, I wonder if Nintendo needs to upgrade their devices on at least an annual basis or even shorter cycle given the encroachment of mobile devices like the iPhone and iPod Touch.

More and more, it looks like Apple is serious about making more out of gaming than anything originally though.  I don't see folks getting torn up between Nintendo's DS offerings and iPod Touches when they consider a mobile gaming device yet.  Not for a while.

Nintendo will do just fine if they want to make a device that is gaming first and other functions are secondary.  Nintendo fanboys are just as loyal and likely have a larger following.  If the legendary gaming giant continues to innovate and not take them for granted, they'll follow where Nintendo leads.

And Apple is not the only people Nintendo has to worry about.   While I can't say I have any clue where Apple plans on taking the iPod Touch (I've got a few theories), others like Sony and Microsoft with Apple on the consumer mobile phone front and that means they'll have to offer compelling gaming as well.

Nintendo's problem with Sony is that Sony has a legacy and it is well known world-wide for its phones and Vaio laptops.  Sony can leverage its mobile gaming offerings in ways Nintendo can't.  PSP2 is a bit far off still (according to Yahoo).  But can we expect an iPod Touch-like device from Sony that merges PSP or even creating a "Vaio Touch" with PSP gaming?  Wouldn't you love seeing one of those?

Microsoft could be closer to releasing something to compete with the iPod Touch and iPhone than Sony.  Nintendo doesn't have to worry about Microsoft moving into mobile gaming the way it has to worry about Sony.  For the most part, I'm not sure Redmond knows what it really wants to do.  Zune phone is a given.  Zune gaming is likely but it has to decide if it'll be Zune gaming or Xbox mobile gaming.  Do it wrong and it'll confuse the heck of consumers.

Bottomline for Nintendo is if it can afford for the coming mobile gaming war to come to it or strike out at it's competitors now before it becomes an issue.

Source:  Yahoo News

Note:  I've largely excluded RIM, HP, Dell, and Nokia in all this.  It'll be interesting to see how they can fit into the mobile communication and gaming platform debate.

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