Nintendo is in big trouble. It’s just reported massive annual losses of around £146 million and slashed projected sales of its Wii U console down to 2.8 million.
Forecasted sales of its handheld 3DS are down to just 13.5 million.
But amid the gloom, there’s some excitement for mobile users. And for that we’ve got company’s chief Satoru Iwata revelation that the company may finally be ready to heed the heed the call of gadget and games fans and enter the mobile market.
Addressing investors last week, he said: “We are thinking about a new business structure. Given the expansion of smart devices, we are naturally studying how smart devices can be used to grow the game-player business.
“It’s not as simple as enabling Mario to move on a smartphone.”
What does this mean? Well, a Nintendo tablet, or even a phone, seems the most likely move.
The games giant doesn’t licence its classic characters for use on mobile platforms, so if it wanted to maintain that strict control, it’d need to release its own device, possibly backed by Google’s Android software.
That way it could let punters access the heaps of other superb games on Google Play while also giving them a taste of Mario, Zelda et al on a so-called ‘smart device’.
That’s an intriguing prospect, sure. But is it one that’d sell?
Perhaps. But then the whole reason Nintendo is struggling to make itself relevant is its failure to get on board with the wider mobile revolution.
Why should iPad, Nexus 7 or Kindle Fire users ditch their tablets for a gaming-focused slate? There’s no need.
The whole reason tablets and smartphones are so popular is their agnostic, do-it-all approach.
Having a device that does one thing well and the rest badly is no way to be a success in today’s tech landscape.
So, what else can Nintendo do? Iwata claims that the way to recovery is “not as simple as enabling Mario to move on a smartphone".
He’s got a point. But surely that’s a start at least?
Ok, the money to be made might not match that cleared in previous years of plenty, but you can bet iOS and Android users would snaffle Mario games in their millions.
MarioKart, Super Mario, Pokemon and all of Nintendo’s superb titles are made for being played on the move.
So why not break the habit of a lifetime and see how well they do on different platforms?
The idea of a Nintendo tablet is undoubtedly exciting for some. But for most, Nintendo games on existing platforms is far more enticing.
So stop the prevaricating and bring these amazing titles to devices that are already ready and waiting for the little plumber and his pals.