Both Reggie Fils-Aime and Satoru Iwata have expressed their opinions on mobile gaming, stating that Nintendo is not interested in conforming to what they called a “quality over quantity model.” Obviously, they’re referring to the low price point of games found on the App Store that release far too often and rarely ever provide a satisfying gaming experience. Hideki Konno, project lead on the 3DS, voiced his opinion in an interview with Gamasutra. Not surprisingly, Konno’s sentiments toward App Store pricing are on par with what Fils-Aime and Iwata had stated previously, though he did go into more detail.
According to Konno, games within an incredibly low price range just don’t offer the value and substance that major releases like Call of Duty do. While he’d be extremely excited to buy a Call of Duty game for 100 yen (a little over $1), Konno stressed that higher quality wouldn’t be possible with such a low price: “The only way you’re going to get a game at that price point is if it’s a limited version with limited levels or something.”
Konno is definitely on to something, and he added even credibility to his statements by revealing that he has no qualms with mobile gaming: “I’m not trying to say that I think games on cell phones are a bad thing; I’m not trying to say that they’re worthless, or have no value at all. I’m just saying that they’re just different.”
I agree with Konno that mobile gaming is different. Games on handsets offer small bursts of entertainment for people on the go or for more casual gamers. But while Nintendo explains the difference in the console and mobile gaming markets, naming the lack of quality as the reason for the low price point, mobile devs continue to make bold statements about how consoles are dying at the hands of mobile gaming and how Angry Birds is the next Super Mario Bros. It’s quite ridiculous when you think about it.
Mobile gaming is on a meteoric rise, but I highly doubt playing small-scale games on handsets will ever replace the enjoyment of playing a surreal, intellectual, or simply engaging game in front of a computer monitor or big screen TV. Nintendo isn’t worried about competing with the current standard of App Store prices because there is no real cause for concern. Core gamers looking for deeper gaming experiences will continue to pay $30 to $60 for games on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii, DS, and 3DS. The day that games start popping up on those platforms for $1 is when people are going to be extremely underwhelmed with the quality of those titles.