The handheld console wars will be reignited this year with the launch of Nintendo's 3DS and Sony's PSP successor, still referred to as NGP (Next Generation Portable). Both companies are pursuing different strategies when it comes to modern mobile gaming, and Nintendo's Satoru Iwata thinks Sony's 3G/semi-smartphone approach may be prohibitively expensive.
Iwata specifically called out 3G connectivity in a recent interview. While it is cool to be able to access the internet from anywhere a mobile data connection exists, doing so costs additional money. Iwata said that by charging users a monthly fee to use the device to its full potential, it already loses some of its appeal and possible user base.
The 3DS, he contends, is a different animal from both NGP and smartphones. "We're making software that is packed with the kinds of surprises and enjoyment that only the 3DS can deliver," promised Iwata. He also wants to see the 3DS achieve and surpass the DS' 140 million units sold worldwide. "We'd like to increase this even further with the 3DS," he said. A tall order, for sure.
Nintendo is in a precarious position as the only console manufacturer that doesn't dabble in other consumer electronics as well. The market is shifting, with smartphones becoming an increasingly popular part of the industry. Microsoft has Windows Phone 7 and Sony Ericsson is working on the Xperia phone, giving Nintendo's competitors a chance to cash in on the mobile gaming sector.
Nintendo, meanwhile, has to hope consumers will still find value in dedicated devices that primarily play video games.
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Mar 1, 2011