Pokémon is the most successful and lucrative video game franchise in the world, second only to Mario. But despite Nintendo’s firm stance against bringing its games to smartphones and tablets, the makers of Pokémon say there’s still a possibility of playing the game on mobile devices in the future.
Junichi Masuda, the producer and cofounder of Game Freak, which first developed Pokémon, told the London press (via The Telegraph) that Pokemon for iPhone is a “possibility,” even though the higher-ups at Nintendo don’t seem in favour of the idea.
“I’ve got a bit of a resistance from those [safety and security] kind of points of view,” Masuda said, referring to Nintendo’s argument that communication between its 3DS handhelds are far more secure than other mobile devices.
“If it were to reach a stage where I would be happy to hand my iPhone to a 5-year-old and know that, actually, that device and everything about it is safe and secure and I can trust the device in the hands of a 5-year-old, then it would become in the realms of possibility.”
Nintendo has, on numerous occasions, defended its decision not to port its games to mobile devices like iPhones, iPads, and Android devices: Nintendo CEO and President Satoru Iwata said earlier this year that option “is absolutely not under consideration. If we did this, Nintendo would cease to be Nintendo. [Making mobile games is] probably the correct decision in the sense that the moment we started to release games on smartphones we’d make profits. However, I believe my responsibility is not to short-term profits, but to Nintendo’s mid- and long-term competitive strength.”
That said, a Nintendo patent made public last week reveals the company might be planning to extend emulators for its handheld games — namely the Game Boy — to other devices like smartphones and even seat-back displays in aeroplanes. Though patents don’t always see the light of day, the patent suggests Nintendo might be easing up a bit on its restrictive policies toward mobile ecosystems.
This move would make sense, since Nintendo is approaching its first annual profit in four years. But the famous video game company is still struggling to make money due to the intense competition in the mobile landscape — Nintendo’s handheld games cost about $US50, whereas most smartphone games typically sell for $US1.99 or 99 cents. Porting some of its classic games, like Pokémon, to iPhone and Android would certainly provide a nice revenue bump.
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