Nintendo of America’s Reggie Fils-Aime is known to be candid about his thoughts, and he’s recently gone on record as stating who he thinks the biggest threat to Nintendo’s market share is. Talking to Forbes, Mr. Fils-Aime stated that Apple – and not Microsoft – is a bigger threat to his company’s position.
“Do I think that in the near term they can hurt us more than Microsoft? Absolutely,”
He went on to note that while games like Angry Birds are a welcome distraction, Nintendo is still going to dominate due to their more immersive titles. He noted to Forbes that fourteen of the top twenty selling games of this generation are Nintendo titles, eight of which are revolved around Mario, and using Dragon Quest IX as an example, he went on to note that he’s put 150 hours into the game. The implication is clear: people use Apple’s devices for appetizers, but when it comes to the main course, they go back to Nintendo.
Apple’s target audience, compared to Microsoft and even Sony, overlaps Nintendo’s pretty heavily. They both appeal best to the casual market. However, Apple’s devices aren’t gaming devices first; the games are just another attraction to more important services, such as the ability to talk on the phone, read e-books, listen to music, etc. It’s true that a few games have had massive success on the iWhatevers, and Nintendo’s similar service – DSiWare – is a failure in comparison largely due to the prices in comparison, but the margin for error is huge; you either succeed well, or fail spectacularly on Apple’s devices. Furthermore, the fact that Apple’s tied to AT+T (and Verizon in 2011) will always limit penetration.
It would perhaps be more apropos to say that all mobile devices – which get mostly the same games – are a threat to Nintendo’s market share, which includes Google’s Android as well as Apple’s devices. But I think Apple’s too spread out to be a serious threat in the gaming sphere.