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Legendary Nintendo designer won’t be making iOS or Android games

Published Mar 20th, 2015 9:41AM EDT
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Earlier this week, gamers rejoiced amidst news that Nintendo is planning to bring some of its most storied and beloved franchises to smartphones and tablets. As we highlighted earlier in the week, this is an opportunity Nintendo has long neglected, not only to the detriment of gamers, but to its own bottom line as well.

Nintendo sits on a gold mine of underutilized properties. It hasn’t been bothered to do another Advance Wars game despite its rabid global fan base that would pay $70 a pop for a new iteration. It has lost its passion for Castlevania and Metroid. It has neglected the clever little puzzle games that defined the early Nintendo DS years. Many of these franchises are perfect fits for tablet. Advance Wars games were practically designed to be played on large touch screens and came out years before tablets were even on the market.

While it remains to be seen what type of games Nintendo and its mobile gaming partner DeNA bring to the table, it’s worth noting that Nintendo’s legendary ace-in-the-hole game designer won’t be involved in the process.

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In a recent interview with TIMENintendo CEO Satoru Iwata was asked if Shigeru Miyamoto would be involved in any smartphone or tablet game development. For those not familiar with the Miyamoto name, odds are you’re extremely familiar with his work. Miaymoto is the genius behind classic franchises like Super Mario Brothers, Zelda, and many others. Put simply, Miyamoto is a gaming legend of the highest order. And while it’d be amazing if Miyamoto’s talents were spent designing new and incredible iPhone games, that’s unfortunately not in the cards.

Iwata explained that Miaymoto will remain focused on, surprise surprise, Nintendo games.

As for any involvement of Mr. Miyamoto, we will discuss it when possible, but for now, understand that his priority is on the development of Wii U titles that will be launched this year.

And it’s certainly understandable. After all, why not keep Miyamoto busy on Nintendo’s own hardware rather than letting him develop games for competing devices. Incidentally, it’s also worth noting that Nintendo has no plans, as of yet, to port any of its existing titles to iOS and Android.

To that point, Nintendo’s press release reads in part:

To ensure the quality of game experience that consumers expect from this alliance of Nintendo and DeNA, only new original games optimized for smart device functionality will be created, rather than porting games created specifically for the Wii U home console or the Nintendo 3DS portable system.

Nonetheless, Nintendo’s announcement this week was welcomed by all. And even though Miyamoto won’t be taking a look at iOS anytime soon, it’ll be a joyous day when official Nintendo titles finally make their way to Google Play and the App Store.

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.