Nintendo is considering wading a little further in the mobile market, but it still isn't prepared to swim.
The game maker plans to officially announce a mobile app for players' Mii avatars, but it is still wary of releasing games for tablets and smartphones.
In an interview with online business magazine Nikkei Asian Review, Nintendo President Satoru Iwata reaffirmed his company's concerns regarding the idea of releasing its intellectual property (IP) on mobile devices. However, he believes players would enjoy using their Mii avatars from the Wii and Wii U consoles on social media.
"We are currently developing an application that will allow users to do that," the Nintendo president stated. "The app will be announced around the time our full-year results are released."
Iwata said the use of Mii outside the Nintendo universe would bolster the bonds between players and their avatars, but the company only sees value in the mobile market's ability to complement console games.
"Prices for content aimed at smartphones and tablets are falling quickly. I am still wary of the category," stated Iwata. "We intend to develop products that will allow customers to identify with Nintendo products and make people pay attention to Nintendo games."
Despite the prodding from investors and game enthusiasts, Nintendo has bucked calls for it to release its iconic games on mobile devices. Nintendo has indicated that releasing its IPs on tablets and smartphones would only eat away at its hardware sales, providing returns that wouldn't be worth sacrificing Wii U and 3DS consoles.
Over the past few years, Nintendo has, perhaps inadvertently, roused speculation among those calling for it to bring its games to mobile devices. A couple of months before revealing the possibility of bringing Miis to social media and mobile devices, Nintendo filed a patent for a GameBoy emulator.
"While GAME BOY.RTM. platforms are inexpensive and have long battery life, there may be situations in which it would be desirable to play or use applications developed for GAME BOY.RTM. on other platforms," stated the patent application (PDF).
In the patent, Nintendo stated that it foresees the use of Game Boy emulators on mobile devices in settings like air and rail travel. The emulators could be integrated into seat-mounted displays, allowing players to search castle after castle for Princess Peach, for example, while they commute via rail.
As intriguing as the idea may sound to some, there is already a thriving community for Nintendo consoles that has created emulators for platforms like Game Boy and the Super Nintendo.
In addition to this solid selection of Nintendo emulators being available for mobile devices, Nintendo's patent application was a resubmission of old forms, and it appears the filing was more an act of prudence than one of intent.