Do you believe that Nintendo is on the way to becoming a “software only” company thanks to competition from the likes of Apple’s App Store and Android devices like the Google Nexus 7 tablet? If you ask long-time industry veteran Bing Gordon, he says that the idea isn’t that far-fetched at all—in fact, he’s betting that’s exactly what will happen.
As the former chief creative officer of EA and a current board member of Zynga and Amazon, Bing Gordon probably knows a thing or two about where the gaming industry will be headed in the next handful of years. In an in-depth interview with GamesIndustry, he covered a wide net of topics about the state of gaming, including predictions regarding the current “big three” console makers.
When talking about Nintendo’s future projects, Gordon even suggested that they would eventually enter a partnership with Apple as their console and handheld systems felt the pinch from tablets and phones:
I think Nintendo’s already on track to become primarily a software company. We saw that with Sega back in the day; Sega made some missteps and became primarily a software company.
Nintendo hasn’t really made missteps, Nintendo probably has better creative talent and better leadership now than Sega did. It’s got the most robust business model, the best creative talent; Miyamoto’s still the best in the business. Apple’s most directly competitive with Nintendo. So far, when Miyamoto makes a perfect game, in his career he makes games worth $200 – it’s worth buying a system for. I think the handheld is going to be under a lot of pressure. I can imagine a day when Nintendo wonders – and maybe it’s generational change – when Nintendo wonders if they ought to take some of their best games and make them apps.
Nintendo going the way of Sega seems a bit extreme to imagine, but industry trends aren’t exactly in their favor. Nintendo has been under a lot of pressure from investors to move into the app and mobile gaming space, a section of the video game market where Sony, Microsoft, and almost every other important gaming company have already claimed important ground.
Gordon did note that Shigeru Miyamoto was essentially the linchpin holding Nintendo’s console efforts together, stating that “as long as Miyamoto’s coming to work,” the Big N could likely hold down a gaming system of some sort. As far as the competition goes, Microsoft doesn’t seem to have anything to worry about for the near future, as Gordon called their Xbox 360 a major “consumer miracle” effort.