The announcement I wish Nintendo would make


This morning I stumbled across M.G. Siegler’s post on the death of Nintendo, which he says has been “greatly under-exaggerated.” Like Siegler, I’m a fan of Nintendo. But I don’t think they’re completely dead. There is one final Hail Mary pass that I think Nintendo has to inevitably throw before completely tossing in the towel. And that’s the Nintendo Phone.

Of course, this is the product that they should have launched back in 2009, when the iPod Touch was spared a camera upgrade in favor of positioning it as a gaming machine.

I was a huge Nintendo DS fan at the time, and I remember noticing some clever homebrewers running VoIP applications on a Nintendo DS. It seemed to me back then that if Nintendo added phone capabilities to the DS, that in terms of pure function, they would be offering essentially the same device as Apple. Not as cool of course. But it would have been interesting.

As we all know, things didn’t turn out that way.

But is there still time? I mean, now that casual games have taken over the planet via the smartphone, doesn’t the world’s most experienced maker of casual games even have a chance if they rolled out a phone right now?

And with that in mind, I went and drafted my dream ‘Nintendo phone’ announcement. As you do. In my head. It’s not real, so you’ve all been warned.

Nintendo unveils the DS phone, ‘Nintendo classic’ subscription plan, and Pokemon Glass™

Today Nintendo is proud to announce that it will be releasing the next evolution of its DS lineup, the Nintendo DS Phone™. The product comes via a partnership with Kyocera, a company already experienced in making a dual-screen mobile phone with its Kyocera Echo handset.

Nintendo president Satoru Iwata elaborated:

Both companies are headquartered in Kyoto, Japan, making this a natural partnership. We have heard our fans repeated demands to have our games made available for mobile, and this announcement is proof that we haven’t completely ignored them at all for years and years.

To ensure that fans hit the ground running with plenty of games when they first purchase our DS Phone™, Nintendo are making its entire back catalogue of classic games available for instant download as of today, as part of the ‘Nintendo Classic’ subscription plan. For just $1.99 per month, fans can get iconic games like Super Mario Bros, The Legend of Zelda, Mario Kart, Final Fantasy, Metroid and hundreds more.

Never a company known to sadly stagnate, Nintendo has also completely refreshed its Pokemon franchise to once again take the lead as the world’s premier gaming company. By working with augmented reality pioneer Takehito Iguchi and his new company Telepathy, Nintendo has created Pokemon Glass™, a new geo-location game that lets you collect and train Pokemon that you find at different locations in the real world [1]. Telepathy recently raised $5 million to develop it’s wearable Google Glass-like technology.

Iwata added that he hopes that Pokemon Glass™ can spark tourism in Japan, with super rare localized Pokemon that can only be obtained by traveling to certain regions and cities, starting with the Tohoku region. Nintendo will also work with local travel agencies to develop informative in-game content around local landmarks where rare Pokemon can be obtained.

More games are set to be announced at the Tokyo Game Show this year, an event that Nintendo swears it will not skip this time.

  1. There’s actually a little bit of reality to this notion, as Iguchi-san hypothesized such a game when I interviewed him back in 2009.  ↩