Recently, Nintendo has been going against trend. The company, normally known for pushing technological innovation whilst being more conservative in terms of new business practices, has revealed new ventures that seem to go against its traditional strategies. Amiibo, Nintendo’s answer to Skylanders and Disney Infinity, allows players to unlock additional content in compatible Wii U and 3DS titles via collectible figurines. It’s even been revealed that non-Nintendo characters like Mega Man and Sonic will be available in the third wave of Amiibo figurines.
That’s not the only change, either. Mario Kart 8, which became the fastest-selling Wii U game of all time, had a free DLC pack that tied Nintendo’s racing franchise to the Mercedes GLA. The DLC, which made its way to North America after its initial run as a Japanese exclusive, was a surprising move from a company that likes to keep business and intellectual properties in-house. Now, there could be even more cross-company business from the gaming granddaddy.
It’s been revealed that Nintendo has filed a patent to bring Game Boy titles to mobile devices. The patent, which can be found at the US Patent & Trademark Office website, was filed in June. The patent describes a software emulator for Game Boy, Game Boy Colour and Game Boy Advance titles that could be used on mobile devices. That’s not all, though: the patent also suggests that the emulator could be used on a digital personal assistant, or even in a back-seat display for airline or train use.
It would be a move in line with the recommendations of analysts, and a welcome decision for gamers who would like to access the classics on smart phones without resorting to illegal emulator apps. Such a move could also open up classic Nintendo titles to a new generation of young players. Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter has previously suggested that Nintendo should “exit the hardware business” and embrace mobile technology, and has even gone as far as to say that Nintendo could “Dreamcast itself” with the Wii U.
However, this patent is not proof of any of Nintendo’s future plans. It is, in fact, an updated version of a patent that Nintendo applied back in 2012. Instead of a patent for an upcoming move from the company, it could simply be Nintendo solidifying its position on the rights to Game Boy emulation if the time comes for them to invest in other devices. A pessimistic view could be that this is even be the first steps of a clamp-down on the current trend of illegal third-party emulators.
Such a move would certainly fly in the face of other comments from Nintendo and its partners. Speaking recently, Pokémon Producer Junichi Masuda stated that mobile ports were not going to happen any time soon, and that the only reason to move to mobile would be to solve “some kind of problem.” Meanwhile, the recent sales figures of Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire and Super Smash Bros. for 3DS suggests there is life in handheld devices yet.
What do you think? Would a move to mobile devices be wise for Nintendo? Or do you think the smart move is to keep Nintendo properties in-house? Let us know in the comments.