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I’ve been playing video games since the Atari 2600, and I have a real addiction to all things Mario. Seriously, I’ve even considered a tattoo on the subject. But apparently, Nintendo is a bit afraid of Apple. From Forbes:
Content. Ask Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime what gives Nintendo an edge and he’ll talk about content. And Nintendo needs all the edge it can get. Competitors are everywhere.
“It’s all about time,” Fils-Aime said during a stop byÂ Forbes’ San Francisco offices Thursday. “I compete with Zynga, I compete with surfing the net, I compete with the newspaper.”
Oh, and then there’s Apple.
Look just at the gaming business, however, and Nintendo is doing pretty good. In 2009 Nintendo sold more than 20 million gaming devices. That’s more than Microsoft and Sony put together. Same with the year before.
If you want to find someone doing that kind of volume you’ve got to look outside the game business. At, say, Apple, which is pushing games on the iPhone and iPod touch. Apple sold more 14.1 million iPhones alone during the quarter ending in September.Â “Do I think that in the near term they can hurt us more than Microsoft?” Fils-Aime says. “Absolutely.”
Here’s where Nintendo has an edge, Fils-Aime says. The iPod and iPhone are great for casual games like “Angry Birds” that provide a welcome distraction. Games on the Nintendo DS, by contrast, can consume. Fils-Aime admits he’s spent 150 hours playing Nintendo’s Dragon Quest.
He’s right. I have a DS, but I don’t take it everywhere with me so it languishes on a shelf, unused. Instead, the iPhone gets the most usage because it’s with me 24/7. But I don’t really care how long I can play a game or how deep it goes if it’s inconvenient to carry everywhere. Until Nintendo either ports their games to other consoles or creates a phone of their own, they’re going to have an uphill battle.