Thursday, August 11, 2011 at 4:35 pm.

Of course Nintendo should make iPhone games

I’m not alone: A Japan fund manager is the latest to argue that Nintendo should be creating games for the red-hot iPhone gaming platform. (Here’s my post from March, 2010, on the subject.)

Of course Nintendo should make iOS apps, for the same reason Microsoft, Google, and other huge, rival companies already are: Because iOS is the leading software platform in the fastest growing computing category — mobile and tablets. While Nintendo’s peers like Electronic Arts are building mindshare, franchises, and expertise, Nintendo is on the sidelines.

The counterargument, of course, is that Nintendo, like Apple, is only interested in making integrated software and hardware products. And that by making iOS games, Nintendo would effectively be competing with itself, and undermining its own platforms.

But the reality is that Nintendo doesn’t have a platform right now that is competitive with iOS. So its other option is to miss out completely, and that’s a losing alternative. (See what has happened to many other fields disrupted by smartphones, including GPS and digital cameras.) The industry is changing, and the real winners adapt.

Nintendo shouldn’t only make iOS games, but it can’t hurt to make a few. There’s no harm in experimenting with a few retro Mario games on iOS — which will be huge — while R&D figures out what’s next. The worse alternative is to sit still and be forgotten.

This isn’t a perfect analogy, but it reminds me a bit of where RIM/BlackBerry was a few years ago, when executives insisted that they weren’t missing the boat on where the smartphone industry was going. And you know how that turned out.

Also: Instagram is quickly becoming the next great social network