According to Bloomberg investors are clamouring for Nintendo to bring their hit franchises to the iPhone. The investors feel that Nintendo has lost touch with the current market and would be wise to bring Mario and company to Apples iPhone.
In “Super Mario 3DLand,” Nintendo Co. will make its iconic Italian plumber battle turtle-like Koopa Troopas on its 3-D player. The company instead should develop titles for Apple Inc. (AAPL)’s iPhone, investors say.
The rift highlights the dilemma President Satoru Iwata faces as consumers shun Nintendo devices to play games on iPhones, iPads and Facebook Inc.’s website. The flop of the 3DS debut prompted the company to slash prices 40 percent in Japan starting today, the first time the games developer has resorted to such a move within six months of a product’s debut.
Iwata, who’s said Nintendo will only make titles for its own products as long as he’s in charge, should scrap that strategy to avoid further alienating investors who’ve driven the stock to six-year lows, fund manager Masamitsu Ohki said. One option may be acquisitions as the past successes of the Wii and DS helped Nintendo, the world’s largest video-game maker, build a 1.05 trillion yen ($13.7 billion) war chest in cash, equivalents and short-term investments.
“Smartphones are the new battlefield for the gaming industry,” said Ohki, a fund manager at Tokyo-based Stats Investment Management Co. “Nintendo should try to either buy its way into this platform or develop something totally new.”
He declined to identify his holdings or to name any companies that Kyoto, Japan-based Nintendo should consider as acquisition targets. Yasuhiro Minagawa, a spokesman at Nintendo, declined to comment beyond statements made previously by Iwata.
Ohki isn’t alone in saying Iwata should reconsider his strategy. On July 6, Nintendo shares jumped the most in almost four months after Pokemon Co., a former unit, said it’s developing a game for the iPhone and handsets running on Mountain View, California-based Google Inc.’s Android software. JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) sent a note to clients saying the move indicated Nintendo may begin making titles for products outside its proprietary hardware.
Hours later, Nintendo denied any change in strategy, and the shares surrendered gains.
“They just don’t get it,” MF Global FXA Securities Ltd. said in a sales note that day, referring to Nintendo. “Sell the stock, because a management once feted for creative out-of-box thinking have just shown how behind the times they are.”
Given the concerns over the outlook of Nintendo’s handheld and home-console business, which account for most of the company’s profit and sales, Nintendo should make better use of its more than $10 billion cash pile, investor Tetsuro Ii said.
“Nintendo should aggressively make acquisitions or increase returns to its shareholders,” said Ii, president of Tokyo-based Commons Asset Management Inc., which held 2,200 Nintendo shares as of February, according to the company’s website. “It’s management’s task to consider how to make use of the cash.”