If you can’t beat them join them. With the iPhone days away from being launched Nintendo has apparently begun working with Apple, licensing a limited amount of content for the new phone. It was rumored a while back that Nintendo was planning on releasing a phone on their own, however this was scuttled shortly after the iPhone was first shown in January.
These exclusive games will be released on the iTunes Store at a $29.00 price point a few months after the iPhone launches. No word on whether Nintendo will be distributing iPod versions of these games. A major hangup in development has been the lack of buttons on the iPhone that was remedied by a touchscreen D-pad. One might wonder how Nintendo fans may see view playing on a phone without a traditional D-pad.
Asked anonymously whether or not these games would cut into Nintendo DS sales, we heard a resounding no. The logic is that because the licensed games will be exclusive and cater to an older audience they should not intrude into Nintendo’s existing markets.
The one thing Nintendo does worry about is their amount of control of Apple. While not developing a cell phone internally has its advantages, giving up control of platform has not historically been a practice Nintendo has taken. Nevertheless Nintendo sees gaming on Mobile Smart Phones as a threat to their core business and a partnership with Apple could be seen as a bold move into a very profitable market. One thing is for sure Nintendo should expect to share in the marketing spotlight of the iPhone in the same way that AT&T has.