updated 09:20 am EST, Wed November 11, 2009
Nintendo chief says DS better than Apple
Nintendo president Satoru Iwata in a talk today denied that handhelds like the DSi LL compete with the iPhone and iPod touch. While he uses an iPhone himself, Iwata explained to the Wall Street Journal that comparisons between the DS series and Apple's devices make him "uncomfortable" as he sees the two targeting different audiences. The DS experience considered unique, particularly as games like the Mario series won't be found on other handhelds.
At a recent public presentation, Iwata admitted that DS games are significantly more expensive but said that Nintendo's goal is to justify the difference. The "future is dark" if the console maker can't give a clear reason to opt for one of its systems over an iPhone or another high-end cellphone, he said.
He added separately that Nintendo won't simply add phone or 3G data features to compete as the typical business model often involves a subscription that children can't afford or which parents can't justify. A Kindle-like business model, where 3G service is factored only into the up-front price, remains an option.
Apple itself has been far more aggressive in comparing the iPhone and iPod touch to both Nintendo's handhelds as well as the Sony PSP, pointing out the relative power of its devices and that even many of its higher-quality games cost a fraction the $30 or more typical for most portable console titles. It's also the only vendor of the three to sell its game library exclusively online where Nintendo and Sony are still tied to retail. Both of the veterans have had to price many downloads similar to retail to avoid threats of retaliation from store chains.