Nintendo is finally getting into the smartphone and tablet games business, but that doesn’t mean it has been completely won over by the technology.
Yesterday, Japan’s most respected business newspaper, the Nikkei, reported that Nintendo was going to use Google’s Android operating system as the basis for its next console, codenamed “NX.”
Today, the Japanese game company issued a rare denial: “There is no truth to the report saying that we are planning to adopt Android for NX,” a Nintendo spokesman told The Wall Street Journal.
The obvious benefit of Nintendo using Android is simple: Adopting it would give Nintendo instant access to software developers who are already building programs and apps for the platform. That’s in contrast to its last console, the Wii U, which alienated developers, by requiring them to build for a special touchscreen controller.
It’s unclear from the statement whether Nintendo is denying any involvement with Android, or just on the upcoming NX project. Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata announced in March that the company was working on the “NX,” and that more details would be announced next year.
For many years Nintendo was reluctant to build mobile games because they thought the games devalued the industry because of their low price points. But three months ago, it announced a partnership with DeNA, a mobile development company to build out Nintendo’s suite of intellectual property – which includes iconic gaming franchises and characters like Mario – into games for mobile devices.
The same day Iwata announced “NX” to drive home the point that it was no less interested in building dedicated hardware now that it had a change of heart about mobile.
Over the past few years, the company, which operates its North American headquarters out of Redmond, Wash., has struggled to remain profitable. In its earnings release last month, Nintendo was hopeful about “a new source of revenue is expected from a gaming application for smart devices which will be released this year.” Separately, it was seeking new revenue streams through a partnership with Universal Parks & Resorts to develop Nintendo experiences at Universal theme parks.