If Nintendo released a mobile phone


Well-Known Member
Apr 17, 2016
Super NES
If Nintendo was to release it's own mobile phone:
  • What name would be suitable?
  • What would be some competitor beating features?
  • What about an idea on style?
It's going to sound really sad but I can imagine a phone that:
Is called PhoNintendo, Nintenphone.
Competitor beating feature would be that with the standard features of txt and phonecalls, you could also invite people in your phonebook to join you in multiplayer games on the device wherever you are.
The style: it would look just like a classic gameboy, colours and all. Imagine the tech they could cram in that brick of a space.
I have no idea how it would work. Nintendo has never released a device that wasn't centered around gaming, and smartphones have sort of stabilized into generic slabs. Anything Nintendo would come out with would focus on leveraging their gaming history, but there won't be much interest in a new N-Gage.

I think Nintendo has achieved a form of cultural immortality, where their systems are the best possible solution for playing Nintendo quality games.
They wouldn't. Nintendo I HOPE will not make a phone. If they did there would be no superior features they could add. I have thought they should just stick to video games, even a megaman watch was just going to far.
If the implementation was pretty good, I would buy a Nintendo phone and pay up to $300 for it. $350 if it can compete with some of the higher end phones.
The higher end phones can't even compete with the higher end phones. The smartphone market is stuck in a rat race where all the phones are barely distinguishable from each other and the more unique features get generally ignored. And even if you make the perfect phone, it's obsolete and garbage within three months. There's absolutely no money to be made.

You never specified the OS. If Nintendo makes a custom OS or even forks android, the phone will be DOA. Blackberry and Amazon have learned the cold harsh reality that not having access to the Google Play app store will kill your phone, even if it's perfectly capable of running Android apps. While being able to play Mario on a phone might be nice, it's a communications tool front and center. That means phonecalls text messages whatsapp line instagram facebook knowlegetree and a million other apps that are the One Thing that someone or another relies on and needs on their phone. There's no getting around that the Android and iOS app stores are now vital to any phone on the market. The percentage of phones that have access to either the App Store or Google Play amount to at least 95% of all phones sold.

If Nintendo uses an authorized Android OS build, they no longer have full control of their system. One of Nintendo's defining traits is that their games and systems are as glitch free as humanly possible (compared to Bethesda, for example). Using Android opens the phone up to a multitude of issues Nintendo can't control. Google can push an update that breaks a game, or a user can install an app that fucks things up. The game cannot take maximum advantage of the hardware, as the OS and other apps will be sucking the CPU dry. I don't think Nintendo can even use their own game store, so they would have to rely on Google Play and have everything linked to your Google ID.

And that's not even covering the rampant piracy that Android OS has, where people would most likely crack the games to install on their own phones. That last one is a biggie. Nintendo would be forced to sell a smartphone at near cost in order to compete, but attempts to make money by selling games would be foiled by people simply choosing to pirate the games.

The smartphone market is not a nice place. Nintendo has no business making a smartphone.

Incidentally, what did you think a so-called Nintendo phone would look like? Is it a generic slab with no tactile feedback, or does it have a whole slew of buttons and joypads that add cost and get in the way when you want to make a call? Look how chunky the 3DS and Pro Controller are. They need to be, in order to have decent travel on the physical controls. Now look at the phone in your pocket. If it's anything like mine, it's pretty fucking skinny. There would be no room for usable triggers on it, and you're dreaming if you expect a circle pad or even the c-stick. Yes, you can make the phone thicker, but then you lose pocketability big time. Are you really going to wear a phone holster like an old Crackberry addict?

The 3DS and the Wii did one thing, and they did it well. That's why they were successful. Nintendo has never been a company that made a jack of all trades product, and never will.

I'm sorry that I'm kind of hostile about this. Maybe it's because I have SDAM, but all the facts of the smartphone world and of Nintendo's actions are very clear that such an attempt would be a suicide run, and Nintendo would not even attempt it. There is simply no benefit, and it won't even make something that you'll stare at nostalgically when you rediscover it in a box in your attic.
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Yeah, I agree, grahamf, definitely it's out of the question. Nintendo cannot be successful in the smartphone industry. Heck they can't even maintain their market share with the gaming industry! But to answer OP's question - since it seems his question is not about viability but more about a "what if" situation:

I think their smartphone will have real time support and access to your Nintendo accounts, like MiiVerse but improved greatly. I think it may offer exclusive streaming platform for gamers playing on consoles and such. I agree with the style not being too far off the classic gameboy. :)
You are all right that have said it just wouldn't work.
Things do fail when direction is watered down and nothing gets done well.

I guess I imagined having something that looked like a classic gameboy glued to the side of my head during a call would look cool :p i'll stick with trying to find a case.

Very good point about the Play & App store, I never really thought about it but it is clear that they are the leaders and if you're not in, you wont last :)

@grahamf you didn't come across agressive, it's all cool :)
...It might be possible for someone to shove the Gameboy Micro's innards into an iPhone case...
I'm thinking the other way. Android phone into a classic GB case :D That's going to be my project! ("once I finish all my other projects" I can hear my partner saying :p )
I think the only people that would even think about buying a Nintenpho (that name works? Haha) are the hardcire gamers, but even they'd just but it for the novelty value I'd imagine.

You can get smartphone cases in the design of the original game boys, but that's about as far as the two should mix in my opinion, and a Nintendo phone isn't really something that I'd be to excited about seeing.
@pwarbi Nintenpho is brilliant!

Got to add that to my dream project :p

I'm imagining a phonebook where each contact was on a ledge in a classic Mario game. To call that person, you had to jump your Mario up to the platform where the contact was, making phoning fun :p Not sure how'd it work for 999/911 :p
Imagine, before it let you make a call you had to complete a level...house is burning down around you but you can't call the fire brigade until you've defeated that last level that you're struggling with, haha!

I'm not sure that would be a popular feature to be honest!
@pwarbi Nintenpho is brilliant!

Got to add that to my dream project :p

I'm imagining a phonebook where each contact was on a ledge in a classic Mario game. To call that person, you had to jump your Mario up to the platform where the contact was, making phoning fun :p Not sure how'd it work for 999/911 :p
You just made everyone who deals with UX design wince. It might be amusing before you get the phone, but it will get annoying the first or second time you need to make a call.
There's definitely some fun to be had with a gaming/console/smartphone type of concept we're taking about, but it just wouldn't be popular enough to make it viable I don't think.

It would soon be stored away in that draw that's got your calculator watch, and Fitbit in, two more devices that at the time seemed fantastic at the time, well...for all of about 6 months!
As a secondary school student in the 90s, I used the calculator watch for at least 5 years!
But yeah, pales to todays technology....

@grahamf part of my job is UI design :p Mainly back end developer but always having to sort out interfaces. Can tell I belong in the back away from anything visual or interactive! :p
If I were to have a nintendo phone, I'd want it to have a name like the goomba or the koopa or the coin. Ideally, it would need to have some kind of 3d+4k tech, but I figure just having a phone with its own animated life would be enough. I'd really like to see a phone with more visually pleasing features, as seeing rectangles over and over again that are all the same generic style is super boring.
^ I respectfully disagree with the idea of making it 3/4k. When the PS4 can't even do 4k games and needs a refresh, and developers are having problems with 720p on the Wii U on Pokken, it would be a disaster to expect 3/4k on a Nintendo gaming phone. No offense. It could do 1920x1080 though.

Food for thought: Power needs scale dramatically with resolution increases.

I'm not trying to step on your toes. Just providing some food for thought.

Now an Android phone can probably do 3/4k, but it would be $600 for the power you need and will only allow a Wii U level of game sophistication when ran at native resolution.


I still like the idea of a Nintendo phone, and would buy one, but there are just too many hurdles that grahamf outlined.
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I am entertaining the thought of Nintendo licensing Blackberry 10 technology and rebranding something like the Z30 for sale in Japan. Japan is still heavily focused on feature phones, so it might be easier for another major OS to gain dominance. While Nintendo and Blackberry are complete opposites in market focus, they do have a core focus on product integrity and security of the customer. The BB10's QNX kernel is a RTOS, meaning that it is far better at ensuring a game runs at it's maximum potential. Blackberry has next to zero presence in Japan, so Nintendo can pass it off as something purely theirs. The security capabilities of the OS would allow a Nintendo-branded version to meet Nintendo's demands for user experience and privacy. Blackberry then can exploit this loophole to update their android emulator without running afoul of the Google Play T&C currently prohibiting them from selling any BB10 phones with Android app support. And Blackberry's networking experience would help Nintendo improve their online accounts and communications systems dramatically.

But that is even less likely. Nintendo probably doesn't even know Blackberry exists, and it's still a pretty big risk. But I do think it's plausible that if Nintendo and Blackberry were to work together they could make something big.
Not sure how much use I'd be; I'm just now trying to get on as a Machinist apprentice and the majority of my knowledge of Japanese culture comes from anime.

But yeah, even I have to realize I really do see the attraction of a Nintendo Phone.

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