Nintendo's push into the smartphone gaming market will not signal the death of the 3DS, according to Nintendo marketing boss Scott Moffitt. In a new interview with The Washington Post, the executive said Nintendo's 3DS and smartphone games businesses can "happily co-exist."
As of September 30, the 3DS had sold more than 54 million units around the world. Sony's latest PS4 numbers put the console at 30 million units sold. Microsoft no longer reports Xbox hardware unit sales numbers, but The Washington Post cites an estimate of 17.1 million units since launch.
Nintendo is entering the smartphone gaming market because the company cannot deny its ubiquity and popularity. But Moffitt stresses that fans can expect ongoing support for 3DS.
"It's a mistake to consider this a zero-sum game," Moffitt said. "Clearly gaming on smart devices and gaming on Nintendo 3DS can happily coexist, to the benefit of all gamers. The fact is, playing games on two very different hardware platforms means options for two very different kinds of game play. The inclusion of multiple control buttons on Nintendo 3DS allows a much deeper and more sophisticated type of play."
Nintendo's first smartphone game is Miitomo, which was previously expected to launch this year but is now slated to arrive in March 2016. The company expects to release five smartphone games by 2017 through its partnership with mobile game giant DeNA and under the director of Mario Kart producer Hideki Konno.
This is a big change for Nintendo. Previously, the company's stance was to only release games for its own platforms. Doing so "preserves our overall financial model," Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime said in October 2013.
How Nintendo's new smartphone business affects the company's sales remains to be seen. Investors are clearly interested, as Nintendo's share value skyrocketed after the company announced plans to get into the smartphone gaming business back in March.