iPhone Mario demanded by Nintendo investors

Nintendo's investors are urging the company to look to publishing games on Apple's iPhone and iPad in response to poor console sales.

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Andrew Lanxon headshot
Andrew Lanxon Editor At Large, Lead Photographer, Europe
Andrew is CNET's go-to guy for product coverage and lead photographer for Europe. When not testing the latest phones, he can normally be found with his camera in hand, behind his drums or eating his stash of home-cooked food. Sometimes all at once.
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Andrew Lanxon
2 min read

Nintendo investors want to give Mario a new home on Apple's iPhone and iPad, where Italy's most famous plumber can happily battle Bowser and hopefully draw in some much-needed revenue for the ailing Japanese gaming giant.

With stocks plummeting to a six-year low and having to drastically slash the prices of its new 3DS console, Nintendo is having a tough old time. No wonder then that many of its shareholders are urging the company to reconsider its position on smart phones and tablets to try and rake back some cash.

"Smart phones are the new battlefield for the gaming industry," fund manager Masamitsu Ohki told Bloomberg. "Nintendo should try to either buy its way into this platform or develop something totally new."

The meteoric rise in smart-phone and tablet gaming has been like several bullets to the face of Nintendo, whose handheld gaming consoles have plummeted in popularity in the last few years. Its most recent effort -- the 3DS, with its glasses-free 3D screen -- had its price reduced by a third to try to tempt users to part with their cash, just six months after its launch.

It's not difficult to see why. Games such as Cut The Rope or the infamous Angry Birds go for 69p on Apple's App Store -- a tiny fraction of the £30 price tag on games available for the 3DS. Of course, Nintendo's games are richer and more complex, and offer more playtime, but it still stands that you can buy many varied and entertaining iPhone games for the same price as one game for the 3DS.

Even in the face of poor profits, Nintendo's president Satoru Iwata stated the company would not look to make games for other platforms while he is in charge. Is that a brave or short-sighted move considering Nintendo's current position? It's tricky to know. It's a policy that worked extremely well for the original DS and the Wii, which were the only places to get your Mario or Zelda fix in the previous generation of consoles.

Let's not forget that Sony's new handheld -- the PlayStation Vita -- is due for launch later this year, which will undoubtedly hope to give the 3DS that last little push off the cliff into oblivion.

We'd personally love to see Nintendo release games for the smart phone market -- Mario would make a wonderful addition to our daily commute. But we wouldn't want the company to become just another third-party developer in the manner of Sega. Its exclusivity is an undeniable part of its independence and creativity.

What do you think? Would you like to see Nintendo's games on the iPhone or do you think their titles should be kept purely for its own consoles? Has the company's dominance gone for ever? Eat a fire flower and flame the comments below, or power up to our official Facebook page.