Nintendo’s official party line is that the iPhone and iPod touch probably don’t really exist, and if they do, no one’s buying them, and if they are, they’re no threat whatsoever to the DSi.
Just so we’re clear, here’s what Nintendo president Satoru Iwata said on the subject:
“It seems some people have the impression that we want to compete with cell phones or the iPod,” he explained during a tepid roundtable discussion with other Nintendo big wigs. “Nintendo doesn't have any intention of directly competing with existing products.”
And yet, Develop is reporting that Nintendo is now actively jostling developers to come up with short form gaming and non-gaming content for the DSi’s download service.
Its source apparently attended a top-secret Nintendo Developer Conference this week in which Nintendo encouraged attendees to consider the DSi as “the first choice above any others for those looking to pursue new avenues for games design and ways for developers to make money”.
Of course, it’s great news if Nintendo is hoping to open the DSi up beyond gaming (and is just too proud to admit it), and this could be the marketing angle the company has been desperately trying to find.
So far it’s struggled to provide much reason for gamers to upgrade from their old DSes, but a fully fleshed out app store could bring the DSi into the feature rich, multimedia device battle.
Iwata is expected to reveal more about Nintendo’s app store design in his GDC speech next week, so let’s hope this turns out to be the shot in the arm the DSi is looking for, and the competition the iPhone needs.