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Nintendo should expand to mobiles - analysts

Investors say the platform holder should make better use of its $10 billion cash reserve

A number of Japanese analysts have claimed Nintendo's failure to embrace the smartphone market illustrates "how behind the times they are".

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Masamitsu Ohki, a fund manager at Tokyo-based Stats Investment Management, told Bloomberg: "Smartphones are the new battlefield for the gaming industry. Nintendo should try to either buy its way into this platform or develop something totally new."

Nintendo affiliate the Pokemon Co. announced plans to release an official Pokemon game for iOS and Android devices back in July, boosting the platform holder's shares the most in almost four months, but the gains were soon surrendered when Nintendo said its strategy of developing software only for its own hardware "hasn't changed and won't change".

That led MF Global FXA Securities to say: "They just don't get it. Sell the stock, because a management once feted for creative out-of-box thinking have just shown how behind the times they are."

Following Nintendo's poor first quarter financial results, investors are also calling on the company to make better use of the over $10 billion in cash reserves it holds.

"Nintendo should aggressively make acquisitions or increase returns to its shareholders," said Tetsuro Ii, president of Tokyo-based Commons Asset Management, which held 2,200 Nintendo shares as of February. "It's management's task to consider how to make use of the cash."

Nintendo's last acquisition was the May 2007 purchase of Xenoblade developer Monolith Software.

Speaking last month, Nintendo's Iwata also dismissed the possibility of granting licenses for the company's intellectual property to outside firms. "It might be true that we could increase our short-term profit by granting licenses for our popular software assets in various ways. But what would happen to Nintendo's future if these assets were fully depleted by licensees?

"I could make such decisions if I were responsible only for our profits for this fiscal year. But, as I am also responsible for Nintendo's mid-to-long-term vision, we have to create special content which will not be easily depleted and preserve the value of such content to keep our business competitive."

[ SOURCE: Bloomberg ]

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