Zynga and Apple are coming, does Nintendo have its head in the sand?

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If the rapid growth of Zynga and Apple iOS games were worrying Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime, he certainly wasn't showing it. At the Digital Entertainment conference in NYC this week, he pointed out that the current generation of game consoles are outselling the previous generation of consoles, despite any disruption caused by new social and casual games.

Others, of course, disagree, saying that new types of games (along with a still sputtering economy) are responsible for a recent 8-percent drop in console sales, and similar numbers in console software sales.

In a recent interview with Forbes, Fils-Aime also mentions that Nintendo is keeping an eye on Apple and Zynga, but it's also competing with surfing the Internet and reading the newspaper -- that Nintendo is just competing for people's spare time.

Fils-Aime then goes on to say that Nintendo has an advantage because the iPhone is good for quick games like Angry Birds, and he's spent hours upon hours playing Nintendo's Dragon Quest on his Nintendo DS. He also admits that Apple is more of a threat than Microsoft, but I'd was surprised to see that Fils-Aime didn't mention something similar about FarmVille-creator Zynga.

Here's why: People who play Zynga games are mostly women ages 35+, which is the exact audience that Nintendo targeted initially with the Wii and DS. These same women -- casual gamers or women who have never played games -- are largely responsible for Nintendo's big growth spurt after years of lagging behind Microsoft and Sony. Now, companies like Zynga is taking those same women's attention away from the DS and onto Facebook. And, it's also taking away new potential non-gamer female customers for Nintendo products as well.

FarmVille and and its ilk are not going to singlehandedly cause the fall of Nintendo, but Zynga is certainly more powerful than Fils-Aime seems to give it credit for. And while the House that Mario Built is busy fending off Apple, that will leave Zynga with a clear opening to take its best shot.

[Via Venture Beat, Forbes]
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