Should Nintendo buy a social game dev?

Nintendo has had an iron grip on the handheld videogame market for quite some time now, but recent developments have shown that their grip might be loosening a bit. The drastic decision to cut the price of the 3DS just months after its release shows that Nintendo can no longer ask consumers to pony up the mega bucks for a portable device when there are games selling on smartphones for 99 cents.

It’s for this reason that Tokyo fund manager Masamitsu Ohki suggests Nintendo make an investment in the social games market. “Nintendo should use its ample cash to buy a social game maker, as the place to play games is shifting to smartphones and tablet PCs,” says Ohki. “It doesn’t need to start its own.”

That would be a surprise move from Nintendo, because they generally do not make purchases that they can’t control. That said, Nintendo has raised eyebrows in the past, such as when they put Metroid: Prime in the hands of  then-unknown American developer Retro Studios. The decision to sell the 3DS at a loss also showed that Nintendo is not necessarily set in its ways.

If Nintendo does indeed take Ohki’s advice, they’ll need to find a social game maker than Zynga hasn’t snatched up yet.