Japan-based company outlines ambitions for 2018
In early 2017, Nintendo announced to its customers plans to develop two to three mobile games annually as part of their attempts to reach a larger audience by converting to mobile gaming.
This was announced despite its failures with recent titles such as Super Mario Run and Miitomo — Nintendo’s first mobile game, which is due to be axed on May the 9th. Despite these setbacks, Nintendo seemed confident in their announcement, stating that the classics which everyone loves will be reprised as a mobile game, from Animal Crossing and Fire Emblem, to Legend of Zelda. In the latest news, Nintendo also announced the release of Mario Kart Tour for smartphone users in late January.
From recent statistics and insights, it shows that Nintendo is both succeeding and failing with their ambitions. Their revenue in the nine months ending in December 2017 for their mobile gaming was $268 million, mainly due to the successes of Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, and Fire Emblem Heroes – which alone made $94 million. Even Nintendo’s collaboration with Niantic on Pokémon Go is still bringing in the money, with $890 million revenue in 2017.
However, in terms of content, many are pessimistic over the direction in which Nintendo is taking their mobile games. Many complain that their mobile games are a failed attempt at nostalgia, some claiming that these games fail to capture the same feeling as their console equivalent did.
Recently this month, DeNA’s CEO Isao Moriyasu has reportedly stated that Mario Kart Tour, due for release before the company’s fiscal year ending March 2019, will be “free-to-start”, which has stirred a lot of concerned responses from gamers as to what this means.
Does it mean that the game is free, but only after a certain amount of time where you have to unlock certain levels? Is the tutorial only free? Does this mean microtransactions? Is it a one-time payment, or do you need to pay for each level? Whichever answer, these features are not new to mobile gamers, unfortunately. Nowadays it’s almost expected.
Whilst Nintendo’s mobile past has been only partially successful, we can only speculate as to the future of Nintendo for smartphones, and what possible hidden agenda they may have. The website gamesindustry.biz gathered evidence proving that the mobile market should not be underestimated in terms of market value, earning $50.4 billion, accounting for 43% market value in contrast to Console’s 29 per cent and PC’s 28 per cent. There is some serious money from investing in numbers such as these.
However, people should not be deterred by these statistics and Nintendo’s possible agenda. Fans are allowed to get excited over their favourite games adapted for a platform that is accessible to almost everyone, to relive the nostalgia they have over the games, or for a new generation to discover these games. Nintendo’s presence in the mobile market could even raise the game for potential competition, which is definitely exciting news for the world of mobile gaming.