Nintendo decided to dip its toe into the world of mobile gaming and, guess what? The water feels fine. Miitomo came and went, and it was quickly forgotten, but it was an encouraging litmus test. Nintendo discovered that its brand does in fact mean something in the mobile world. Enter Super Mario Run, and 50+ million downloads later Nintendo is finding out that what was once a risk is now perhaps the greatest potential earning opportunity at its disposal. So what's next?
Two more huge hits are on the way
Before we knew Super Mario Run existed, we knew that Nintendo is planning to bring Fire Emblem and Animal Crossing to mobile. In fact, we thought we'd be seeing those games first. Now we expect to see them some time before March. When they do arrive, they're going to be huge. Fire Emblem and Animal Crossing are both enormous IPs, both of which seem perfectly suited for mobile.
Nintendo is releasing at least 3 mobile games a year going forward
President Kimishima originally stated that we could expect to see 2-3 mobile games a year. Analyst Serkan Toto stated on Twitter that Kimishima is now projecting something more ambitious. "In a new interview with JP daily Sankei," says Toto, "Nintendo President Kimishima now says they'll release more than three smartphone games per year." He continued: "He says monetization schemes and target markets will depend on the nature of each game. Kimishima reconfirms that the goal is to turn smartphone games into an additional revenue source, apart from console hard and software."
Nintendo spoke very softly about its mobile plans originally, giving the impression that its smartphone games would serve primarily to generate additional awareness of Nintendo's brand and strengthen sales and revenue in the console market. Now it sounds as though Nintendo sees its mobile venture as its own, legitimate, viable, and valuable thing.
What will be interesting is to see how Nintendo evolves its monetization process. Personally, I think it'll stick with a one-time payment model, offering its games as premium products and not free-to-play games. I do think it will need to change how it communicates this model to non-traditional gamers who are used to getting everything on mobile for free. Nintendo caught a lot of flak over the price of Super Mario Run, which is a shame, as it's the best mobile game I've played in months.
Stay tuned to WWG for all of the latest on Nintendo - in the mobile space as well as in the console space.