If you can’t beat them, join them. That seems to be the lesson Nintendo is taking to heart as it gets ready to enter the wild world of mobile gaming. Now, you might be saying to yourself, “What are you talking about? Nintendo practically invented mobile gaming!” And you would be right. From the Game Boy to the 3DS, Nintendo has been the one constant through the history of mobile gaming, consistently putting out great titles and solid hardware for years. However, a less than stellar response to the Wii U has the company looking elsewhere for additional revenue.
That’s why it wasn’t too much of a surprise for many to hear that the platform Nintendo will be developing for is the smartphone. Sources have reported that the mobile market for iOS and Android is just too large to Nintendo to continue to neglect.
“We can’t deny the massive install base of smartphones out there, and some fans that aren’t old enough yet to afford their own gaming console,” Nintendo of America Executive Scott Moffitt said in an interview. “Perhaps for those consumers they can start to appreciate some of our content and build a relationship with some of our characters and our franchises. We feel it’s going to be an additive to our console business.”
Nintendo’s fan-favorite franchises and intellectual properties continue to be big hits with gamers from across the world but the percentage of the market that the company’s hardware is able to reach has been steadily shrinking. There’s no question that everyone wants to play the latest Super Mario, Zelda and Smash Bros. titles, but fewer people want to buy the consoles necessary to stay current. However, the established base of mobile gaming fanatics has shined a new light at the end of Nintendo’s tunnel.
And the mobile realm could be a place where Nintendo decides to give back to its diehard fan base that was slightly miffed upon the closing of Club Nintendo. For those unfamiliar with the concept, it was essentially a VIP-like platform that rewarded gamers who purchased Nintendo titles. You would then enter codes that came with those titles into the Club Nintendo site and you’d receive a free game and/or merchandise based on your points total. What VIP programs like this encourage is loyalty through exclusive content like tickets to events and top-tier customer service, or in the case of Nintendo, gratis gaming. Why not provide a holdover for those fans who miss the Club by offering free download codes for mobile games? While the Big N has made it clear that they’re bringing the Club back in some form, this would provide the perfect opportunity to appease their customers (and keep ’em coming back).
After the death of president Satoru Iwata. there was much speculation as to how the ensuing change in management would affect the company’s future plans. Sources report that mobile game developer DeNA has confirmed that its partnership with Nintendo remains on track with the first titles to be expected by the end of 2015. Mobile gaming could be a much needed lifeline for a company still struggling to find its place in this corner of the market. Those first few titles should tell us a lot about how it’s going to turn out. Keep your eyes peeled for more information coming down the pipe about Nintendo’s mobile offerings in the next few months.