Using mobile games as a gateway to console titles.
Nintendo is reportedly looking to expand its mobile operations beyond its current partnership with DeNA by working with more mobile developers, in the hopes of “raising the pace” of new mobile titles after last year’s mobile revenue “fell short of expectations”.
As reported by the Wall Street Journal, Nintendo’s original intention was to produce five smartphone games with DeNA by March 2017, after it bought a 10% stake in the company back in 2015. As of right now it has only introduced four, after Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp launched last month.
Nintendo executives, insist that their focus is not on squeezing more revenue from the mobile games themselves, but using those games to introduce mobile gamers to Nintendo properties in the hopes of converting them to console or handheld titles. Traditional gaming is still considered a central tenet at Nintendo.
One of the companies rumoured for a partnership is GungHo Online, which produces the Puzzle & Dragons series for 3DS and has previously licensed characters from the Mario franchise. GungHo is also apparently producing titles for the Switch.
It’s important to note that Nintendo doesn’t appear to be planning on taking ownership stakes alongside any new partnerships, preferring instead to simply work in tandem with developers to produce more mobile games.
Sales of the core Animal Crossing games have risen in the wake of Pocket Camp’s release on smartphones (take a look at our thoughts on the game), so it seems that Nintendo’s strategy, at least in theory, appears to be working. In any case, expect more announcements on Nintendo mobile properties in the near future.
Matt Davidson is a freelance writer for IGN. He’s also available on Twitter, if that’s your thing.