Nintendo steps back from mobile gaming to focus on console success
THE Nintendo is officially retreating from the market for mobile games, after years of revenues that fell short of President Shuntaro Furukawa’s expectations. In 2018, the executive said he expected the mobile games line to bring in $1 billion for the company. Furukawa also said at the time that the Nintendo should release two to three titles a year.
In May of this year, the company’s president’s speech changed. Furukawa said that Nintendo does not intend to continue releasing many applications for the mobile market. The decision comes after the success of Animal Crossing: New Horizons, for Nintendo Switch, which gained popularity mainly during the pandemic of new coronavirus. Now the company must focus its efforts and resources on gaming for the console.
Nintendo’s saga in the mobile market
After the disappointing results of the launch of Wii U, the company decided to start exploring the mobile gaming market to try to compensate for falling revenues. This happened in 2015. In the same year, the company launched the miitomo, its first smartphone app, where users could customize their Mii avatars and interact with other players. The app was discontinued in 2018.
Since its debut in this niche, five years ago, the games released by Nintendo for mobile never really took off. In part, this was due to the strategies adopted by the company to stimulate the financial returns of the games.
THE Super Mario Run, which was the company’s first major mobile title, had a mechanism where the player could pay to unlock the full game experience. In case of Mario Kart Tour, latest title, Nintendo tried to monetize it by offering an in-game subscription model. None of these strategies caught on well among players.
Now with the pandemic of COVID-19, became even more apparent for the Nintendo that the mobile market may not be the best channel to focus your investments. That’s because between February and May, data collected by Sensor Tower, a company specializing in the mobile market, showed that revenues from the company’s titles for this platform have plummeted since the beginning of the pandemic, while those of games from other companies took off.
In 2020, the Nintendo informed that, in relation to the market of mobile games, should focus on existing titles. And according to Serkan Toto, gaming consultant for this niche, “Nintendo’s pipeline is empty” after the release of Mario Kart Tour. Toto also said that the recent huge success of Nintendo in console games has lessened the need and pressure to invest in mobile titles.
The success of Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Released March 20 this to Nintendo Switch, Animal Crossing: New Horizons became the newest blockbuster and critic of the Nintendo. It is the fifth game in the Animal Crossing franchise (or eighth if you count the spin-offs) and the first to Switch.
In it, the player controls a human being who lives on an island inhabited by anthropomorphic animals, that is, animals that have human characteristics. In the franchise world, animals talk, wear clothes and even worry about having a job to pay bills.
On the island, the game simulates the daily needs of someone who lives in an isolated place. And the player needs to learn a huge range of activities to survive, including growing their own vegetables, raising animals, fishing and establishing relationships with other inhabitants.
Between March and May, when the Nintendo watched revenues from their mobile games plummet, Animal Crossing: New Horizons faced just the opposite. The game’s pleasant and peaceful aesthetic has made it something of an icon to soothe anxious minds given the context of the pandemic of the game. new coronavirus.
This caused the popularity of the game and the company’s console, the Nintendo Switch, shoot. The company even launched a smartphone application linked to the new Animal Crossing franchise title. According to data from Sensor Tower, the app guaranteed a 45% increase in game earnings for Switch. In the end, the strategy that seems to pay more for the Nintendo is to take players from smartphones for the consoles.
the success of Animal Crossing: New Horizons contributed to the sales target of the Nintendo Switch for the first quarter of this year was hit. In fact, the sales of Switch have already surpassed the numbers of several other consoles released by Nintendo.
Now it remains to be seen whether the console’s success will be enough for the company to allow itself not to invest more in mobile games in the coming months and years.
Sources: Business Insider and Neowin