While console sales have been in decline for Nintendo in the past few years – although that’s certainly about to change with the sold-out Switch – its mobile game business is booming. Both Super Mario Run and Pokemon Go have made millions of dollars for the company, more than enough to keep the Big N alive and well. Nintendo has released three mobile games thus far, which also includes the brand new Fire Emblem Heroes, which arrived on Feb. 2.
It’s no surprise, then, that Nintendo is doubling down on mobile game development. In a Q&A session with investors, Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima said that “we plan to continue releasing two to three titles per year that consumers can enjoy as Nintendoʼs smart-device applications.”
The company’s partnerships with mobile developers DeNA and Niantic have certainly been fruitful and Nintendo is looking forward to bringing more of its coveted IPs to the smartphone realm.
“It is possible to provide applications that feel related to the dedicated video game systems even if they do not have any direct connections,” said managing executive officer Shinya Takahashi. “I believe that smart devices, particularly bigger ones like tablets, are easy for smaller children to use which makes it easier for them to experience Nintendoʼs IP (intellectual property), so we have been planning to create synergy between smart devices and our dedicated video game systems.”
It’s unclear what Takahashi means about “synergy” between mobile and Nintendo’s platforms, and whether he means synergy between the games or the platforms themselves. We’re already starting to see a bit of that synergy when it comes to the way the Switch’s online service will work with smartphones, for example. As far as synergy between games, the upcoming Animal Crossing mobile game will be able to communicate with other Animal Crossing titles across Nintendo’s “dedicated systems.”
Nintendo creative fellow, famed developer Shigeru Miyamoto also signalled that mobile will continue to become a more important business for the company, although it will not distract from the fact that the 3DS and Switch are still the Big N’s big focus.
“Though the Nintendo 3DS and, soon, Nintendo Switch will remain our most important business,” explained Miyamoto, “we will continue to expand the smart-device business since it has gradually begun to contribute to Nintendoʼs business as a whole.”
Nintendo IPs on mobile devices always seemed like a match made in heaven, and it looks like the Big N has finally caught on and is ready to get into the market full-force. Hopefully Nintendo will be as innovative with mobile gaming as it has been for consoles for the past few decades.