The big news of last month was that Nintendo was moving into the world of mobile applications. It is a move that has long been coming; Nintendo’s handheld consoles have been dying a slow death since the smartphone revolution. When the Japanese announced their intentions, their stock rose by 21 per cent – its highest rise in history – showing just how much of an appetite there is for Nintendo games to be available on smartphones.
So what do we know and will it succeed?
What we know
The first thing to note is that Nintendo was a sinking ship. Their console sales in comparison to the Xbox One and PS4 doesn’t make for pleasant viewing. The Wii U, which was released a year earlier than its rivals, has managed to accrue less than eight million sales; the One currently stands at just over 11 million, while the PS4 is blitzing the competition with nearly 20 million units shifted. In the console domain, the public have spoken. The novelty of interactive gaming has worn off, instead we want the most realistic consoles available; the Wii U does not fall into this category. Another nail in the coffin for Nintendo’s console arm is their inability to land big game titles. Combine this with smartphone gaming eating away at their bottom and it isn’t hard to see just how much Nintendo’s market is shrinking.
In order to counteract this problem, Nintendo have teamed with fellow Japanese company DeNA, who will be responsible to bringing their titles to the smartphone market. Although they may not be that well known to international audiences, DeNA are massive in Japan. Some of the games that they have already brought to market include Godus, Kaito Royale, and Final Fantasy Record Keeper. This partnership will see DeNA establish itself as a global player in the gaming world.
Nintendo have rightly decided to make current Wii U and 3DS titles exclusive to their respective consoles, rather than open them up to the mobile market. The reason: it would harm the already precarious sales of Wii U and 3DS games.
DeNA are advocates of freemium gaming – made famous in an iconic South Park episode – and we can expect them to handle Nintendo games in a similar manner. Thus far we know that Mario will definitely be making the leap, as should Zelda. And, if we are really lucky, Pokemon should also be available for us to play to our heart’s content.
Will it work
Considering there has been a clamoring of people demanding that Nintendo bring their games over to the mobile world, you would think that it would work.
The problem – Nintendo has found in recent years has not been with the games but the consoles. In the modern age, Nintendo products seem antiquated. By moving to mobile they will be able to make them current again, which has been its biggest illness thus far.
When you think of the titles that Nintendo will release on mobile, it seems nigh on impossible that the venture will fail. Mario alone will have people salivating. Whether they want to play some classic SNES Mario or the more modern titles like Mario Kart, people will be hugely grateful.
What’s more, considering the size of mobiles now, the games will be able to be played with considerable ease. If DeNA follow Nintendo’s classic mantra of just a D-pad and two buttons, then gaming should be faultless; if anything, it will be the easiest to play Nintendo console ever experienced.
You needn’t look any further than Mario Kart to see just how good Nintendo’s entry into the mobile gaming world can be. The ability to use tilt-screen will make you more Lewis Hamilton – the current F1 champion and favorite in the motorsport betting to retain his title this year – than Bowser.
Better still, you won’t have to put up with the persistant squabbling that plagues both Hamilton and his Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg, instead you will be able to sit back, relax, and surge to victory ahead of Toad, Yoshi and the rest of them!
You can’t underestimate the role of DeNA in the whole process. If anything, they are the most important cog in this partnership, not Nintendo. They are masters of the freemium concept – free games that make money through in-game purchases – which should see a whole hosts of people download the Nintendo games. We all know just how addictive Mario and Zelda can be, so in-game purchases should be a plenty for DeNa.
In conclusion, this seems like a recipe for success. The rich gaming catalogue that Nintendo possesses will entice a considerable amount of people – it will even appeal to the old school gamers from the 1980s who have long hung up their joystick – and DeNA are certain to make sure that these games are profitable.