Nintendo mobile games waver as game company sees success in console

A group of friends enjoying the Nintendo Switch

After the unprecedented success in the console market despite the ongoing crisis, which coincided with a slump on the mobile space, Nintendo has made the decision to shift its attention on the Switch and away from smartphones.

Nintendo has been sticking to its guns as an exclusive producer of games to its own hardware. Something it held dearly onto despite the smartphone boom in the early 2010s. A time that saw GungHo Online surpassing Nintendo’s valuation when it developed games for mobile.

A Tempting Endeavor

During the era of the Wii U, which flopped in the market, and the relatively successful 3DS, Nintendo had less-than-stellar revenue performance. This subsequently led to the company’s stock price to drop.

At the time under the oversight of Satoru Iwata, the company president admitted the reason behind the stern stance. As per his interview, he claims that the reason for the choice boils down to Nintendo’s continued survival. That is, comparing entering the mobile market versus not entering it as a difference between short-term revenue and remaining in business.

A Change of Heart

Nintendo, however, subsequently had a change of heart several years after a switch in leadership after the passing of its former president. With a partnership with DeNA being partly a catalyst, the company released its first smartphone game with Miitomo in 2016. A social media game involving Nintendo’s iconic Mii avatars that runs on a freemium model.

The step to finally enter the smartphone space was soon followed with title releases based on a number of Nintendo IPs. They include Mario, Fire Emblem, Animal Crossing, and a completely new IP, Draglia Lost. Of the games released, all but one remain operable, with Miitomo put to a close in 2018.

While all of the games launched on mobile proved to be chart-toppers and good moneymakers, most only enjoyed relatively short success. Often driven mostly by hype which causes millions of downloads during the first month, only to see their popularity waned over time.

Not Good Enough

Although technically not a failure as a business venture, the smartphone market has been a tough nut to crack for Nintendo, especially recently. With waning revenues and some even going for the negative, the mobile market is proving itself a liability. One that gives little or costing the company money in return.

Coincidentally, Nintendo is seeing unheard-of success with the Nintendo Switch, owing to hit titles such as Animal Crossing: New Horizons and Ring-Fit Adventure. This is not to mention the unparalleled demand for Switch that sees itself running out of stocks during the pandemic. Combined, Nintendo is literally reaping cash on both the software and hardware side of the business.

For an achievement that hit close to home for Nintendo, it’s unsurprising why the company is shifting away from mobile.

Image used courtesy of Nintendo/YouTube Screenshot

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