Nintendo appears to be stepping away from the mobile gaming market. According to Bloomberg, the gaming company appears to be leaving the mobile gaming arena due to concerns with revenue. Back in 2018, the current President of Nintendo, Shuntaro Furukawa stated that smartphone games would be a lucrative investment, however, by May of this year, he changed his tune and stated that Nintendo is “…not necessarily looking to continue releasing many new applications for the mobile market.”
These statements come after the arguably disappointing results from Nintendo mobile games such as Dragalia Lost, Super Mario Run, Animal Crossing Pocket Camp, and Fire Emblem Heroes which collectively only made a collective $287.9 million worldwide. Although these games were not lucrative for Nintendo, it can be noted that profit may not be the main motive for backing away from the mobile gaming arena. According to Bloomberg, one of the main reasons why Nintendo began investing in mobile games was to “shore up the bottom line amid the Wii U’s failure.” By the end of 2019, the Nintendo Switch sold more than 52 million copies, overtaking the SNES and becoming one of the most popular home consoles to date. This success could be one of the reasons why Nintendo has reassessed its direction to focus more on home consoles. This can be supported by Bloomberg analyst Serkan Toto’s statement that “In a sense, Nintendo’s enormous success on console reduced the need and the pressure to put resources into mobile.”
Bloomberg also argues that one of the main reasons why Nintendo failed to make its mark in the mobile gaming arena is due to its not-for-profit strategy. Most mobile games are freemium games, using mechanics such as loot boxes or gacha in order to entice players to spend money for a better experience. Nintendo chose a different route, asking its mobile development partners to ensure that players wouldn’t be spending a lot of money on the mobile games because it feared that freemium tactics would harm “the brand equity of its franchises.” Although Nintendo appears to be focusing on the Nintendo Switch, gamers can still expect a few mobile apps. According to DeNA Co. President Isao Moriyasu, gamers can expect a few new mobile apps by the end of the current fiscal year.