Even as Nintendo’s core console and handheld businesses have been booming in recent years, thanks to the success of the Switch and the resurgence of the Nintendo 3DS, the company has slowly been building up a catalog of spin offs of its most beloved properties on mobile phones. So far, Super Mario, Animal Crossing, and Fire Emblem have all hit smartphones, with a Mario Kart game announced next.
Nintendo recently surprised everyone when they announced yet another new mobile title, this one unrelated to any of their existing IP- Dragalia Lost, which is being co-developed with Cygames, a mobile game developer that Nintendo has also acquired a stake in.
Speaking about the new mobile title, Nintendo President Tatsumi Kimishima and his successor imminent Shuntaro Furukawa, explained that Nintendo is so far very satisfied with its mobile business, and intends to continue partnering with DeNA, also noting the value the partnership with DeNA brings them thanks to the latter developing and maintaining the MyNintendo and Nintendo Account infrastructures. The partnership with Cygames is different, and because Nintendo saw potential for a product that they would like to bring to the mobile market.
Even though Dragalia Lost is a brand new IP, Kimishima confirmed that the intent with Nintendo’s mobile efforts remains to bring its existing IP and characters to mobiles, increase familiarity and popularity among a larger pool of users, and then attempt to transition them to Nintendo’s own hardware. He also noted that Nintendo would like for mobile games to become a major pillar of revenue- this is the one area where Nintendo’s mobile games have faltered so far. Super Mario Run and Animal Crossing Pocket Camp both underperformed, and Pokemon GO, while hugely successful, is a game they have minimal stake in. Only Fire Emblem Heroes has actually churned a meaningful amount of revenue yet.
It will be interesting to see how Nintendo continues to approach mobile games going forward.