The success of the Switch and – more recently – Animal Crossing has shifted the company’s priorities.
The last few years have seen Nintendo trying to carve out a space for themselves in the mobile gaming market, and though they have seen a reasonable amount of success with some of their games, it seems they haven’t made the kind of progress they would have hoped for. A new report by Bloomberg’s Takashi Mochizuki states that the Japanese company is looking to stop focusing on the mobile space and instead double down on the console market.
Revenue from the mobile market has been far from steady for Nintendo, and though their games have had successful launches, they have failed to provide continuous flows of income to the extent that mobile games usually do. That’s because Nintendo have stayed away from gacha mechanics from their games as much as possible, in order to avoid damaging their family-friendly reputation, and the payment models they have tried out with games such as Super Mario Run and Mario Kart Tour haven’t really been very successful.
On the other hand, the Japanese giant has continued to see incredible success with the Switch, which keeps moving from strength to strength, while the last few months have also been characterized by exceptionally strong sales for Animal Crossing: New Horizons, which in six weeks surpassed the lifetime sales total Nintendo had forecast for it.
In fact, Serkan Toto, a mobile games consultant in Tokyo, says that after the launch of Mario Kart Tour, Nintendo’s mobile pipeline has been empty. “In a sense, Nintendo’s enormous success on console reduced the need and the pressure to put resources into mobile,” Toto says. That makes sense since, as the Bloomberg report points out, the reason Nintendo entered the mobile market was to expand revenue when the Wii U was failing. With the Switch riding high, the pressure to seek revenue from other sources has fallen significantly.
In fact, Toto also says that the shift in Nintendo’s strategy will mean that though there will be more new mobile games to appease shareholders, they will very likely be “just alibi releases”, with the company choosing to focus primarily on consoles and premium games.