“Our basic strategy with the mobile business is to expand the number of people who have access to Nintendo IP,” says president Shuntaro Furukawa.
Nintendo has been in the mobile market for a while now and have released multiple games from some of their biggest properties. And though they have seen their fair share of success, the general feeling remains that perhaps they haven’t done nearly as well as they may have expected. Recently, in fact, a report claimed that going forward, Nintendo will shift focus away from the mobile market, and would only release the occasional game to keep investors happy.
However, according to Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa, the company is going to continue to invest in the mobile market. During a recent Q&A with investors, Furukawa explained that for Nintendo, the mobile market’s most important function is to bring their biggest franchises to larger audiences in the hopes that they will then migrate to the Switch to play most of their games- which, he says, what happened with Animal Crossing. Something else he says the mobile market contributes to is bringing more people into Nintendo Switch Online.
“In addition to generating revenue and profit, our basic strategy with the mobile business is to expand the number of people who have access to Nintendo IP,” Furukawa said. “For example, we have broadened the fan base for Nintendo IP like Animal Crossing, Fire Emblem, and Mario Kart, and in doing so increased our points of contact with consumers. The mobile business is also strategically important for the expansion of Nintendo Accounts, which support our relationships with consumers. Sales from the mobile business do not account for a very large percentage of Nintendo’s overall business, but the mobile business itself is significant in that it provides a wide range of consumers a way other than Nintendo Switch to continue to enjoy playing games using Nintendo IP over a long period.
“When global distribution of the Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp app began in the fall of 2017, for example, it introduced many female consumers and US consumers to the Animal Crossing series, and those same consumers later went on to purchase Animal Crossing: New Horizons and a Nintendo Switch console,” he explained. “And starting with Mario Kart Tour, mobile applications have proven to be a great opportunity for people to create Nintendo Accounts. In ways like these, the mobile business with its multiple objectives is contributing to the sustainable growth of the overall Nintendo business.”
Furukawa further explained that Nintendo’s relationship with their lead mobile partner DeNA has really strengthened, and together they’re going to “continue with those efforts.”
“Our collaboration has two purposes,” he said. “One is to develop and operate the kind of core system necessary to provide original Nintendo games for smart devices and Nintendo Switch, including a system for Nintendo accounts. The other is to develop mobile apps that make use of Nintendo IP and operate those services.
“The trust between companies and between individuals has deepened and we have built good relations in the more than five years since we started these efforts. As I mentioned earlier, one of the goals of the mobile business is to create long-lasting ties with consumers via Nintendo Accounts. We are establishing that through our collaboration with DeNA and will continue with those efforts.”
As of now, Mario Kart Tour remains the last major mobile release to come from Nintendo, and currently, no further new games have yet been announced.