According to a new report from Bloomberg, Nintendo is “retreating” from the mobile gaming market after its concerted effort to break in. CEO Shuntaro Furukawa spoke with Japanese media outlets last month, showing that there was dissatisfaction within the ranks over the results of their efforts here. The response came across as Nintendo “not necessarily looking to continue releasing many new applications for the mobile market.”
The revenue expectations are cited as the biggest reason here. It’s a very common thing in the video game industry for this justification to come out. Nintendo has released two major titles in the mobile market over the last couple of years. Mario Kart Tour and Fire Emblem Heroes led the charge, and despite early promise, have seemingly floundered. Nintendo has also released a handful of smaller titles as well over the last little bit.
“The company believes its franchises shine brightest when coupled with designed-by-Nintendo controllers, and it’s never been fully comfortable with the touchscreen-only interface of a phone,” Bloomberg adds.
Many gamers have also failed to be captured within the mobile gaming market thanks to aggressive marketing and microtransactions. Nintendo has retreated from such microtransactions in the past, in order to fall in line with consumer trends.
Another common gipe with mobile games is that the games are often far below modern games in terms of quality. In line with the extreme monetization, many mobile games place arbitrary limits on gameplay and use excessive railroading. The whole thing is a pretty toxic mix, and it’s no wonder that gamers don’t want this stuff.
Nintendo rejecting this ecosystem instead of hoping for better revenue is probably the right call. And having a major publisher pull out the platform, for now, may spell a negative trend to come. If the games on mobile platforms are to improve, the problem actors need to be removed. Not having to compete with the likes of Nintendo will enable more toxic behavior, as it’s unlikely that the mobile market will self-reform.
Nintendo is also likely taking to heart lessons from platforms like the Wii U, which failed miserably and led to major problems for their brand. Even though the Wii U laid the groundwork for the massively successful Switch, it makes sense to dump mobile if it isn’t working out.
Analyst Serkan Toto added that “new smartphone games will come, but it’s very likely these will be just alibi releases to appease shareholders.”