At the start of the year, Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa hinted that the company could eventually “shift away from the home console,” worrying fans of the brand. Furukawa has since clarified that this doesn’t necessarily mean home consoles won’t be a priority, but that he hopes to continue Nintendo’s trend of mobile games in the near future.
Nintendo has a history in tackling the mobile platform, dating back to 2011’s Pokémon TCG Online for iPad and Android, as well as Windows and OS X. Its efforts became more consistent with the release of Pokémon Go in July, 2016, a game that has propelled developer Nitantic past a value of $4 billion.
The company then brought things in-house for Super Mario Run that launched later in the same year. 2018 relied on the sizeable sales of Fire Emblem Heroes and Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp despite having released the year prior, while Dragalia Lost was the only mobile game that Nintendo released that year.
“Smartphones have their own unique playstyles. We don’t intend for Switch games to play like smartphone games, or vice versa. Our goal is to get people interested in Nintendo’s characters and increase our fanbase,” explains Furukawa in an interview with Kyoto Shimbun, translated by Nintendo Everything.
“Games on smart devices are different from consoles – a smart device game doesn’t sell out. Rather, after the game gets distributed, more content continues to get added. A stable flow of revenue is connected to this constant improvement of the game. We will continue our pace of releasing two or three smart device games per year.”
This is set to continue with the release of Mario Kart Tour before the end of March, and a mobile game based on The Legend of Zelda IP sometime after. Fortunately, Furukawa later clarified that its 8-year-old 3DS system will continue to co-exist alongside the Nintendo Switch, meaning the on-going effort in the mobile market is unlikely to change anything for existing fans.
KitGuru Says: So long as Nintendo’s effort into the mobile sector doesn’t come at the expense of its home console, I can’t see any downsides. More to play is never a bad thing, no matter what platforms the games come out for.