Nintendo Might Be Winding Down Its Mobile Game Development, Report Suggests

Nintendo might be looking to step away from developing new mobile games, according to a new report by Bloomberg. A report published on the site details how Nintendo seems likely to focus on Switch in the future, with fewer mobile games being developed.

Nintendo has made over $1 billion from mobile games since 2016’s Super Mario Run, but over 60% of that figure came from a single title–Fire Emblem Heroes. In 2017, following the release of Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, it was reported that Nintendo wanted to ramp up mobile development–this might no longer be the case.

According to Bloomberg, Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa said in May that the company is “not necessarily looking to continue releasing many new applications for the mobile market,” and that their move into mobile development was largely motivated by the Wii U’s failure to sell well. While the Switch is performing well, especially with the sales figures of Animal Crossing: New Horizons, their mobile titles are not showing similar growth. He also said that a major increase in revenue from mobile was not expected this financial year.

Bloomberg quotes mobile games consultant Serkan Toto, who says that Nintendo’s “enormous success on console reduced the need and the pressure to put resources into mobile,” and that, as of right now, “Nintendo’s mobile pipeline is empty.” It’s also reported that Super Mario Run and Mario Kart Tour have not achieved the success Nintendo was hoping for. Mario Kart on mobile had a huge launch and has received major updates since its launch, but never enjoyed the critical acclaim of Mario Kart 8.

Later in the article, Toto is quoted saying that while there will be additional mobile releases from Nintendo in the future, “it’s very likely these will be just alibi releases to appease shareholders.”

The report also states that DeNA Co. president Isao Moriyasu says that the studio, that has developed many of Nintendo’s mobile games, does not anticipate releasing a new app from the publisher until near the end of the 2021 financial year, which ends in March 2021. The piece also suggests that Nintendo has been disappointed by the limitations of mobile game design, and the fact that they’re limited to touchscreen controls.

Nintendo recently announced two new Pokemon mobile apps, only one of which is a traditional game. Pokemon Smile is a app designed to encourage children to brush their teeth, whereas Pokemon Cafe Mix is a puzzle game that’s also coming to Switch. It’s worth noting, though, that these games are licensed out to external developers by The Pokemon Company rather than Nintendo, and are technically thus not part of Nintendo’s mobile portfolio.

The company’s most recent mobile title is Mario Kart Tour, which had a huge launch and has received major updates since its launch, but never enjoyed the critical acclaim of Mario Kart 8.

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