Earlier today during Nintendo’s financial briefing, Nintendo revealed something very interesting about their mobile development. Apparently Mario Kart producer, Hideki Konno, will be in charge of development of their smartphone games.
This is what Satoru Iwata had to say when speaking with the Japanese publication Sankei:
It should help you understand the level of commitment from Nintendo
This is some serious muscle they’re putting behind their mobile development. The Mario Kart series is one of their top sellers! To think they’re putting Hideki Konno behind it. They must be very serious about their mobile development!
A few weeks back, Capcom announced a new Monster Hunter spinoff that looked to take the series in a different direction. Well, Capcom recently announced another Monster Hunter spinoff called Monster Hunter Explore. This time, however, it’s a sequel to a previous spinoff, Monster Hunter Smart, and will be on iOS and Android. Similar to Smart, Explore will feature easier gameplay with simple controls and mechanics. Unlike Smart, this game will feature four player co-op, more social features, and a story.
I’ve had an issue with the “rush to the bottom” mentality on mobile markets for a long time now. Many people out there won’t even give a game a second look if you have to pay to download it. That’s part of the reason the free-to-play market has grown as big as it has. Now with Nintendo getting into that area of gaming they have to face these harsh realities. Nintendo President Satoru Iwata appears that he does understand the free-to market, but takes issue with calling many of the games there free-to-play.
“I do not like to use the term ‘Free-to-play. I have come to realize that there is a degree of insincerity to consumers with this terminology, since so-called ‘Free-to-play’ should be referred to more accurately as ‘Free-to-start.’”
He also says that Nintendo is not looking to get exclusively into the free-to-start market and that all of their games may not use that model. He sees room for traditional games with set prices and thinks that Nintendo can overcome the problems inherent to the free-to market. He sees that as a viable option, but understands that not all of the games they release on mobile devices fit that option. Some could see release with more traditional fixed pricing options as well. He equated the value of content to the music industry.
“The thing that concerns me most is that, in the digital age, if we fail to make efforts to maintain the value of our content, there is the high possibility for the value to be greatly reduced as the history of the music industry has shown. On the other hand, I have no intention to deny the Free-to-start model. In fact, depending on how we approach this model, we may be able to overcome these problems.”
Nintendo’s recent announcement of a partnership with Japanese mobile company DeNA saw their stock temporarily rise as investors were excited about the notion of Nintendo finally jumping into the mobile market. Their first games are set to come out later this year and we’ll see then just what Nintendo has come up with to “overcome these problems”.
The Nintendo and DeNA news just keeps on coming. Nintendo and DeNA have also announced that their first game will be coming out later this year. No specifics have been given about the game or what series it will be in. I’m looking forward to seeing what the first game is. You would think they’d want to make a good first impression. What do you think? Are you expecting them to jump out of the gate with something big, or are you expecting a smaller start? What would you like to see them do?
Just in case you somehow missed the big news, one of the things investors have been telling Nintendo to do for years has finally happened. Nintendo has formed a mobile partnership and we will start seeing Nintendo IP on mobile devices. DeNA, the owner of the mobile platform Mobage, and Nintendo are now officially partners. Both companies have invested a significant amount of money in each other as well buying a pretty big amount of shares from each other.
This may come as very sudden to some which is understandable considering Nintendo’s position on the subject over the years. However, this isn’t further from the truth. DeNA has confirmed that the two companies have been in talks since 2010.
Internally, we had a lot of strategic meetings. The one big solution was always that there’s a giant IP holder in the market that hasn’t stepped into the smartphone environment. Really, the reason they were convinced that they wanted to work with us was that we were so determined to work with them that we have really been talking to them since 2010. Yes, we were talking to them for a long, long time. Finally, Nintendo became ready to do this. And we were ready the whole time.
Another good thing about this is DeNA is confirming they’re not looking for quick ports or releasing a bunch of games at once. Rather they’re intending on playing to each of the companies strengths and want to make one game at a time that’s optimized for the mobile platform. They’re also looking for that big 100 million seller that reaches people of all ages.