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Nintendo to “Nope Out” of Mobile Gaming

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By Nelson Schneider - 10/11/20 at 02:59 PM CT

While it may have gotten lost in the shuffle of other news, including both the COVID-19 pandemic and the months-long E3 substitute presentations by game developers and platform holders, one of the most interesting nuggets of information to appear over the course of Summer 2020 is a report that Nintendo has “chilled” on the concept of mobile gaming, and will be retreating from that market instead of marching forward boldly in order to claim its piece of the multi-billion-dollar mobile pie.

Nintendo was a latecomer to mobile gaming, only bothering to acknowledge the lucrative teat at which so many corrupt new gaming businesses were suckling and growing morbidly bloated with their cancerous gains, in 2016, with the release of “Super Mario Run,” nearly a decade after the platform went mainstream with the release of the iPhone and its accompanying App Store. Much of Nintendo’s half-hearted mobile efforts were done in collaboration with Japanese mobile powerhouse, DeNA. However, Nintendo has kept a tight hold on its partner’s leash, preventing DeNA from making Nintendo mobile efforts as exploitative – and therefore profitable – as its non-Nintendo ventures.

Nintendo is a very conservative business that tends to be set in its ways and oblivious to what its ostensible competitors are up to – to the point of being unwilling to compete. This headstrong nature has often led the company to great success, with pioneering ideas that are frequently emulated by others. But as a latecomer to the mobile space, Nintendo found itself subject to the mores and standards of an established market – a market that is not only deplorable in its own right, but completely at odds with the way Nintendo has traditionally done things. Thus, it is no surprise that attempting to sell Indie-priced portable-style games as one-and-done purchases instead of offering Freemium addiction vectors for Whales has resulted in both tepid revenue and tepid word of mouth marketing. Nintendo’s mobile games are STILL mobile games, with their half-assed touch-based gameplay and obligatory gachapon mechanics, which understandably fail to spark interest amongst the Core Gamers in Nintendo’s fanbase, but they are likewise not addictive or exploitative enough to really get the self-abusers in the mobile gaming audience ‘engaged’ and shelling out thousands of dollars per week on macrotransactions.

With Nintendo’s exit from active mobile game development, it seems that we can definitively cross another name off the list of potential heroes who can possibly redeem mobile gaming.

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View Matt's Profile


Wrote on10/24/20 at 09:07 AM CT

Anecdotally, Nintendo’s mobile games would be talked about and played by kids at my high school for while, but then they all fizzled out. Mario Kart was the played the longest, but now Among Us has captivated nearly every student—seriously, they all play it. Mario Kart never had that reach. It’s my hunch that kids-these-days are predictors for future trends in gaming, and pre-COVID I would frequently see Switches in school, not so much now, for some reason. I guess the Switch is Nintendo’s response to mobile gaming.

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View dbarry_22's Profile


Wrote on10/12/20 at 03:50 PM CT

Mobile gaming has issues. I've tried most of what Nintendo has offered and have enjoyed some of it. Super Mario Run was ok but I haven't gone back to it in months. i was fine with the one time cost. I've really enjoyed Dragalia Lost, the story is good enough that I keep playing the new chapters that come out and I've been able to fully enjoy the game without paying for anything. Dr. Mario World is fun and I keep playing the new levels and even versus mode is enjoyable and I haven't spent a dime on that either. However, I gave Mario Kart a real shot playing it a few minutes a day for probably a month or two. I've come to the conclusion that if you really want to succeed in that game though you are pretty much forced to subscribe to the gold pass for $5 a month. Sorry but paying $60 a year to play Mario Kart on my phone is just ridiculous so I stopped playing. It's really bad if you turn off a big Mario Kart fan like me from playing that game.

If it's true I won't miss Nintendo leaving mobile gaming. Mobile gaming's market is set. People think you should be able to play everything for free and then pay crazy amounts of money to keep playing it and to win. It's quite evil and it suffocates most honest competition. If I want to play real games on the go I still have my DS lite and 3DS thankfully.

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