Nintendo's Strategy For Mobile Involves Having Players Pay Less

Animalcrossing

Animalcrossing

Estimates show that Nintendo made $348 million from mobile games alone during 2018. In response, they reportedly ordered CyGames to change the in-game odds so players wouldn't have to spend as much. That title, which was a hybrid runner/platform game featuring Mario characters was "free-to-try" before it went behind a $10 paywall.

The increasingly popular free-to-play model has been a victor for Nintendo - and indeed its fans. Both Fire Emblem Heroes and Dragalia Lost use variations of this model, and though it certainly seems feels like a consumer-unfriendly way to monetize a game, Nintendo has apparently taken measures to ensure these games aren't too greedy.

A CyberAgent official told WSJ that Nintendo asked the developer to tweak pull rates in Dragalia Lost so that it was easier for players to pull top-tier characters without spending money (or at least without spending excessive amounts of it). According to one CyberAgent official, "Nintendo is not interested in making a large amount of revenue from a single smartphone game".

So, if you've ever played Dragalia Lost or Fire Emblem Heroes and you think they're a fair bit more generous than other gacha games, it sounds like that distinction isn't all in your head.

It would appear that the greed of a few of Nintendo's smartphone game development partners knows no bounds, which is why I'm happy to hear that Nintendo reportedly makes the effort to keep this greed under control.

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After a sluggish start, Draglia Lost has seen its user base grow thanks to "aggressive ad campaigns" but the company revealed that revenue from players has fallen short of projections. The mobile game made $50 million in player spending in the months after launch.

DeNa, which was Nintendo's first mobile game partner and developed Super Mario Run and Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, acknowledged their smartphone game business is in a slump.

Nintendo's reluctance to put its games on smartphones finally broke when it debuted Super Mario Run in 2016, but despite a trickle of titles since then, the big N's presence in the mobile gaming space is still surprisingly sparse.

Aware of the sketchy public perception surrounding the wild mobile marketplace, Nintendo reportedly views protecting its image as worth the lost opportunity to make a quick buck or two.

For years, Nintendo was staunchly opposed to entering the mobile market, but these days you can play Nintendo franchises like Fire Emblem, Animal Crossing, and even Mario on a phone or tablet.

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