Nintendo's first few mobile games have been a diverse lot including the likes of Super Mario Run, Fire Emblem Heroes, Dragalia Lost, and Animal Crossing Pocket Camp. However, the House of Mario isn't interested in making more money than it can from its audience. According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, Nintendo instructs its development partners to modify its mobile games so players don't spend too much. Reason being, Nintendo fears that excessive monetisation practices could tarnish its brand image. It's an interesting strategy that's perhaps geared towards ensuring players build a positive association with the brand on a platform it doesn't have direct and complete control over.
"In some cases, players can spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars trying to win special items," a report from The Wall Street Journal reads (via ResetEra). "Fearing such behaviour will damage Nintendo's brand image, the company has asked its partners to adjust the games so that users won't spend too much, according to people familiar with Nintendo's strategy."
Further on in the story, The Wall Street Journal cites one of Nintendo's development partners, CyberAgent in suggesting what could have been if Nintendo didn't exercise restraint in smartphone game monetisation. CyberAgent is a co-developer on Dragalia Lost.
"Nintendo is not interested in making a large amount of revenue from a single smartphone game," one CyberAgent official said. "If we managed the game alone, we would have made a lot more."
Interestingly, Nintendo has claimed in the past that its mobile games aren't making as much as it would have liked.
"For the smart-device business, we will continue the services for existing applications while also releasing new applications in order to increase Nintendo's presence in this business. The efforts we have made to date have yielded certain responses to our goal of expanding the number of people who have access to Nintendo IP. Even so, we have not reached a satisfactory profit point yet, so our goal is to further expand the scale of this business to develop it into one of the pillars of revenue," the company said in its earnings report in May 2018.
Previously, Nintendo announced its next mobile game, Mario Kart Tour would be delayed.
Mario Kart Tour is Nintendo's fifth mobile game after Super Mario Run, Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, Fire Emblem Heroes, and Dragalia Lost. These followed its social media app Miitomo, which has now been shut down. It's being developed by DeNA and was planned to be a free to start title much like Super Mario Run. The reason for the delay of the game, as Nintendo puts it, is to improve upon its quality.
"In the smart-device business, Mario Kart Tour was scheduled to be released this fiscal year, but in order to improve quality of the application and expand the content offerings after launch, the release date has been moved to summer 2019," read Nintendo's latest financial report. "As we endeavour to develop future planned applications, we will also focus on continued service operations for applications that have already been released so that consumers can enjoy playing them for a long time."
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