Does Mobile Gaming Spell The End For Nintendo?


The Nintendo Switch has been out for a while now, and I think we all appreciate just how successful it’s actually been. It was written off as a flop as soon as it was announced; not just by me, but by critics everywhere. I’ve never been so pleased to have been wrong, and although I haven’t invested in one myself yet, I’ll certainly be picking one up as soon as I have chance.

A few months ago, I wrote a now outdated post about how I’ll give the Switch a miss, or at least during its infancy. Since then, a lot has happened and there were far more launch titles than first announced; but I still stand by the prediction I made at the time:

Personally, I think this will be the final console Nintendo release and that’s a real shame. My true fear is that their focus will quickly turn to mobile and tablet applications, it seems inevitable. I wrote a piece asking the question “Is portable gaming dying?” just before Christmas, and the answer is a depressing “Yes”.

And within the post that it refers to (I know, I know, this is turning into some crazy Inception-esque ramble), I chat a load of garbage about mobile games. Not only that they are quickly becoming a viable platform but how it’s only a matter of a time before Nintendo realise how much money they can make by releasing one of their flagship games on iPhone and Android.

We have already seen the likes of Pokémon GO and Mario Run and, well… there’s been a few announcements just lately.

Animal Crossing for the iPhone and Android devices was announced by Nintendo back in April 2016, but so far we have little information about the series’ first mobile offering.

We know that it will be a freemium game, meaning it’s free to download and play on both iPhone and Android. There will of course be in-app purchases, which hopefully won’t be essential to enjoying the game. These are likely to be for players who want to unlock new items in the game as quickly as possible.

You can assume that gameplay will be very similar to other Animal Crossing games, with an open-world environment to explore and anthropomorphic characters to befriend. You will almost certainly be able to visit the towns of your friends too, by linking up over Facebook.

Originally the mobile version of Animal Crossing was due to be released before Fire Emblem Heroes, but the game has been delayed. In fact, Nintendo has announced that the game will be released ‘some time this fiscal year’, which means it might even be delayed until the beginning of 2018. However, we’re hopeful that Animal Crossing mobile will hit our phones some time later in 2017.

Of course, Animal Crossing news has been circling for the past year, but the big announcement this week has been a lot more excitable. The Legend of Zelda could be the next Nintendo franchise to go mobile, according to The Wall Street Journal. Nobody seems too sure exactly who the source is though. WSJ went with a cryptic “people familiar with the matter”.

Who knows what form it will take? It could be a port of a handheld Zelda title, but judging from Nintendo’s mobile exploits so far, it’s more likely to be a trimmed down entry.

Perhaps it’s single room dungeon puzzles? A roguelike? Or a bow and arrow minigame? One of those was a joke. Regardless, people expect this to be available early on in 2018.

This wasn’t the only juicy piece of gossip to come from The Wall Street Journal; Pokémon GO has a potential rival here, a another Pokémon game!

The article reads: “Pokemon Co. is planning a new card-game app, two people familiar with the matter said.”

“Pokemon Co. already makes physical cards that players collect and use in competitions.”

The new Pokemon smartphone app could be a variation of the Pokemon Trading Card Game Online available for tablets.

The app gives players the chance to collect cards, build decks and battle against other players.

So that’s three potential games from Nintendo that could signal the end for Nintendo hardware.

Why bother creating games for consoles when you can make far more money through simple mobile applications and in-app purchases?

It won’t be long until we see a fully fledged Pokémon game on our phones, but is that a good thing?

No. No it isn’t.



5 thoughts on “Does Mobile Gaming Spell The End For Nintendo?

  1. I’m not sure… their consoles still sell like hotcakes, so while they might eventually expand, I don’t think (as of now) they’ll expand to only mobile. And there are different audiences, as well. Is a gamer who plays Pokemon Go really going to have the patience for a long, in-depth game like Zelda? Will console players be content with more simplistic Nintendo games, when Super Smash Bros, Mario, Mario Kart, Zelda, Bayonetta, etc etc., have such strong fan-bases? And then there’s the whole big push from them about playing with friends and Nintendo being fun for the whole family. I suppose it’s possible they’d step away from this idea, that’s what their brand is *known* for. That’s a big thing to just suddenly drop.

    While I certainly don’t think I can predict the future, I think it would be an incredibly surprising and ill-advised move for Nintendo to move only to mobile, at least in the near future. Here’s hoping, anyway…


  2. No way are terrible cell phone games going to replace consoles. Not going to happen. It’s say like saying that scripted TV shows will go away because reality TV is popular. Just because the lowest hanging fruit can make some money, does not mean that you abandon all other fruit. People who buy consoles are an entirely separate market than young kids who play freemium games because they have no credit card. Look at the reviews on Super Mario Run – all negatives are from children who thing spending _any amount of money at all_ renders a game bad. That’s not the market spending the money on games and consoles and it’s not the market that you cater to. You
    market to the demographic with the cash. We’re that market.

    Do I think the 3DS will be the last Nintendo handheld? Absolutely. But I wouldn’t be surprised if Sony and Microsoft came out with companion devices to play their consoles on the go. That I can actually see happening. The generation that grew up playing games inside on a couch is married with children and can’t sit on a couch for 9 hours a day playing Xbox. They are moving around and need something more portable. They’re not looking to play Bejeweled on their iPad. That’s the 65+ demographic.

    Liked by 1 person

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