Why Mobile Games Could Indeed Save Nintendo

Satoru Iwata, president of Nintendo Co., right, and Isao Moriyasu, president and chief executive officer of DeNA Co., shake hands during a joint news conference in Tokyo, Japan, on Tuesday, March 17, 2015. Nintendo dropped its resistance to using its characters on mobile devices as the maker of Mario and Zelda teams with DeNA to develop new games for smartphones and tablet computers. Photographer: Akio Kon/Bloomberg *** Local Caption *** Satoru Iwata; Isao Moriyasu

The response to Nintendo’s decision to make mobile phone games has been mixed, to say the least.  After all, as addicting as games like Angry Birds can be, they simply don’t have the depth of, say, a Zelda game.  On the other hand, no one can deny Angry Birds’ success.  The mobile game has been downloaded over three billion times and has inspired books, a movie, theme parks, board games, and even soft drinks.  In July 2012, its developer Rovio had an estimated worth of $6-9 billion…and that was well before the TV series and movie.

Getting angry is for the birds

So, could mobile phone games help Nintendo achieve Kimishima’s plans to quadruple Nintendo’s profits?  Absolutely.  Long-term Nintendo fans, of course, have a more pressing question on their minds: will this move towards mobile games lead Nintendo to neglect its core fans?  The answer is a resounding no.

Although its release date is still unannounced, the upcoming Zelda game for the Wii U should satisfy even the most hardcore gamers.  As die-hard Zelda fans know, Shigeru Miyamoto himself said that the entire map of Twilight Princess is the size of just one area in the upcoming game.  Twilight Princess is easily one of the biggest games in the series, so it’s staggering to imagine just how immense the world in the upcoming Wii U game is going to be.

And Nintendo has plenty of other games to keep its core fans busy, including the recently released Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam, as well as the upcoming Fire Emblem: Fates and Star Fox: Zero.  

In the end, Nintendo’s decision to develop mobile phone games in addition to console and more traditional portable games is true to what the Big N has always done: making games that anyone–young or old–can enjoy.

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About The Author

Lisa Lowdermilk is an incurable punster. She loves wordplay almost as much as she loves Nintendo games. Her favorite Nintendo character is Shy Guy, and she hopes that he will have a starring role someday (and be able to cope with his subsequent rise to fame).