What do you think of Nintendo's mobile strategy so far?


It’s been a weird ride

Remember when Nintendo laughed at the idea of coming into the mobile space? Well, now they have three games under their belt.

Here’s a brief look at the three experiments released so far, all of which take three wildly different approaches.


It’s hard to think of something else that rode so high and crashed so hard. Miitomowas all the rage for a week or so, and nearly everyone had downloaded it and bought into the idea of Nintendo creating a new social network. The problem is, in a very Nintendo way, they just didn’t think of enough hooks to keep people invested after that period of time.

It didn’t help that My Nintendo was a mess, and a poor stand-in for Club Nintendo. The concept of having games linked to a points system is genius, and unlike Uplay which locks out content until you spend a certain amount of “points,” you could buy new games with My Nintendo’s Platinum Points.

However, a lot of folks (possibly everyone) played Miitomolong enough to earn enough points to unlock Twilight Princess Picross, then quit after they realized it didn’t offer anything else. Nintendo often needs help when it comes to the long game.

But hey, it’s still getting updated!

Super Mario Run

I thought this “not endless” runner was a noble effort. Ultimately it’s just slightly above average, but I spent a ton of time hunting down pink/purple coins and messing around with Toad Rallies. For $10, the cost of a movie, it wasn’t bad at all.

Sure it needs a lot of work, more levels, and more stuff to do, but if you stretch its existing content it’s more than worth the cash. A lot of folks didn’t feel the same though, as less than 10% of the worldwide userbase actually paid money for it. This is after the mega-marketing campaign from Apple, which had it showcased in all of its stores in the US.

It’s not a complete failure, but it’s not a success either. Baby steps?

Fire Emblem Heroes

For me, so far at least (it’s only been a day), this has been another admirable, but not exciting transition to mobile. I appreciate the beautiful artwork, but the actual in-game visuals…not so much. The controls are a little stuffy and simplistic (a lot of the tactical nuance of the Fire Emblem series is lost in translation, as are the elaborate mission-objectives), but I don’t hate the microtransaction scheme as much as other similar gashapon games at the moment.

With most of those types of experiences, they funnel you into spending money as soon as possible. With one game I even reached a wall after just 30 minutes, and it was asking me to spend money on three or more currencies, and throwing daily login bonuses in my face. But with Heroes, it doesn’t feel as sleazy —they just have Orbs (which double as energy and the ability to buy characters). So far I haven’t felt the need to buy energy, but then again, that’s because it’s been so marginally above average to me that I haven’t got addicted yet.

Which one is your favorite so far, and are you looking forward to seeing more from theDeNA and Nintendo partnership?