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Nintendo Wants Mobile Gamers to Scale Back on In-App Purchases


Nintendo jumped into the mobile gaming market not too long ago. Since then, the company has tried different tactics to be lucrative in the busy space.

Things started off on a bumpy road with Super Mario Run, a title that asked players to pay for the full game up front (after trying out a few levels for free). Since then, though, Nintendo and its developer partners have relied on free-to-play titles, all of which rely on in-app purchases to make money. There is no denying that in-app purchases and mobile transactions are hugely popular for mobile games, so the shift makes sense.

Even for Nintendo.

However, according to a report this week from The Wall Street Journal, the company that launched Mario into the world is asking its developer partners to change things up. Specifically when it comes to in-app purchases. Nintendo is reportedly asking these developers to “adjust” the games so that players don’t spend too much in the games. Why? Because the company doesn’t want these types of purchases to tarnish the brand.

Nintendo does not want to be perceived as greedy in the smartphone gaming market. And the report includes an executive reiterating the fact that Nintendo uses these mobile games to entice players to try out full-fledged games. The ones you’d find on the Nintendo Switch, for instance. Souring that relationship with too many in-app purchases, especially those that can restrict gameplay for one reason or another, might not work well to accomplish that goal.

As far as Nintendo and mobile gaming are concerned, success might be a bit hard to nail down. While Super Mario Run started out strong, sales quickly slumped. However, the free-to-play Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp has been stable since its debut, which saw 15 million downloads pretty quickly.

The future is potentially bright, though. Nintendo has already confirmed that it will be launching Dr. Mario World, a matching game, this year. And later in 2019, following a brief delay, a Mario Kart title will launch on mobile devices.

It would be interesting to see some concrete conversion numbers as far as mobile gamers adopting Nintendo hardware is concerned. We probably won’t see that anytime soon, but it would be fun to see if Nintendo’s strategy is actually working out or not.

[via The WSJ]

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