Nintendo’s first mobile game delayed to March, won’t have Mario

29 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

As Nintendo introduces its first mobile game, the stock nose dives.

Nintendo will roll out its first smartphone game in March rather than this year as originally planned, delaying the company’s plans to cash in on the growing market for games on smartphones. The company’s president Tatsumi Kimishima said during an investor presentation that the first game to be released would be Miitomo, which he described as a “friendly conversation starter.” It allows users to create their own avatars, called Mii, which will converse with the user and share the information with avatars created by other persons registered as friends. According to Serkan Toto, a Japanese gaming industry consultant, the word “delay” apparently began circulating among analysts, at which point the stock prices for both companies began a sharp nosedive. “The word ‘delay’ is like a red, flaming flag for investors,” Serkan tells Tech in Asia. “It’s even worse than the fact that Miitomo looks so underwhelming.” He notes that Nintendo stock was up almost 2% before the announcement.

As its name hints, Miitomo will focus on the Mii avatars that have been part of Nintendo’s own gaming devices and community since the Wii console’s launch in 2006. “It will be free to play, with attractive add-ons that people can pay for, Mr. Kimishima on Thursday also said the company was setting up a membership service, called “My Nintendo,” which would connect users through a cloud across a variety of devices including consoles and smartphones. “My Nintendo will work as a bridge between dedicated game systems and smart devices,” Kimishima said.

DeNA has taken an even harder hit, down more than 16% at the time of writing. “Miitomo is disappointing,” Serkan says. “It would have been so easy – just cooperate with DeNA to create a free-to-play mobile game with Mario or other popular IP and set yourself up for a new, potentially enormous revenue stream.” “But it’s not a ‘game,’ and at this point it’s not even confirmed it’s one of the five games Nintendo is planning to roll out through March 2017,” he adds. Under a new point program to be launched, users can earn points across both consoles and smart devices allowing users to carry points from one device to another. At the event Kimishima – who recently succeeded the late Satoru Iwata as president of Nintendo – stressed that the company’s focus remains on its own hardware, which it hopes it can promote through smartphone spinoffs. In the six-months ended Sept. 30, Nintendo posted revenue of 204 billion yen ($1.7 billion), up 19 percent from the same period last year but net profit dropped 20 percent to 11.4 billion yen. The financial markets were not impressed with the announcement of Miitomo, with its emphasis on players’ avatars and communication, rather than pure gameplay with popular characters such as Mario. “Miitomo is disappointing.

Nintendo aims to make profits from the smart devices business, maximize access to its intellectual property among a variety users, while building synergies with its console business, he added, indicating a continuation of Iwata’s game plan.

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