Nintendo unveils its first game for smartphones in long overdue move

29 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Nintendo Announces Its First Mobile Game, For March 2016.

The Japanese electronics maker — one of the world’s biggest video game companies but a virtual nonentity in the rapidly growing mobile games industry — unveiled its first title for smartphones Thursday in Tokyo. “Miitomo,” which is set to be released in the spring of next year, is a game that allows players to create avatars to interact with one another socially. Nintendo (7974.Japan/NTDOY) slumped 8.7% after the game developer said the launch date of its smartphone games have been delayed to next March instead of this year-end.Japan’s Nintendo Co pushed back the much-awaited launch of its videogame service for smartphones by a few months to March 2016, disappointing gaming fans as well as investors who drove its shares down by more than 10%.

New Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima, in his first public appearance as the company’s head, said at a press briefing today in Tokyo that in the free-to-play game, users will create a “Mii” avatar character, which will go out and communicate with their friends’ Mii avatars automatically. The game is the first of five mobile apps Nintendo plans to launch by March 2017, including one that may feature the iconic “Super Mario,” the company said at an investor briefing in Tokyo. Under a strategy announced by its previous chief executive, who died of cancer earlier this year, Nintendo had said it would introduce its first smartphone games by the end of 2015. The long-overdue move is an effort to tap into the lucrative and cutthroat world of mobile games that has exploded with the proliferation of smartphones and tablets.

The reason for the smartphone app delay is so that Nintendo has more lead time to fully promote and explain Miitomo, according to the company management. Kimishima also said that Nintendo’s new online customer account system would be called Nintendo Account, and transfer data between mobile and home games. Chances are, at one time or another, you were secretly obsessed with “Angry Birds” or “Candy Crush.” Even Kim Kardashian scored big when she launched “Kim Kardashian: Hollywood” last year, with the addictive mobile game raking in $1.6 million in its first five days. Chief executive Tatsumi Kimishima, a former banker who succeeded Satoru Iwata, said the delay would help Nintendo concentrate on selling its existing consoles and game software during the year-end holiday season. “The year-end is traditionally our peak season for sales,” told a packed news conference, when asked about the delay. “This way, we’d be able to introduce our new applications after the holiday season is over.” He avoided commenting on whether Mario would come to smartphones, instead introducing a new social networking service-style application called “Miitomo” which would be available in March.

This year marks the first time mobile gaming revenue will exceed console gaming revenue globally, at $30 billion versus $27 billion, according to video game market research firm Newzoo. It’s called My Nintendo, and it’s described very much like Club Nintendo: By buying and playing games, customers earn points that they can redeem for digital game content like wallpapers or in-game items, or redeem them for actual physical goods like game figurines, or for discount coupons. Nintendo’s popular franchises, which include “Super Mario” and “Zelda,” “have the potential to be a billion-dollar business on mobile alone,” said Peter Warman, Newzoo’s co-founder and chief executive. “Unbelievable that it has taken so long for Nintendo,” he said. “They had to see Apple, Google, King and Supercell surpass them in terms of 2014 game revenues to take action towards mobile. DeNA Co, Nintendo’s mobile gaming partner, fell as much as 19%. “This (move into mobile gaming) is a sea change for them and there may be some growing pains like this along the way,” said Gavin Parry, managing director of Hong Kong-based brokerage Parry International Trade.

This business model has proven successful for other smartphone games, including Clash of Clans and Candy Crush Saga, two of the top grossing mobile games, according to app analytics firm Sensor Tower. However, it never is too late because smartphone and tablet gaming is here to stay.” “Both companies will develop and operate new game apps based on Nintendo’s [intellectual property], including its iconic game characters, for smart devices,” DeNA said in a statement at the time. “The alliance is intended to complement Nintendo’s dedicated video game systems business and extend Nintendo’s reach into the vast market of smart-device users worldwide.” Its troubles began when casual gamers who enjoyed Nintendo’s family-friendly titles migrated from home and hand-held game consoles to mobile devices, where they found similar games made by rival developers, often available free. Nintendo and DeNA have risen 85% and 71% respectively this year on bullish bets that Nintendo’s well-loved games such as Mario Brothers would do well on smartphones too.

After revenue and profits stumbled in recent years, it reversed course in March, announcing a partnership with DeNA Co. 2432 -18.85 % , which develops games and operates a mobile-game platform. But the dawning realization that mobile devices were beginning to replace the television is what Nintendo says led it to believe that its characters and games needed to show up on those increasingly ubiquitous screens as well.

At the same time, consoles such as the PlayStation and Xbox started serving hardcore gamers with graphically rich titles, many highlighted by heart-pounding violence. The Wall Street Journal reports that Nintendo will “find ways to encourage people who are hesitant to talk to share things about themselves.” Nintendo previously shunned smartphone games and suffered as a result. The company, which just reported its first half-year operating profit in five years, had hoped to boost sales by tapping into the genre, so it teamed up with Tokyo mobile game developer DeNA this year with plans to release five mobile games—none of which will be replicas of its existing titles—by March 2017.

This time, Nintendo’s hand was forced by a big change in the game-playing market, with smartphone games cutting into the traditional console-based gaming audience. But Tomodachi Life does have an in-game economy where you could buy clothes and items for your Miis, and dressing them up in funny stuff and sending them out into the virtual world to behave as they wish is the whole point of that game.

Analysts are divided on Nintendo’s prospects, with some saying the advent of smartphone gaming could unleash new revenue streams, and others saying the company is coming to the table too late. That is a different business model from console games, which are generally bought as packaged software, either in stores or from online services. “One of our major concerns about all this mobile-gaming-related excitement is that we don’t know how long these huge numbers of free mobile games being released can be sustained by in-game content sales as total sales become ever more diluted across more and more titles,” said Amir Anvarzadeh, head of Japan equity sales at BGC Partners. Ideally, the move into mobile games satisfies longtime customers while enticing new ones to the Nintendo brand, which might in turn lead them to buy Nintendo’s consoles. BGCP 7.84 % “Nintendo could generate ¥6 billion ($50 million) in operating profit a year from one smartphone game,” said Osamu Kamada, an analyst at Tokai Tokyo Securities.

The challenge facing Nintendo was underscored by its latest earnings report, on Wednesday, in which the company’s profit for the six months through September fell short of analyst expectations, held back by sluggish sales of the Wii U console and 3DS hand-held devices. The problem with chasing its target audience to mobile is that the smartphone gaming market has become crowded with competitors, and Nintendo is relegated to playing catch-up. The companies also said they would build an online membership service for consumers that would be accessible from smart devices, PCs and Nintendo consoles.

Although it turned an operating profit of 9 billion yen, compared with a loss of 215 million yen in the year-earlier period, that was lower than expected. Samantha O’Neil — better known as NintendoFanGirl to her 61,000 YouTube subscribers — said a mobile game would be a welcome addition to the company’s storied lineup.

Here you can write a commentary on the recording "Nintendo unveils its first game for smartphones in long overdue move".

* Required fields
All the reviews are moderated.
Our partners
Follow us
Contact us
Our contacts

ICQ: 423360519

About this site