Nintendo might be leaning towards mobile platforms with games like Super Mario Run, Fire Emblem Heroes, and Dragalia Lost, but its not trying to clear out your wallet. According to a report by The Wall Street Journal, Nintendo is asking its partners to limit microtransactions. The company believes excessive monetization would damage its brand.
Nintendo has developed its first run of mobile titles with the help of development partners. Super Mario Run, Fire Emblem Heroes, Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, and the defunct Miitomo were developed in partnership with DeNA.The recently-released Dragalia Lost was co-developed by Nintendo and Cygames. For Nintendo, these mobile games are about increasing brand awareness, not necessarily making money.
Cygames parent company, CyberAgent, Inc., lowered its fiscal earnings forecast after the disappointing performance of Dragalia Lost. the company said that revenue per player is far short of projections. Dragalia Lost launched with more draconian (and standard) monetization for a mobile game, but Nintendo asked for those aspects to be tuned lower after complaints.
"Nintendo is not interested in making a large amount of revenue from a single smartphone game," a CyberAgent spokeperson told the Wall Street Journal. "If we managed the game alone, we would have made a lot more."
Cygames bet heavily on Dragalia Lost. The company report for the first fiscal quarter showed a 17 percent drop in operating income year-over-year. After the lowering of the earnings forecast, CyberAgent founder Susumu Fujita noted in a public statement that he expected a bit too much from Dragalia Lost.
"We had produced enough sales to absorb the increased costs at least until last spring, when our growth could no longer keep pace with the increase in costs. I thought of stopping investing but instead decided to see how we go until the launch of our new game title. This forecast was issued based on the company-wide success brought by the release of a new game in the past but I now regret relying too much on a single game title," wrote Fujita.
Nintendo acknowledged that it does speak to its partners about the mobile titles, in order to "deliver high-quality fun to consumers". It's refreshing to see a company that doesn't need to funnel every single cent out of a player. Nintendo has more mobile games planned, as part of the company's push towards making mobile a 100 billion yen ($910 million) business. These plans include the upcoming Mario Kart Tour and Dr. Mario World. There's also announced mobile based on The Legend of Zelda franchise and a puzzle game in the works, co-developed with messaging app Line.