Report: Nintendo To Release Demo Content And Information Via Mobiles

By Ishaan . January 27, 2014 . 12:28pm

Japanese business publication Nikkei reports (via: Dr. Serkan Toto) that, this Thursday, Nintendo will announce its strategy to use mobile devices to promote its consoles and games among a larger audience.


Nikkei’s report indicates that Nintendo will release “mini games” or playable demo content based on their titles on smartphones, in order to raise awareness of their games.


These releases will be accompanied by other initiatives such as video content and information, and will be meant to encourage smartphone users to buy Nintendo hardware and purchase their games. The demo/promotional content will be free, says Nikkei.


Recently, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata once again emphasized that Nintendo would not “put Mario on smartphones” and that the company was instead focusing on finding ways to use smartphones to spread awareness of Nintendo’s games, in order to combat its recent financial woes.


Nikkei’s report fits right in with these comments, and the publication has a history of being accurate with its report on developments involving Nintendo.

Read more stories about & & on Siliconera.

  • ronin4life


  • This sounds like a smart move. Releasing demos, especially for 3DS games, on smartphones is a great idea. Nintendo’s stock is going to go through the roof on Thursday if people understand the implications of this.

    (PS: Called it!)

    • urbanscholar

      It’s simple but people forget awareness is the biggest/most important part of a game getting sales.

      Mobile market awareness will probably be more efficient & maybe more cost effective too.

    • mirumu

      I’ll believe it’s demos of actual 3DS games when I see it. That’d be a huge amount of extra work for the dev team since in effect it’d mean porting the game engine to a new platform. It isn’t impossible, but logistics and costs could be problematic. The other way of delivering demos would be streaming, but I doubt they’d try that on cellular connections.

      My gut feeling is that we’re more likely to see tie-in games/apps. Things like Mass Effect’s Datapad app, Fable III: Kingmaker, Knack’s Quest or H_IDE that Ubisoft put out as a tie-in for Watch Dogs.

      • Max

        Making the demo of an actual game playable on a phone would be too much work and could send the wrong message.
        I also think they will make tie-in apps or flash mini games with their franchises.

        • mirumu

          True, there’s a risk people playing the demo would think the game would actually be released on the mobile platform later. I imagine some phone owners would get quite angry about that.

        • GH56734

          Tales of the Abyss actually had a minigame starting its mascot, released for cell-phones. It’s a full fledged Zelda-like game, with twelve dungeons. And was specifically labeled “to promote TotA”.
          Ninokuni has a promotional prequel on cell phones, Layton and Inazuma Eleven Go too (in fact, I think the latter debuted on cell phones)

          It’s nothing new. On the other hand, these games are now lost forever, so I’m not a fan of this move unless they make it available in the game properly (like with those GBA-link bonuses on GameCube games) on Nintendo consoles.

          People at neogaf however (and lots of mobile devs) are now screaming their lust for Nintendo making the promotional material AND the full game AND all future games iOS exclusive. I really hope this is not the beginning of Nintendo’s big creative fall, their most precious asset.

      • abysswalker

        There was a small part of the Bravely Default demo which relied on the time you had the system on sleep and the amount of people you StreetPass-ed to make items available at the store.

        More time = better items, more people = less time.

        Now that there’s an Id on the Nintendo Network I could see that working as a mobile app, just like the ones you mention.

        At the end of the day I think what could really make this work is giving incentives on the full versions for those who complete certain objectives on the demos/mini games.

        • mirumu

          Agreed, I think we’ll probably see things exactly like that. I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a bit more of a promotional element than is typical though.

          I mean it’s great offering features like that to people who own both phones and Nintendo hardware, but given the market trend towards mobile gaming I imagine they’ll want to try and draw some of those people back too.

    • hng qtr

      I’m not so sure about the demos. Releasing a demo for something that isn’t avaliable in the platform just seems wrong. Maybe some kind of social game or whatever is popular in japanese smartphones would be better.

      • niko

        Do you only watch movie trailers in the movies? Do you only watch food commercials while you are in the actual restaurant? Orange Juice while in Pathmark? It’s kind of normal to receive advertising not in the place you use something.

      • GH56734

        Well Namco and Level-5 were promoting their console offerings on Japanese cell-phones for ages, with mobile sized spin-offs which are equivalent in content to chunks from NES games (of course, not in the sense of the hardware limitations). With “promotional game for X” being prominently displayed.

    • Franggio Hogland

      I’m calling a glorified Nintendo direct only app for phones. I’m honestly afraid of the possibility that I’m right. :(

    • Considering it’s more likely that it’ll be the mini-games as mentioned, I think demos is a bad term for the article– at least until there’s an outright confirmation and clarification from Nintendo.

      On the other hand though, I’m glad, cause releasing free mini-games relating to their products and information about their games, instead of just wholesale porting things and expecting that to be successful and profitable, is exactly what I wish companies would do anyway, in the first place. So, I at least give it to Nintendo to be on the right track of how to take advantage of the smartphone market.

  • gamingbus

    My only concern: what happens if this works? Shareholders will call for Mario on smartphones. That’s where things get dicey.

    • ronin4life

      Give an inch, and they’ll take a mile.

      This is not a good idea IMHO. They would only give legitimacy to the knuckle-heads and Share holders calling for real games on other platforms.

      The complaining will go up, and stock holders wanting real games on mobile will crow louder: with their stocks.

      • Laer_HeiSeiRyuu

        Nintendo’s not exactly beholden to investors, Nintendo owns most of their shares outright. ‘So they can operate like a private company if they so chose, they can take their company private too. And you cant pull a hostile takeover either. And they have no debts, and they got 11.6 billion in cash on hand.

        This is just the group of people who invested off the WIi high being very cumbersome

    • kylehyde

      Not necessary. The goal of this approuch is to drive hardware sales for Nintendo, not for Apple or Google. The demos should be fun enough to hook the people, but limited enough to guarentee that they want more and if they don’t have a 3ds or a Wii U, then they should be motivated to buy one.

  • PreyMantis

    If they’re going to be releasing demos, they should add the same play limits as those found on the Wii U and 3DS demos. That way it’ll force people to choose to either buy the full game or stop playing, rather than hording the game demos (I know lots of people that does this).

    • Kumiko Akimoto

      I don’t get why that’s a bad thing if people don’t have money?

      • Guest

        I think rather the concern here is that some people that can get the money could say: “Why would I need to buy that 180$ device to get the game, when I already got my fix with this demo!”

        • British_Otaku

          In that case, those people have either completely lost the plot that the full game is a much better experience and the technology is worth having (hence not a customer worth caring about) or Nintendo of the demo creator didn’t make it clear enough.

          If they really think they have their fix, after marketing and such, they aren’t likely to buy it at all.

        • Kumiko Akimoto

          That’s pretty much the point though

      • PreyMantis

        That would be a good excuse if only they didn’t have an expensive phone.

        • Kumiko Akimoto

          having a purchase of one thing doesn’t equal having the money for multiple things.

    • mirumu

      I’m pretty sure Apple wouldn’t allow that on iOS.

      • PreyMantis

        From the track record of Apple (iOS games using other companies’/people’s IPs illegally without permission, inappropriate pornography and sex apps, and other illegal applications), they sure can.

        • mirumu

          Yeah, but to make it persistent they’d have to violate Apple’s sandbox rules. That’s pretty much an instant rejection.

    • British_Otaku

      They should? I usually ignore likes and dislikes but you got 10 likes for that?

      Nintendo shouldn’t be restricting anyone from playing the demo over and over but instead making their demos a well designed taster which lets the player know exactly what more in store they can have.

      I hoard tons of demos (played almost everything on the Japanese 3DS eShop and that’s over 100 games), but I buy and play the games if I like the game concept and if I have the money.

      • abysswalker

        From where I see it, the problem is that if the demo/mini game is really well designed maybe the user will be satisfied with that and will see no point in buying the game (especially if he has to buy the console too) and then the whole thing would be meaningless.

        I think limiting the times the demo can be used is good as long as it’s a fair number, for example on 3DS most demos are 20 or 30 uses but then you stumble across a ridiculous number like 5 (? or something like that, really small) for a game like Project X Zone.

        • Laer_HeiSeiRyuu

          because that game has 3 demos

          • British_Otaku

            I’ve seen games with only one demo (I’ll have to look around my menu, but 2 different Toriko games only had 5 tries with one demo) but less than 5 tries and also seen games with two demos (Project Mirai) but 30 tries each.

            How many demos a game has is irrelevant.

        • British_Otaku

          They forgot the most important part if they aren’t making it clear that there is that much more. Simply having the demo lock up isn’t a smart method to make someone spend tens of thousands of yen for a single experience.

          Your average person would move on when they see the tries run out or go out of their way to extend it before buying more tech. >_>

          Also, there isn’t a fair number at all.
          It doesn’t exist. Some people like to revisit demos (it would be cool if the limit was unlocked by playing the actual game on the system) and some people use them as an means to introduce other people to the game.

      • PreyMantis

        Like abysswalker said, it defeats the purpose of the intention. Alternatively, they can just pop up a bunch of their ads on the demo and tell the people who download them that if they want to keep playing without the annoying ads, they need to buy the full game. Those are just my two cents, so, yeah… that.

    • Edward Parker

      I don’t think that a play limit is going to be necessary, I have no idea how it’s going to work but immage a demo for pokemon: you start the game, you get to personalize your charcater, you talk to your mom and you leave for your adventure, you can do anything you would be able to do in the first town and surrounding areas, you can even catch let say a max of 5 different pokemon, the demo ends when you reach the forest or first town. Even for those who like repetition there won’t be enough content to play it over and over again.

    • GH56734

      People could hack the games to circumvent the limit. Some went to such lengths just to play Mother 2 Wii VC in Brawl.

  • DesmaX

    Oh, now I’m surprised. That’s a great move by them

  • abysswalker

    Totally not what I expected them to come up with. What I find the most intriguing though is how are they going to make the games work.

    Will it be touch friendly games only? A mini game about Yoshi’s New Island?

    I think now I’m more confused… Guess I’ll have to wait until the official announcement.

  • epy

    So, it begins…

  • flameraver64

    There definitely needs to be clarification on this: there’s a world of difference between “here’s an iPhone demo for Pokemon X” and “here’s a Pokemon-themed puzzle game on iPhone that promotes Pokemon X”

    • Anewme…Again

      Yeah, if it’s the former it will most likely just bring more troubles to Nintendo, if it’s the latter it could work if done well.

      • ronin4life

        I would think making original content that doesn’t require a Nintendo product at all to enjoy would be far worse than a snippit of an existing Nintendo Game.

        • flameraver64

          I disagree: if it’s small stuff (like minigames, as mentioned in the article), that’s completely fine. Then you have the clear distinction that what you get on the smartphone is NOT the main product. That if you want the ACTUAL product, get a 3DS/WiiU.

          if the demo works on a smartphone, if actual game content is on the smartphone, then there ARE going to be more people clamoring for that content to be there in full.

          • ronin4life

            But original content does the same thing as a demo in that regard: except it also shows Nintendo went through the effort to make Smart Phone ONLY content for players.

            If a limited(and it would have to be in order to work well) demo of an existing game is a dirty hand-me-down shirt, then an original tiny “demo” of a game is a brand new pair of socks. It shows Nintendo isn’t just passing old info in new ways, but in the business of MAKING new info outside their own platforms as well.

          • flameraver64

            Again, if it’s a straight-up minigame, it’s not going to harm anything: it’s not like it took hours and hours of dev time to make, say, a Bejeweled clone or a puzzle game. I’m not saying “create a full-fledged, iPhone-only demo that has the exact same mechanics and graphics detail.” The article explicitly stated minigame, and if it truly is a minigame, it’s not going to take man hours, and it won’t even be CLOSE to enough of a full game to signify any kind of major “effort” on Nintendo’s behalf.

            Your complaint below was that this shows that Nintendo hardware ISN’T required anymore. Well, if you put a straight up 3DS demo on a smartphone, THAT is what shows the consumer that Nintendo hardware isn’t require. If you make a minigame (emphasis on the mini, since you seem to think they’re making Pokemon X on the iPhone) that’s separate from the 3DS and WiiU games, as just an advertising tool, that shows that you DO need Nintendo hardware to play their games. Don’t have Nintendo hardware? Well, here’s a minigame themed around Zelda you can play on your phone. Fun distraction, but nowhere near the experience you can get on the 3DS

          • malek86

            There’s a problem two-folds here, though.

            The first is that, unless those games are extremely good, they will have an opposite effect on sales: people might think that it’s not worth spending $150 on a 3DS for games that are similar to anything else you might find on a smartphone. Therefore, Nintendo will need to make it so that their demos are both awesome AND inform you that the console ones are even better.

            Second, if Nintendo does manage to make something awesome on smartphones, there’s a chance other devs will start cloning it, which creates more competition eventually. It would also undermine their idea that you can only get good experiences on a portable console.

            They will need to play this well.

  • James Beatty

    Not sure I understand what they mean by “demos” here. Don’t think they are going to spend the time porting assets to iOS just for people to try a game out with touch controls.

  • Kilim

    Damn it.

    Even taking a baby step in the direction of mobile gaming scares the shit out of me.

    Please Nintendo, don’t forget about your loyal fans. Companies like Capcom and SE are hated because they ignored their fanbase and focus entirely on profits. Not that I’m saying that’s a bad thing, companies should focus on growth and money, but they should at least try to balance profits out with fan feedback. In my opinion Nintendo has always been great with this but this meeting scares me.

    I’m not ready to throw away video games yet. Stay alive Ninty.

  • Tj Reed

    This makes sense. Some of the mini games Nintendo has already made would work perfect on a phone or tablet like Donkey Kong Crash Course. I wish Nintendo would release a console with the SIMPLE name N.E.S. or S.N.E.S. 2, bring back a wavebird like remote with colored buttons and two analogs, I’m tired of swinging a remote around. Updated versions of games that made the SNES a great system. An online Super Smash Bros would be crazy.

    • Laer_HeiSeiRyuu

      Super Smash Bros has been online for 8 years now

    • Kaetsu

      “A wavebird like remote with coloured buttons and two analog sticks, I’m tired of swinging a remote around” You’ve obviously not heard of the Wii U Pro Controller(Although it doesn’t have coloured buttons). And as Laer_HeiSeiRyuu pointed out Brawl already had online and I’m pretty sure the Wii U/3DS version are continuing the trend.

      • Tj Reed

        I own two Pro controllers and they feel more like an Xbox remote. The Wavebird had a unique feel that was tied to that system, and in my opinion which I think I’m allowed to have on here is the best controller Nintendo has made. I’m a huge Nintendo fan and stand behind them completely. All I was saying is improve the online features and catch up to the competitors. Calm your tits KAETSU.

  • ronin4life

    This is a horrible Idea. You aren’t informing people that you have an awesome system they can buy, but that you have an expensive device that can play games you could also be making for their smart phones.

    They don’t need new ways of advertising: That is what they have been focusing on these last 2 years with the ND series and growing social presence. You need more NEW CONTENT to show off. All this will do is devalue their systems from being a marketable product to an Extra “Requirement” needed to play the games for it in the eyes of these demo players.

    • Laer_HeiSeiRyuu

      You do realize they cant just dump a Nintendo rom demo like they have on the Eshop and put them on the smartphone right?

      • ronin4life

        To be honest, I don’t think tge content matters. This isn’t going to do anything positive for them, and will only give ammo to the Very Vocal Minority naysayers.

        Nothing good will come of this.

        • Laer_HeiSeiRyuu

          Apparently its…. interactive advertisements, not demos or minigames

  • grayson gee

    I’m going to wait back and see how this works out. This is a Japanese translation after all and things can be a little misunderstood.

  • SupaPhly

    oh, so that’s what the “mobile development” plans were for

  • Guest

    Dunno about this…
    OK, mini-games were the obvious choice but its presence could send the wrong message to players if it’s not handled appropriately.

    But demos? Don’t demos hurt sales on the long run?
    Aside from sending the bad “We-could-port-the-games-here” message x)

    • British_Otaku

      Depends on who you talk to. Last year or so, a pretty cool guy claimed that demos hurt sales relative to games with just a trailer:

      ExtraCredits touched on it as well, but I’ve seen examples of publishers like Bandai Namco still using demos but in different ways for different games. Even releasing the demo of a 2012 game in 2014 last week along with a demo of a 2013 game to continue the sales train. It got me interested in Run for Money and Battle for Money and we will see the results next week. Bamco still do release demos before a game release (with varying amounts of uses, a Toriko Hunting game gets 5 tries and a One Piece one gets 30 tries >_>) and I’m sure their games benefit from not only exposure but people being able to hype them on their behalf.

      A game with a demo is going to do better than one without a demo for sure, unless it can’t produce a worthwhile demo.

      • mirumu

        Yes, I think demos can be both good and bad. There is a risk people are satisfied by the demo alone. Personally I’m like that with things like puzzle games since I get bored of them in 5 minutes, but in saying that I wouldn’t actually buy those games anyway so technically it’s not a lot sale.

        Other times however there’s games I wouldn’t have otherwise bought where a good, fun demo changed my mind.

        • British_Otaku

          Your example applies to me with Puyo Puyo Tetris last week, my only interest in the game came from the announcement that online is crossplatform (3DS vs Wii U and PS3 vs Vita). It was fun enough for a few rounds, but I don’t see myself buying it this year or next year.

          While it may be a bit of a jump (okay a HUGE jump), it is like assuming that every pirated copy must be guaranteed legitimate buyer if that option wasn’t available.

          In cases, where there is a chance of people being satisfied by the demo alone (chances are we aren’t that invested into the title), they could still appreciate the additional awareness or try putting out a demo shortly after release not that it will save their Week 1 sales.

          • mirumu

            Yes, there’s also the possibility that the demo doesn’t live up to the hype. In that case the damage to week 1 sales would be even more significant if the demo was available beforehand.

        • Laer_HeiSeiRyuu

          Yeah its like those people who buy free smartphone games , download angry birds 2 billion times, but you only have 12 million paying customers.

      • malek86

        I think that analysis was a bit unreliable: sure, the games with a demo tended to sell less, but those were also less hyped games. Bigger games usually have no demos (exactly because publishers don’t want you to try before you buy) so obviously that’s gonna influence the data.

        Conversely however, there is a chance that a news of a demo coming out on a system I own, could influence me into buying a game I wouldn’t have cared about (or even known about) otherwise.

        Well, most games that sell on licenses, like anime-based games, don’t need demos. Fans will buy them regardless, and non fans are unlikely to care either way.

  • Max

    Doubt it, how would that even work?
    It will probably be an app for videos, directs and maybe flash games to promote the actual ones.

    • British_Otaku

      It isn’t impossible you know. Ghost Trick which was a DS exclusive (now on phones as well) had a demo on browsers and on the Wii.

      Ace Attorney 5 had a browser demo as well, I’m sort of surprised that visual novels haven’t looked into it more even if they aren’t aiming for any other platforms.

      • Max

        VNs can work on limited input environments, but most genres won’t, specially not Nintendo first party games.
        Porting demos of games made to be played on gaming hardware and controllers would probably leave a poor taste on the phone crowd and gamers alike.

      • mirumu

        True, although that depends on the complexity of the game and the controls it needs. You’re not going to see a full 3D game like Resident Evil Revelations as a browser demo, and probably not as a mobile demo either.

        • Laer_HeiSeiRyuu

          You can play it on PC lol

        • Edward Parker

          lets not forget that they won’t have to relase demos for all their games, they just want to raise brand recognition. So they’ll probably do it just for some games.

          • mirumu

            Definitely, but the games they’ll want to promote won’t necessarily be the simple ones to port. Things like Animal Crossing and Super Smash Brothers come to mind.

          • Edward Parker

            but not too hard, for example Super Smash Bros could have a demo that is basically a video of the real game with quick time events. It would look just as the real game, and if you press the buttons with the right timing you get to see mario beat up kirby. Your “life” lowers every time you don’t press a button correctly. after an x amount of missed hits the game cuts to a scene of your oppontent unleashing the final blow!

          • Edward Parker

            I mean i have no idea how it’s going to work but there are good ways of marketing console game on smartphones, they only concerns come from the fact that it’s mostly uncharted territory. But if i were to bet on which company would be able to do it in the right way my money would be on nintendo

          • mirumu

            They could do that, but to call it a demo would be risky. Some people would think that’s what the actual game was like.

            Better to just call it a mini-game since that’s really what it is. There’s quite a lot of stuff like that on Android/iOS already.

          • Edward Parker

            I think that these demos/mini games will be targeted to an audince that is not completely oblivious about nintendo and its games, But still i’m sure that they will include plenty of links and explenations for those who are.

  • malek86

    If true, this is gonna be quite the thing. Nintendo has never made anything outside of their own devices, not even PC demos (unless we talk about something really ancient like those educational Mario games). It’s too early to start talking about possible repercussions, but the implications are certainly interesting.

  • Edward Parker

    IMO these are going to be some sort mini games with a ton of in game footage, maybe between one stage and the other or as “prizes” for in game achievements. I think it’s a brilliant idea, give all those people who like videogames but don’t have the time/interest to go read about them on websites and stuff the opportunity to see what nintendo is all about. Not to mention all those children with ipads.

    • Laer_HeiSeiRyuu

      Exactly, I think they’ll be taking parts of the game and modifying them a bit for the platform and then pulling out the ads

  • Slickyslacker

    Ah, so Thursday is the big day. I wasn’t sure if Nintendo was going to delay their announcement(s) for this month until Friday or even later, as to avoid coinciding with Sony’s press conference.

  • Chaos_Knight

    I dunno if this is a good idea or not. People who played the demos would think the full version would become available for smartphones, when they’re really not.

    • Edward Parker

      i think that a nice “the full game is available only on nintendo 3ds or Wii U” screen at the end of the demo might clear things for everyone.

    • kylehyde

      If they put something at the end of each demo like: “Is your body ready for more? enjoy the full version on 3DS (or Wii U whatever is the case)”.

  • Well, after PSNow, I imagine many companies would be doing this. Hopefully they are real games and not just crappy phone games.

  • NimbusStev

    I sure hope this isn’t their big trump card to counter all of the ‘Nintendo doom and gloom’ stories. It’s not a terrible idea, I suppose. More advertising for content exclusively on their hardware is a good way to gain exposure. But something like this is not going to turn their sales figures upside down.

    Let’s just hope they’ve got some bigger announcements on the way.

  • Khoko

    I like many others don’t think these will be real game demos they’ll be side project little snippets to keep the hype up for the 3DS games.

  • Reiswindy

    I’m curious about how this will turn out. Most probably they will be small minigames instead of demos to get people to buy Nintendo consoles.
    Working with touchscreen devices might also help create new experiences for the Wii U tablet as well. Who knows…

  • Have we reached peak “Nintendo must” comments or are the armchair quarterbacks just getting started?

    • SetzerGabbiani

      Just getting started. Wait till the meeting this week. Gaming website comments will go ballistic depending on what Iwata says.

      • sd28

        my advice do not go on neo gaf

  • ShawnOtakuSomething

    Bad idea….wouldnt it be a better idea to have that on pc?

    • Brandonmkii

      I think more people have mobile devices than PCs these days.

  • Quick note: The reason we used “demo” in the headline was because these free releases effectively do serve as demos. Nikkei says they’re meant to encourage people to buy the full game after they’ve tried them out.

    That said, I can see how using the term “demo” would make someone think of a vertical slice of a game, so we’ve modified our headline to reflect that.

    The reason I didn’t explicitly want to say “Nintendo releasing free mini-games on phones” is because that makes it sound like they’re going the free-to-play route like so many other mobile game publishers, which is not the case here.

    Nikkei explicitly says that all of this content is going to be free. There’s no microtransactions or paid items or anything of the sort, and it isn’t indicative of Nintendo dedicating their resources to mobile development in any way.

    • I wonder what sort of app titles we’d be able to search the demos under.

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