Nintendo’s Smartphone Games Will Aim “Wide And Small” For Monetization


Nintendo and DeNA are teaming up to produce smartphone games based on Nintendo properties, and Nintendo president Satoru Iwata says that these games will not attempt to ape other titles that already exist in the market.


Speaking with investors and analysts at a financial results briefing, Iwata stated: “I think many of you here already understand that while it was simple for many to earn revenue in the beginning just from creating a smart device application, the situation has been rapidly changing and now, with intense competition, generating revenue on smart devices is no longer easy. I don’t think we can realize what we aspire to by simply imitating a past success formula.”


This, Iwata says, will extend to monetization features implemented in Nintendo’s smartphone games as well. Since Nintendo intend to create smartphone titles that can be successful all over the world instead of just one region, the company is aiming to come up with its own methods that it will employ in the smartphone space.


“My understanding of how to succeed in the Japanese market now is to find a limited number of generous consumers who are willing to spend a lot and analyze what encourages them to spend,” Iwata said. “However, if we did that, I don’t think that we would be able to entertain hundreds of millions of consumers all around the world or to produce large and long-lasting achievements.”


Therefore, instead of relying on a small number of whales, Iwata says that the goal is to amass small payments from a large number of people. The company is also being conscious of that fact that parents need to feel comfortable with their children playing Nintendo games on smart devices, in terms of the amount of money being spent.


Says Iwata: “A key term should be ‘wide and small’ rather than ‘narrow and large.’ The basis of our strategy will be how we can receive a small amount of money from a wide range of consumers. However, as people in general recognize that the narrow-and-large method has been outperforming the others, we are investigating where to change in order to surpass existing hurdles. We have had various discussions internally, I have challenged the developers with this issue and they have had many active discussions on the topic.”


“We already have some specific ideas and will announce them in due course. Above all, as Nintendo is a family brand, we do not intend on changing the situation where parents and guardians can give Nintendo products to their children with peace of mind. In that sense, we want to pay very close attention to how we receive money.”


Nintendo previously announced that they would release approximately five smartphone titles by March 2017.

Ishaan Sahdev
About The Author
Ishaan specializes in game design/sales analysis. He's the former managing editor of Siliconera and wrote the book "The Legend of Zelda - A Complete Development History". He also used to moonlight as a professional manga editor. These days, his day job has nothing to do with games, but the two inform each other nonetheless.